Carara National Park

Discover the incomparable and exotic fauna and flora of the marvelous Carara National Park, in Costa Rica

Carara National Park
Carara National Park
© Ed Ogle

The Carara National Park is placed between the Garabito and Turrubares cantons, in the Puntarenas province, in the Central Pacific Conservation Area, 90 km from San José and 15 km from Jacó.

Carara National Park, Costa Rica
Carara National Park, Costa Rica
© Jimfbleak

Carara was created in 1978 as a biological reserve as a response to the preservation needs of the regional and national natural resources. Later, in 1998, it became a national park because of the huge number of visitors coming to discover its wonders. The name of the park is prior to the arrival of the Spaniards to Costa Rica, when the indigenous huetares named the river as Carara, which in the huetal language means ‘river of lizards’.

This impressive park protects the basin of the Grande de Tárcoles river, as well as an endangered species: the scarlet macaw, or Ara Macao. This bird species of 90 cm long and 1 kg weight is characterized by its colorful plumage, which is mainly scarlet red mixed with some blue and yellow feathers in its wings and tail. This wonderful animal belongs the Family of Psittacidae, and it can be found in tropical rainforests close to strong currents of water.

Nevertheless, the Carara National Park is considered a biological island instead of a natural park because of the intense farming of the former pre-Columbian times. For this reason, Carara is the last remnant of the transitional forest of Costa Rica, as it is located between the tropical rainforest, which is typical from the South Pacific, and the dry forest of the Mesoamerican region. Thus, it is being used as a living laboratory that allows the study of the structure and functioning of tropical ecosystems.

Discover the natural richness hidden in this park, as well as its variety of species of dry forest and rainforest or the swamps that turn the landscapes into incomparable scenic beauties. You can also observe different lizard species, like the up to 3 m long crocodiles that live in the Grande de Tárcoles river, or sea birds, like the pink heron or the darters, amongst many others.

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Garabito canton, Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

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