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Carara National Park

Duration: Half Day

carara national park

A tour to Carara National Park is a must for nature lovers, and for those wishing to explore the rainforest with ease. A huge diversity of plants, birds and animals can be found here, including some of the rarest and most spectacular creatures in tropical America. Although relatively small in size (around 5,000 Hectares), Carara National Park’s importance stems from its unique geographical location between the tropical dry forest region to the north, and the more humid and rainy Pacific rainforest to the south. The area is a meeting place for species from both ecosystems, which is why it such unique and varied wildlife can be found here.

The flora and fauna from both ecosystems, as well as the virgin forest that covers most of the park, is the ideal environment for rare wildlife to live, such as the scarlet macaw and the collared aracari. A popular park for bird lovers, and one of the best in locations in Costa Rica for bird spotting, Carara is more open than other rainforests further south, so viewing wildlife is much easier. Even so, the National Park protects evergreen forest of great density and the diversity of trees here is one of the highest in the world.

The two merging ecosystems enable birdwatchers to spot different birds from both habitats, so it’s certainly an idyllic area for nature watching. Look out for breeding pairs of scarlet macaw, which you can often see flying west at dusk, down the Río Tárcoles, as they migrate daily to the coastal mangrove swamps where they roost for the night. Other birds you can see here include parakeets, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, toucans, kingfishers, parrots, boat-billed herons and the black-throated trogons among others.

There are also plenty of American crocodiles, snakes and lizard species to watch out for in Carara, as well as green and black poison-arrow frogs, amongst the other amphibians, along the Tarcoles River. If mammals are more your thing, however, hike along the trails and look out for the white-faced capuchin monkeys, white-tailed deer, sloths, agouti, red brockets and many more exciting species.

Carara National Park also has numerous lakes, rivers and waterfalls to discover, as well as numerous pre-Columbian archaeological sites scattered about the park, which date back to over 2,000 years, so it’s well worth exploring just that little bit further whilst you are there. This half-day tour is ideal for those looking to combine nature with adventure on a holiday in Costa Rica.

Length of tour: Half Day
What to bring: Cool comfortable clothes, walking shoes, sun block, insect repellent, hat, camera and binoculars.

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