Barbilla National Park

A unique encounter with Cabécar Indians


A unique encounter with the Cabécar Indians in their own homes in Barbilla National park. Here they still live in simple huts with earthen floors in the middle of the jungle. In this package trip of four days, you get to visit an Indian family, with an interpreter, in their homes and go for a hike in the wonderful rainforest.

This is a unique trip that only very few people in the world have taken before you, or will be able to in the future, and here you are taken care of by our amazing hostess and guide Marine who has lived here since the early 2000s. You will stay with her family at their jungle lodge with nature as your closest neighbor and here you get to enjoy three homemade meals per day.

Three excursions are included, where the main event is a visit with an Indian family of the Cabecar tribe You can reach them because your hostess Marine is one of few outsiders who has learned their language and it is with her help as an interpreter that you can speak with them.
You also get to take a hike in Barbilla National park where you can see plenty of animals and the beautiful nature. You also get to make a visit to the family’s butterfly garden.

Price: for 4 days from 950 USD per adult in a double room

Children under 5 years pay = 550 USD per person as 3-4 person with share in a double room

The following is included

  • Swedish hostess, guide and interpreter!
  • Stay in cabins in the lodge in the middle of the rainforest.
  • Full pension, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • 3 excursions. A visit with an Indian family, a hike in the rainforest
    and a visit to the family’s butterfly house. All with Swedish-speaking guide.
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Dinner at the Lodge and visit in butterfly garden.

We will take a beautiful and educational tour of the butterfly house among the thousands of butterflies and chrysalids.

Meals included: Lunch and dinner.

Note! This schedule may change depending on what days of the week you arrive and what the weather is like when you are there.


Visit and dinner with a Cabécar family.

On this wonderful trip, you will among other things visit a Cabécar family in their own home and take an exciting hike through the untouched jungle. All this is made possible through our guide and hostess in Barbilla, Marine Hedström Rojas, a Swede who lives and works there for many years.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner


Hike to Tapir River in Barbilla national park.

We will make a guided hike down to the beautiful Tapir River where you can swim in the clear waters. During these days you can see plenty of animals, from monkeys, toucans, parrots, iguanas, sloths and with a little luck even the jaguar or others of the rainforest’s large cats.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner


Breakfast at the Lodge before departure.

Rest and walks in the garden, and by lunchtime, we depart back home.

Meals included: Breakfast.

The Cabécar people

There are eight indigenous groups (tribes) in Costa Rica, of which the Cabécar is the largest group and represents nearly 20,000 people. The Cabécar has managed to maintain their seclusion and relative independence from European influence right up to this century.

At colonial times, the Spaniards conquered large areas of Costa Rica, but the hard-to-reach rainforest with its deep valleys in this area, which today is Barbilla’s national park, they never managed to enter. The Spaniards were met with great resistance from the native population as well, who even burned their own plantations so they would not fall into the hands of the Spaniards. Cabécar is, therefore, today the most unaffected indigenous people in Costa Rica because, compared to other indigenous peoples in the country, they have been most “spared” from direct colonization up until the last few years.

Unlike most other Indian people in the country, they still speak their own language and live according to cultural patterns of life that distinguish them from the rest of the nation. The Cabécar still build natural homes and live in clans that follow a matrilineal lineage, which means that they count as “relatives” only on their mother’s side, a kinship system that often gives the woman a higher status than in patrilineal communities.

Barbilla National Park

Thanks to the help of a number of Swedish organizations – religious, private and official – Barbilla was marked as protected after several years of struggle and tough negotiations with the Costa Rican authorities. In the 80s and 90s, Barbilla was more known as the Swedish campaign name “The Churches’ Rainforest”.

Ingemar Hedström (Marine’s dad) had then started a foundation (1990) together with some friends and received a personal assignment from Costa Rica’s environmental minister’s to present a national park plan because the minister also thought Barbilla should be protected. Sweden’s own Anna Lindh wrote a sharp message in a letter to Costa Rica’s authorities about making Barbilla a national park since SIDA assisted with funds in the project. Within a few days, the Costa Rican parliament suddenly voted that Barbilla would become a national park and thus protecting the primeval forest covering 12,000 hectares on the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica, and Ingemar also received the National Environmental Prize for his efforts.

However, Barbilla is not an isolated primeval forest but enclosed by Indian reserves and other nature conservation areas. Several Jaguars, Panthers, and Pumas still roam in the area and this is a good sign that nature is intact and untouched.

Book your trip to BARBILLA National Park

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Monday-Friday: 09.00-17.00 Costa Rican time

    Departure & return journey

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