Introducing Parque Nacional Barra Honda
Situated about halfway between Nicoya and the mouth of the Río Tempisque, this 23-sq-km national park protects a massive underground system of caverns composed of soft limestone, carved by rainfall and erosion over a period of about 70 million years. Speleologists have discovered more than 40 caverns, some reaching as far as 200m deep, though to date only 19 have been fully explored. There have also been discoveries of pre-Columbian remains dating to 300 BC.
Stalagmites, stalactites and a host of beautiful formations have, ahem, evocative names such as fried eggs, organ, soda straws, popcorn, curtains, columns, pearls, flowers and shark’s teeth. However, unlike caverns found elsewhere, Barra Honda is not developed for wide-scale tourism, which means that they feel less like a carnival attraction and more like a scene from Indiana Jones. So, don your yellow miner’s hat and sturdy boots, and be prepared to get down and dirty.