Juan Castro Blanco National Park

Juan Castro Blanco National Park is also known as Parque de Aguas (the park of the waters) and protects mid-elevation rain forest and high altitude cloud forest on the slopes of three extinct volcano peaks, Porvenir (2,267 meters), Platanar (2,183 meters), and Viejo (2,060 meters). The government is trying to buy out the private properties that lie within the parks boundaries and has not yet started on any improvements such as parking or trails. It's kind of unusual, and we've decided to take a look how this wilderness look like. To find the entrance was not easy.

Once you leave 141 and start climbing to the mountains, 

the road becomes more and more questionable. There are some good pieces 100-300m long, some places asphalt with potholes, some places gravel or just stones. 

We took a wrong turn (North point on the map, very officially called "Agua Juan Castro Blanco, Sector El Quetzal National Park"), and the road turned into a scary narrow trail. When you drive such a road you should believe that there is a place ahead where you eventually can make a U-turn.

We ended up at the ranger's house where a nice young lady explained us our mistake and pointed to right direction. The correct destination is "Cafeteria Pozo Verde" (East point on the map). Our car was not 4x4 and we made it, but I have a lot of driving in Russia experience and therefore not a good role model, so take 4x4 if you plan this trip. Once we reached the fence called "Cafeteria Pozo Verde" and spotted the trail sign

we left the car at a small parking area and started the hike.

After 300 or 400 meters the trail comes out of the woods and goes along a small brook through beautiful farms and meadows.

You cannot get lost because the trail marked by wire fence on both sides, so the cows cannot eat you.

You need to cross the stream a couple of times. During the dry season you probably would not even notice, but we came in the middle of rainy one, and it was full of water. It was a little bit challenging but manageable, so we did not even wet the shoes.

The last kilometer is more difficult. The trail mostly goes up with very moderate slope, sometime down and up again. Good hiking shoes are needed because it's 100% natural, not well maintained, with a lot of slippery rocks. Sometimes the trail looks like a dried watercourse or creak bottom and we saw a couple of videos on YouTube when it's not actually dried. We were lucky with the weather though, after an hour of hiking started to hear thunders everywhere around, but rain did not catch us and we did not see the water flowing over the trail. But it's definitely a possibility, and you should be prepared: if it happens, the hike immediately jumps into the next level of difficulty.

Finally, after about an hour hike, we've reached the laguna ("Pozo Verde") which, as the ranger girl told us, apparently is the main attraction on this side of the national park.

Click on the image to see the video

More pictures on the Juan Castro Blanco National Park are here.


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