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Carara Natl. Park

Carara National Park is a famous park for its population of Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao), and also because it’s the place where the transition between dry and wet forest occurs. This park has a unique combination of typical dry forest plants mixed with wet forest species. The park is located in the Tárcoles river basin, near Jacó and Orotina. Originally it was a Biological Reserve, but in 1998 it was declared a National Park. Whenever you travel by the road next to the park, take a look at the sky and you will probably become one of the few fortunate people that see macaws flying free in the wild.

Barbilla Corcovado Carara Barra Honda Barra Honda Brauillio Carriollo Brauillio Carrillo Cahuita Cahuita Carara Chirripo Chirripo Corcovado Diria Diria Guanacaste Guanacaste Irazu Volcano Isla del Coco Juan Castro Blanco Juan Castro Blanco Isla del Coco La Amistad La Amistad Irazu Volcano La Cangreja La Cangreja Los Quetzales Los Quetzales Manuel Antonio Manuel Antonio Marino Ballena Marino Ballena Marino Las Baulas Marino Las Baulas Palo Verde Santa Rosa Piedras Blancas Tanpanti Turrialba Volcano Poas Volcano Tenorio Volcano Ricon del la Vieja Tortuguero Palo Verde Santa Rosa Tanpanti Piedras Blancas Tenorio Volcano Poas Volcano Tortuguero Rincon de la Vieja Turrialba Volcano


Carara National Park is one of the few forest remnants in the Central Pacific area. It is easily accessible and is one of the favorite destinations for birdwatchers. Over 360 species of birds have been recorded for the park. The park is home to several other animals such as: the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), the fer-de-lance snake, the agouti, the peccary, the coati; and colorful poisonous frogs.

Carara also boasts a lagoon, swamps and riverine forests. The swamps form due to the flooding of the Grande de Tárcoles River, and the associated fauna of amphibians, reptiles and wetland birds is impressive. The forests are dense and high, and the park has a mixture of primary and secondary forests. One of the most common tree species is the espavel (Anacardium excelsum).

Carara and the nearby areas were once the land of the Cacique Garabito o Coyoche, who is one of the most famous people in the indigenous history of Costa Rica. This cacique cleverly evaded the Spanish conquerors, and tricked them several times to save his people. Because of his actions, Costa Rica was declared a land of rebels and for a while it was the only Central American territory that was not under complete control by Spain. In the National park there is evidence of the presence of indigenous people.

Source: Boza, M. 1981. Los Parques Nacionales de Costa Rica. Incafo. 310 p.

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