Parque Nacional Carara

sights / Parks & gardens

Parque Nacional Carara information

Prices
admission US$10
Opening hours
7am-3pm Dec-Mar, 8am-4pm Apr-Nov
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Straddling the transition between the dry forests of Costa Rica’s northwest and the sodden rainforests of the southern Pacific lowlands, this national park is a biological melting pot of the two. Acacias intermingle with strangler figs, and cacti with deciduous kapok trees, creating heterogeneity of habitats with a blend of wildlife to match, including the scarlet macaw and Costa Rica's largest crocodiles. The park's three trails can easily be explored in half a day; come early to maximize wildlife sightings.

Carara is the famed home to one of Costa Rica’s most charismatic bird species, the scarlet macaw. While catching a glimpse of this tropical wonder is a rare proposition in most of the country, macaw sightings are virtually guaranteed at Carara. And, of course, there are more than 400 other avian species flitting around the canopy, as well as Costa Rica’s largest crocodiles in the waterways – it’s best to leave your swimming trunks at home!

The dry season from December to April is the easiest time to go, though the animals are still here in the wet months. March and April are the driest months. Rainfall is almost 3000mm annually, which is less than in the rainforests further south. It’s fairly hot, with average temperatures of 25°C (77°F) to 28°C (82°F), but it’s cooler within the rainforest. An umbrella is important in the wet season and occasionally needed in the dry months. Make sure you have insect repellent.