Braulio Carrillo National Park is like a trip back to an undiscovered Costa Rica. Hikers will notice an amazing variety of flora and fauna. The scenery changes dramatically over short distances. High elevations are marked by primary cloud forest that has grown undisturbed for thousands of years, or stands of ragged and windblown trees. The lower slopes host thick rainforest and an abundance of wildlife, including more than 150 species of mammals. Over 6,000 plant species, including the cobra, oak, Gavilan and ceiba, can be found in the primary forest. Visitors should be prepared for the occasional bout of cold weather. Temperatures often dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit on the higher elevation trails near the Zurqui Ranger Station. If you prefer a warmer route, stick to the lowlands on the east side of the park. A highlight of any visit to the area is the privately-owned Rainforest Aerial Tram, located in the heart of the rainforest near the eastern side of the park. Visitors can glide above the canopy layer in one of twenty cable cars or zip through the second-growth forest on a canopy tour, enjoying panoramic views and beautiful greenery.
The rainforest Aerial tram is on the Eastern flank of Braulio Carrillo National Park. This is an open gondola that takes you on a two-level tour of the rainforest canopy. It traverses a valley and climbs a small mountain. On the way up you ride a few meters off the ground in the understory and lower canopy, on the return trip the ride is through the treetops as much as fifty meters off the ground. Each gondola carries up to four passengers and a guide, and all of the guides are equipped with walkie-talkies so if one spot a sloth they all know to point it out when you pass by. There are also a few kilometres of excellent hiking trails and guides on these walks are included with your admission and tram ride. About $60 per person, transportation can be arranged from most central valley hotels for a day trip.
The trail in National Park:
El Ceibo Trail is across the highway from the parking lot (be careful when crossing the busy road) and starts at a well-marked wooden gate. This trail is fairly flat and well maintained with gravel paths and small bridges that cross several creeks. El Ceibo Trail is an easy 1 km (0.6 miles) walk and loops back toward the road.
The Botarrama Trail forks off the Ceibo trail, starting a little more than halfway through. This is the longest trail at 2.5 km (1.5 miles) and it’s also the most difficult. The Botarrama Trail has lots of slippery rocks and roots with some steep slopes and drop-offs (not recommended for very young children or people with mobility issues). At times, it feels like you are hiking along a steep riverbed. There is actually one stream crossing along this trail, the Quebrada Botarrama, which doesn’t have a bridge and depending on rainfall may require you to get a bit wet. We took our boots off and easily waded through since it was only ankle deep at the time.
Braulio Carrillo National Park is trip back to an undiscovered place in Costa Rica. You will see amazing flora and fauna here. In every short distance scenery changes, it makes you feel good and see those sceneries is blessed. Many animals, mammals and more than 150 species of animals. Weather is almost less than 60 Fahrenheit. If you prefer to go warmer route, then stick to the east side of the park. Recommended for hikers, those who want to go long ride. Best place for the birdwatcher. You can take more glimpse of wild animals while travelling through the rope car through the treetop. You can get a good picture of the short hikes. All three ranger stations within Braulio Carrillo National Park are open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Several scenic hiking trails wind through the different sectors, and trail guides are available. Restrooms, picnic areas, and facilities are available only at the ranger stations, and it is highly recommended that further exploration of the park be undertaken with an experienced guide.