Carara National Park

Carara National Park is located in a transition zone between Costa Rica’s drier northwest and the more humid southwest making this park very popular because the wildlife is easier to spot with the less dense vegetation than in rainforests to the south.  Another reason for this parks popularity is its close proximity to San Jose (about 2 hrs SW of San Jose).  Most of the park is covered with primary forest with many steep slopes and massive trees covered with vines and epiphytes.

Visitors to Carara National Park have the chance to see scarlet macaws, basilisk, blue-crowned motmots, toucans, coatis, armadillos, howler monkeys as well as white-faced capuchins and squirrel monkeys.  On a trail that follows the Rio Tarcoles, you have a good chance of seeing crocodiles, turtles, and much waterfowl at a lagoon that is covered with water hyacinths.  It is about a 2 hour hike to the lagoon from the trailhead. You can buy drinks and use the restrooms at the main ranger station.

Carara National Park consist of 11,600 acres with elevations ranging from 330′ – 1,640′.  The park was established in 1979. Camping is not allowed. The closest tourist geared town is Jaco Beach. The GPS coordinates of Carara National Park are Lat – 9.7978, Long – 84.565.

The weather at Carara National Park is hot and humid year round, even in the drier season of Dec – April.  The wettest time being August – October.

Although Costa Rica national park entrance fees do change often, plan on $10 park admission fee – open 8am-4pm Tuesday through Sunday. The fee does not include a guide. We highly recommend a guide to thoroughly get the most out of the natural flora and fauna and wildlife that you almost certainly will not see on your own.

Rubber boots are highly recommended to hike this park and there is a short stretch that is wheelchair accessible.

Note: Do not leave your valuables in your car at the trailhead-usually you can ask at the ranger station if you can leave them there.

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