With a size of (45,899 hectares) Braulio Carrillo is rugged, mountainous and heavily forested. This is the park you see when driving from San Jose to Limon. In fact, it was the construction of the road in 1978 that led to the creation of the park. Conservationists felt the road would enable loggers and developers to move in. Illegal logging is a major problem here, along with poaching, but without the protection of the National Park Service, the situation would be far worse. Braulio Carrillo is dramatic and forbidding with cloud-enshrouded virgin forest covering volcanic mountains as far as the eye can see.
Trees groan under the weight of ferns, mosses, vines and bromeliads. This is a wet and dripping place and the massive leaves of poor man's umbrellas (gunnera) often come in handy. Kinkajous, raccoons, sloths and pacas live in the area along with ocelot and jaguar, although the forest is too dense to see much in the way of wildlife. Birds are easier to spot and include guans, trogons and quetzals. Hikers can choose between a tough, steep or short and easy one (both beginning on the Guapiles highway). The park headquarters are just 20 km from San Jose, past the toll booths. A trail leads from the Sacramento entrance to the Barva Volcano. Rainy all year. Some camping permitted. Distance from San Jose: 20 km.