Carara National Park
Carara National Park
4.5
About
Carara National Park is south of the Rio Tarcoles and 15 km north of Jaco Dentral. It boasts of a large population of breeding scarlet macaws, capuchin monkeys, anteaters, parrots, aracaris, kingfishers old growth forest and is a transistional forest supporting both Amazonian and Mesoamerican habitats.
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  • Peter K
    18 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nature experience of a lifetime
    WOW! Couldn't get into Manuel Antonio National Park so ended up here. How fortuitous! So few people. Our guide, Antonio, was worth 10 times the price we paid. He found green frogs, a white-winged bat, deer, scarlet macaws. Then we ran around chasing the rustling of monkeys. We saw howler monkeys and about 20 spider monkeys swinging above us with babies. Antonio spent an extra 30 minutes with us so we could also see white-faced monkeys. Got up close with them. A nature experience of a lifetime. If it weren't for Antonio, I probably would have only seen a lot of trees. Best money ever spent.
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 28, 2023
  • Melissa M
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fabulous tour with Jeison Hernandez
    Carara National Park is an awesome place to visit because of its location in a transition zone. The AirBnB host arranged a tour with Jeison Hernandez, Birding and Nature Tours, and he was fabulous. He was very knowledgeable about the park and history, its inhabitants and the trees, plants, fungi, etc. In addition to hearing a streak-chested antpitta bird and a couple of toucans, we saw them, too! We saw a fer-de-lance pit viper snake, a ghost bat, a variety of mushrooms, a number of strangler figs, and much more during the three hour tour. Definitely recommend a tour with Jeison.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written September 3, 2023
  • davidhATX
    Austin, Texas165 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Easy hikes through green rainforest trails on way from San Jose to Puntarenas Province near Dominical
    We enjoyed a couple hours hiking in this CR national park on our way to our primary destination in the Puntarenas Province near Dominical. We stopped as it was on the way from San Jose and were eager to start seeing huge rainforest trees and wildlife. You purchase your tickets online and they are inexpensive, around $10 USD each. The trails were easy walks with some of it paved or at least well marked. There were several platforms for viewing, rotting away and in disrepair, and some muddy trails, but it is a rainforest after all. We saw several poison dart frogs, lizards, iguanas, leaf cutter ants, centipedes and most of the wildlife at the river where we saw several white faced capuchin monkeys and an agouti (looks like a giant gerbil).
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 20, 2023
  • Diana d
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing experience!
    Our guide Jeison has given us an unforgetteble day! We got a lot of information about the animals, trees and history of the parc. We walked through the firest for 3 hours and he showed us beautiful and even pretty rare animals
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 19, 2023
  • Ginny R
    Hong Kong, China95 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    An uncrowded park brought to life by amazing guide Maurice
    We had an awesome tour with guide Maurice who was recommended by many others on Trip Advisor. We contacted him by whats app a few days in advance and he was very responsive. He met us at the entrance to the park and guided us around. He found so many birds, reptiles and insects that we would never have seen on our own. His binoculars are amazing and he got fantastic photos of everything we saw. He was determined to find a toucan for us and he did. I highly recommend Maurice.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 11, 2024
  • Chuck G
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Happy Wife, Pura Diva!
    Maurice gave us an especially awesome tour. He loves what he does and it shows through with his enthusiasm in spotting all types of wildlife, from the tiniest frog, centipedes, geckos and leaf cutter ants to hummingbirds, various other birds, and this guy knows his birds. He proves it by referencing page numbers in the Birds of Costa Rica book with memorized page numbers to provide proof of his knowledge. We would have missed so much without Maurice's keen eye. Maurice also has a fabulous sense of humor to keep us amused along the way.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written January 19, 2024
  • Spence44
    Tucson, Arizona101 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing wildlife
    Much less crowded than Manuel Antonio National Park, this place is known for birds, but that’s not all. We were fortunate to hire Mauricio as we entered, a well-informed guide with real enthusiasm for the Park and its wild denizens. We would not have seen much aside from greenery without him. He showed us poison dart frogs, a kingfisher, a tarantula taking a nap in a hiding place, a heron, macaws, and many other birds and butterflies, not to mention pointing out various trees and plants as we strolled along. Memorable and fascinating!
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 8, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles845 reviews
Excellent
533
Very good
216
Average
67
Poor
22
Terrible
7

jaybird777
Washington, MO69 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
Well worth a visit. Nice trail that is marked well. VERY limited facilities at this park. We were met at the entrance by a man who tried to convince us to hire him as a guide. There are guides at parks here who can point out things that you might otherwise miss. HOWEVER, don't overpay. Their prices are usually negotiable, and shouldn't be more than about $15 -$20 per person. We opted to see the park for ourselves and at our own pace since it was VERY HOT, and we are seniors and didn't want to commit to hours when we didn't know how long we would be able to stand the heat. I think this was a good decision for us. But if you don't want to miss seeing humingbird nests, and small things like this that you might otherwise miss, then you should hire a guide. We saw plenty of wonder without hiring a guide.

There is a metal bridge on the main trail, and it is a little sketchy. I'm a full figured guy, and I was careful to stay in the middle of this bridge where there was a metal beam. Most people will probably not have any concern, but fat guys tend to exercise a bit of caution on small bridges, and they can be a little scary for us sometimes.

Bring PLENTY of water, hat, and anything else you need to combat the extreme heat. We had very little problem with bugs, and never needed insect repellent even in the rainforest.
Written April 9, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Spence44
Tucson, AZ101 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Much less crowded than Manuel Antonio National Park, this place is known for birds, but that’s not all. We were fortunate to hire Mauricio as we entered, a well-informed guide with real enthusiasm for the Park and its wild denizens. We would not have seen much aside from greenery without him. He showed us poison dart frogs, a kingfisher, a tarantula taking a nap in a hiding place, a heron, macaws, and many other birds and butterflies, not to mention pointing out various trees and plants as we strolled along. Memorable and fascinating!
Written March 8, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nature Group Costa Rica
Tarcoles, Costa Rica1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Business
If you are into photography join Nature Group for amazing results! No other company understands photographer as us! Make sure you get Randall Ortega as your guide! 84179015
Written March 6, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wilhelm H
Weinheim, Germany41 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Our third National Park. Unfortunately not good at all. They ask for more than 100$ for entsende and guide. But they are unable to deliver for that Money. We saw just 1 single frog 😝
And we saw two plattforms which were blocked because they were not maintained for years, see pic. I would expect that for all the money they ask for, at least the maintenace should have been done!
Finally: you must order the Tickets at the general Parks homepage. No problem. But why you must give yr passport ID?
Summary: Carara was not worth the money. Sorry.
Written February 26, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chiara A
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Our guide, Antonio, was the best! He helped us to spot some great wildlife, was very knowledgeable and kind and took extra time with us. We felt very lucky to go discover the park with him!
Written February 23, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

robkay123
Burton upon Trent, UK234 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
Even with a guide there really isn’t much to see, which I guess is not their fault, but there was lots of people and super loud groups of kids that are unchecked scaring the animals away.

The lady on the front desk was rude as anything, she asked us to write down our “numbers” on a pad, showing us all the previous entrants’ details, so I wrote a phone number (not mine) and the same for my spouse and son, she then said “passport numbers”, which I tried pointing out that no one else had provided and she just kept saying “Silencio”, and demanding a passport number for no reason whatsoever without explanation.

Book your tickets in advance, the signal there is terrible to do it on site.
Written February 17, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Danielle S
1 contribution
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
It was very disappointing. Went with a guide, he tried his best to spot some wildlife with his telescope. We did see a white face monkey, one green parrot, one boar & a toucan, all with the telescope. Impossible to spot them without it, they’re way up hiding in gigantic trees, & that’s their way of protecting themselves from prying humans.
Don’t believe the advertisements that say you’ll see lots of birds, supposedly there were sloths, not true, our guide said they are none in that park. The ads are tourist traps. The entry is not expensive, but the guides are. We paid $120. US for 2. for about 1 & 1/2 hours. The walk was nice, some of the trees are amazingly big. The park is somewhat neglected, with benches falling apart. Our guide agreed with us. He said the rangers looking after the park are lazy. It badly needs some pruning. We wanted to visit some other parks, but after this tour, we decided to spend the rest of our vacation at the pool & beach.
We don’t have any $$$ to waist on tourist traps!
Written February 13, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chuck G
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
Maurice gave us an especially awesome tour. He loves what he does and it shows through with his enthusiasm in spotting all types of wildlife, from the tiniest frog, centipedes, geckos and leaf cutter ants to hummingbirds, various other birds, and this guy knows his birds. He proves it by referencing page numbers in the Birds of Costa Rica book with memorized page numbers to provide proof of his knowledge. We would have missed so much without Maurice's keen eye. Maurice also has a fabulous sense of humor to keep us amused along the way.
Written January 19, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ginny R
Hong Kong, China95 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
We had an awesome tour with guide Maurice who was recommended by many others on Trip Advisor. We contacted him by whats app a few days in advance and he was very responsive. He met us at the entrance to the park and guided us around. He found so many birds, reptiles and insects that we would never have seen on our own. His binoculars are amazing and he got fantastic photos of everything we saw. He was determined to find a toucan for us and he did. I highly recommend Maurice.
Written January 11, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Abhishek P
3 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
The park is not well maintained. We got there around 11 and no guides were available. Without guides, we did not see any animal at all. It did not help that it was raining all along.
If you going there, I would recommend getting a guide. (It seems guides at the park are only available in morning) or book a guided tour.
Bring binoculars with you.
Written January 4, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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CARARA NATIONAL PARK: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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