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Carara Biological Reserve

Listed under National Parks in San José, Costa Rica.

  • Photo of Carara Biological Reserve
  • Photo of Carara Biological Reserve
  • Photo of Carara Biological Reserve
Photo of Carara Biological Reserve
Photo by Alex Vargas
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This is the northernmost region of Pacific rainforest remaining in Costa Rica, and is the beginning of the transition zone into the tropical dry forests of the northwest. Carara is one of Costa Rica's most popular National Parks, in large part due to its proximity to San José. This is also where many cruise ship's passengers are bused for a day trip when the liners dock just up the coast at Puerto Caldera, and a common destination for field trips by school children.

Costa Rica Guide.

Written by press.

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Carara National Park & Tarcoles River

This is another amazing area of country for the totally diverse range of species. What makes Carara so good for birdwatching is its location as the northernmost tropical rainforest on Costa Rica's Pacific side. Right at its edge the tropical dry forest changes the scenery dramatically. So, this 4,700 hectares National Park covers a mix of both zones. The Grande de Tarcoles River continuously floods some areas of the park and offers a wide quantity of wildlife at its edge, from common river species, to the gulls and waders at the Mangrove and the Tarcoles River Mouth.

Your priority should by the route called "La Trocha". This trail is -by far- the best of the best, ending on a great and active lagoon, spotting birds along the way as cool as the Royal Flycatcher. The parks opens at 7AM, but you can go to the Station the day before and buy your tickets for the next morning. Get to the gate around 5:30 and be ready for crazy action, right there! On the way back, just show the tickets to the guard at the gate and will be no problem... it's amazing there indeed!

You could also drive to the Tarcoles River Mouth and Estuary one afternoon and have a look through the scope (indispensable) for waders and much more.

Another recommended afternoon drive would take you to the Crocodiles Bridge to enjoy the amazing show of Scarlet Macaws returning to roost from the beach and the 100 Nighthawks after that.

I recommend this destination for -at least- two nights in one of the many hotels and resorts near by. I like to stay at Villa Lapas, since it has cool birding areas, great birds just at the garden, has a nice stream surrounding it.

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