Carara National Park (Parque Nacional Carara) Tours

At the confluence of two important Costa Rican ecosystems—the wet and wild Pacific Rainforest that characterizes the southern coast, and the dry tropical forest for which Guanacaste is known—this small, popular national park packs a lot of wildlife into a 5240-hectare (12,950-acre) package.

Most notably, Carara is home to one of Costa Rica’s last remaining populations of scarlet macaws, who you’ll likely see gossiping and preening in small groups throughout the park. The Rio Tarcoles, which forms the park’s northern border, is well known for its enormous population of huge crocodiles.

There are two short, 1km (.6mi) interpretive trails through the wilderness and waterfalls, perfect for families and less active travelers. A longer, 4.5km (2.7mi) trail follows the Rio Tarcoles and mangrove marshes, where both the crocodiles and scarlet macaws settle in for the evening.

There are scores of other animals in residence, hailing from both forest ecosystems straddled by Carara: sloths, peccaries, deer, monkeys, armadillos, and even big cats. Birders will appreciate the bounty most, with some 400 species easily spotted in this relatively small area.

Practical Info

Carara is convenient to both San Jose and Jaco, which is great for travelers who often park on the famous Tarcoles Bridge for a view over the crocodile-packed river. Unfortunately, this is also great for folks who rob rental cars. Keep an eye on your vehicle (even if you’re just on the bridge for a few moments), leave no valuables visible, and use guarded parking whenever possible.
Location
Address: Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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Hours: Ranger station is open 7am - 4pm daily.
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Admission: $8
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2 Tours & Activities to Experience

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Manuel Antonio National Park Combo Tour from San Jose

Even if you're not planning an overnight stay, you can still see highlights of Costa Rica’s Central Pacific region with this combo tour from San Jose that mixes wildlife with adrenaline and some of the country’s most picturesque beaches. Get your heart rate up on a 10-cable zipline course through the rain forest canopy, stop to see the famous crocodiles of the Tarcoles River, and recharge with a typical Costa Rican lunch. Look for sloths, monkeys, iguanas, and other animals inside Manuel Antonio National Park, and finish the day relaxing on the park’s gorgeous white sand beaches.
  • Duration: 13 to 15 hours
From
US$161.00
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  • Duration: 13 to 15 hours
From
US$161.00

Private Tour: Carara National Park Bird Watching Tour

Go deep into Carara National Park on a 4-hour bird watching tour with a private guide, and discover some of the park’s 400 bird species. Enjoy the use of professional scopes while you explore the forest, and listen to the sounds of howler monkeys as they hoot and boom in the thick foliage. Spot bright iguanas and scarlet macaws, watch white faced monkeys and jewel-like frogs, and learn to identify the native birds of this pristine stretch of primary rainforest.
  • Duration: 4 hours
From
US$105.00
See Details
  • Duration: 4 hours
From
US$105.00


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