Carara National Park

Near the Tarcoles River and Jaco Beach

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Nature abounds in Carara

The Carara National Park is located in near the Tarcoles River of the Central Pacific. It was established in 1978 as a national wildlife reserve to protect the many animal species that live in its protective borders. You will find it an easy drive to go to this national park as it is only 2 hours or less from San Jose. As the main protector of the Tarcoles river basin, this is an extremely important part of Costa Rica’s National Parks

Wildlife of Carara, A Birding Destination 

Costa Rica CrocodilesIt isn’t a well-known park but certainly is an important one, containing, even more, rainforest than the close by Manuel Antonio National Park. It is known for carrying some of Costa Rica’s biggest wildlife species, the Costa Rican Crocodile. This beast can reach 4-6 meters long and normally is rather docile but if coerced with food they move fast. Other reptiles include the iguana a large lizard that loves hanging out in the trees and sunbathing. Also, various snakes including the Fur de lance or Terciopelo. 

The Park is also well known as a popular birding destination. This is of course because of how many bird species are here. You will find cool species like Scarlet macaws, Mot Mots, Toucans, Trogons, and a variety of water birds like herons. This will be perfect for capturing that sought after birding photo. Because Carara is the transition zone between Rainforest and Dry forest You will see a much larger variety of Bird species, they mix from both regions.

History of the Park

The Park has a much longer history than you might think and it stems back hundreds of years. You can see a bit of this history in the Pre-Columbian sites located here. There is a large burial site called Hills Burial, located facing the Tarcoles river. It used to be a large resident village, along with the other sight an old foundation linking to the Cartago period 800 – 1500 AD. 

Activities near Carara National Park

Carara National Park doesn’t have a lot of intense hiking but it is certainly great for getting active on your vacation. Also, it is the perfect trail system for bird watching. Whether you are a group or just a few the trails are spaced out enough to be comfortable. 

Because you are so close to the Pacific Coast it would be a shame to miss out on a day at the beach. Jaco Beach is the closest and most popular beach in the area. Jaco actually is a lot more than just a beach, this coastal city is full of life day and night. During the day you will see surfers, locals, and tourist roaming the beachside. Along with bars, restaurants, and cafes. Once dusk comes things liven up a bit with nightlife, bars turn on music and dancing clubs open up. 

Another great activity in this region is, of course, the Crocodile bridge. Before entering the park it is well worth to pull off to the side for a rest stop and view some of the biggest crocodiles below the bridge. Some of the monsters even have names like Shakira, Osama, etc. 

Where to stay?

If you are looking for some excitement while on Vacation you could stay at the Crocs Casino. They have great amenities and room selections, restaurants as well as the Casino. Or perhaps you could stay at Club Del Mar, they have 9 luxury rooms, 22 condos, and a penthouse. You also have several Central Pacific Beaches to choose to stay near, firstly Jaco Beach, Playa Hermosa, Esterillos, or Herradura. 

Visiting the Carara National Park is very easy. It’s located just off the main highway and has more than enough places to stay while you are here. So when will you plan your trip to Carara?

Carara National Park - Get Info

Carara National Park Map
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Carara National Park

Carara National Park

Establish in 1978 as a reserve the Carara National Park gives you a variety of wildlife and plant species to explore. Not far from San Jose!

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