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Carara National Park (Parque Nacional Carara)
Carara National Park (Parque Nacional Carara)

Carara National Park (Parque Nacional Carara)

Ranger station is open 7am - 4pm daily.
Highway 34, Puntarenas

The Basics

Trails through the 12,950-acre (5240-hectare) reserve accommodate all types of hikers. Two short (.6-mile/1-kilometer) trails meandering through the wilderness and past waterfalls are perfect for families and less active travelers. A longer 2.7-mile (4.5-kilometer) trail follows the river and mangrove marshes, where the crocodiles and scarlet macaws settle in for the evening.

Basic park tours include a hike with a naturalist guide who points out flora and fauna you’d otherwise miss. If you’d rather have another mode of transportation, there are plenty of options. Jump into a wagon drawn by a large grasshopper truck, fly down the zipline course, drive through the countryside in a four-wheel buggy or in an ATV, or cruise along the river to get up close to the crocodiles.

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Full-Day Carara National Park and Tarcoles River Tour
Full-Day Carara National Park and Tarcoles River Tour
$140.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Amazing Wild and nature day tour
Thank you for the trip guided by Charley that i enjoyed a lot ! Charley is a professional biologist and provides lot of interesting information. On the way he took me to the local fruit stall as well. With the telescope we observed lots of wild animals. I also joined another amazing day tour held by OROPOPO on the next day which i enjoyed so much too. what a satisfied day!
WaiYan_S, Jun 2022

Recent reviews from experiences in Jaco

star-5
Awesome tour led by amazing Guide!
Richard_B, Aug 2022
Full-Day Carara National Park and Tarcoles River Tour
This tour was one of the best tours I’ve done in Costa Rica and thanks to an amazing guide in Rigo! Very friendly and personable wit you, he is like a friend that you don’t even realize he’s a tour operator. This tour consists of first stopping at The crocodile bridge, then walking around and seeing the carara national park and we even saw some animals such as a monkey, and tree frogs, and then the best part at the end where we went to the Tarcoles River to see the wildlife and crocodiles, and so many different type of birds. Rigo was awesome, took really good pictures of us and was very informative throughout his tour, it was basically a private tour as he picks you up from his SUV and takes you everywhere along the way, I would recommend highly of this tour of anyone trying to see the Tarcoles River!
star-5
A VIP Experience
Sue_C, Jun 2022
Full-Day Carara National Park and Tarcoles River Tour
I was surprised to discover that not only was I the only one on tour but that we were the only ones on the river - people are missing out I was collected by Rigo nice and early, we stopped to buy fruit on the way and adjusted the itinerary slightly due to the weather but we need not have worried, the weather was perfect Along the river I was shown many birds from the mighty Scarlet Macaw to an Osprey with fish in tow, we also saw many crocodiles from a baby to Tyson the oldest at 90 ish years, along with many lizards On to Carara we were fortunate enough to see both Spider and Capuchins, a salamander, iquanas, lizards, white tailed deer, an Agouti (?), my favourite Morpho, green and black poisonous dart frogs and many different birds Rigo was extremely knowledgeable and very friendly, the day went really quickly I would just recommend, no matter how hot, thick long trousers as the mossies were in abundance and bit non exposed areas as well, despite two types of repellent!
star-4
Worth the time!
Jessica_H, Apr 2021
Carara National Park
Tour guide was very knowledgeable. We saw poison Dart frogs, howler monkeys and alot of other cool things.
star-5
So much wildlife!
Marty_C, Jul 2021
Full-Day Carara National Park and Tarcoles River Tour
This was an AMAZING adventure with my guide YEPO (Jose Pablo), he was extremely knowledgeable, had a great instict for spotting wildlife and went completely out of the way to provide us a unique experience. First time in the morning we bought some seasonal fruits at a local market, then we went hiking to CARARA NATIONAL PARK where we saw monkeys, frogs, lizards, dozens of plants and mushrooms and for every organism Yepo had a wonderful story to tell. Then we had a small picninc at the beach where we finally ate the fruits he got for us (god bless the tropics!) And finally after having lunch we went for a very calm but informative and scenic boat ride through the Tarcole River where Yepo showed us a handful of colorful birds and HUGE crocodiles. My favorite was Shakira! Thank you Yepo for this wonderful day, god bless
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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Carara National Park is an ideal place for nature lovers, birdwatchers, and trekkers of all levels.
  • A small entry fee is required.
  • The main trail is paved and includes bathroom facilities, benches, and informational signs.
  • Bring long pants, appropriate hiking shoes, mosquito repellent, sun protection, and water.
  • Don’t leave belongings in your car, as the parking lot is open to the highway.
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How to Get There

Carara National Park (Parque Nacional Carara) is located off the Costanera Highway, about 14 miles (22 kilometers) north of Jaco. A bus leaves regularly from Avenida Pastor Diaz in Jaco. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes, and the bus drops you off at the entrance to the park. If you travel by car, stop at the Quebrada Bonita ranger station, which is under 2 miles (3 kilometers) south of the Tarcoles River Bridge.

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When to Get There

The park is open daily year-round. During the dry season, from December to April, there is less rain, though expect high levels of humidity. During the wettest months, August to October, the trails near the river get flooded. The ideal time to visit is March and April, but keep in mind that the forests are always hot and humid.

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Playa Hermosa Punta Mala Wildlife Refuge

About 15 miles (25 kilometers) south of the national park is Playa Hermosa Punta Mala Wildlife Refuge. Stretching along the Pacific coast, the refuge covers different habitats, including mangrove estuary, tropical rain forest, wetlands, and a small lagoon. Less crowded than Carara National Park, thexa0 refuge offers the chance to explore fauna and flora unique to Central America.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Carara National Park (Parque Nacional Carara)?
A:
Attractions near Carara National Park (Parque Nacional Carara):
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Jaco?
A:
As well as visiting the Carara National Park (Parque Nacional Carara), check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: