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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  • Downing56
    Bromont, Canada20 contributions
    Carara tour guide Maurice Vasquez
    If you’re looking for an exceptional ornithological tour this one is for you. Maurice manages to find the tiniest birds and bats. He is exceptionally knowledgeable about what to find in Carara and also Costa Rica in general. We also signed up for his crocodile river tour. Well worth the extra cost. We highly recommend this.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 3 March 2023
  • Edyta O
    Boston, Massachusetts788 contributions
    Nice walking trails
    Excited to get into the forests of Costa Rica we chose to came to Carara National Park right off Rt 34. A huge parking lot greeted us along with polite guides offering their services. We chose the binoculars and self-guided tour instead. Clean restrooms, potable water and tickets with no line ($10). There were several short trails available (~1. 2km each) and within 3 hours of walking we completed all of them: Sendero trail, Quebrada Bonita trail, Las Avaceas and Linear trail. Trails are easy and mostly flat. We heard many birds but saw very few ( canopy is high). It was a nice relaxing experience.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 12 March 2023
  • Pat and Dave
    3 contributions
    Key contacts in Jaco
    We had an enjoyable and productive wildlife tour of Carara with guide Santi (Santiago). Reach him at (+506) 6080 1247. And when our scheduled ride from Jaco to La Fortuna was cancelled because of engine trouble, a call to Santi quickly led to a replacement ride from his friend Calin (Carlos), who had a bigger van and a lower price than our cancelled ride. Calin is at (+506) 8517 1707 Give both these guys some business. You won't regret it.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 13 March 2023
  • Ken S
    North Carolina2 contributions
    Carara National Park hire Maurice
    My wife and I plus another couple went to Carara National Park and hired Maurice as our tour guide. We were all so impressed with his knowledge, ability to spot animals and then position his scope so we could see the animal. It was a great tour of the park and was not overly crowded with tourists. We saw a bunch of different wildlife including birds, monkeys and white bats!! - all of which Maurice found for us and pointed out to us along with any relevant information. The photos I uploaded were taken by Maurice with my phone that he placed on his scope. We highly recommend Maurice for your tour. To contact Maurice use WhatsApp and his number is +506 8889 6061
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 19 March 2023
  • Sarah J
    11 contributions
    What an experience!
    My partner and I visited the national park today and were lucky enough to be approached by the wonderful Jairo on our way in. To anyone visiting, we cannot recommend Jairo enough! Without the guidance and park knowledge he had we probably would have missed the majority of the wildlife that we saw. He was so friendly and informative, we had the most wonderful experience. I was quite apprehensive to begin with (huge fear of snakes), but having Jairo with us totally put me at ease - very grateful and appreciative of his kindness and expertise! We were completely blown away by the multitude of wildlife and beauty of the park, it really was an incredible morning.
    Visited March 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 31 March 2023
  • Beatrix H
    1 contribution
    Great experience guided by Maurice Vasquez
    This national park is such a hidden gem! It was the least busy out of all the national parks we visited but still plenty of wildlife (mostly birds + monkeys). Initially we had planned to visit it on our own, however upon reading reviews most of them mentioned that with a guide it is significantly better. With very little hope that we'll manage to book the ever so famous Maurice on one day's notice, we still messaged him on whatsapp and got lucky. He had a tour already arranged from 9am and offered us to join, even suggesting a private 2 hour add on if we make it for the park entrance time (7am). We're so glad we contacted him! He is extremely knowledgeable (25+ years of being a guide!), has a talent at finding even the smallest birds, which one can see very clearly through his telescope. There was an obvious difference between the first 2 hours we had him exclusively vs when another 6 people joined (the originally planned tour): the group moves at a different pace, birds might fly away before everyone looks in the scope etc. Either way, still better than exploring on your own and missing out on the wildlife! Sharing his contact details below: Maurice Vasquez whatsapp: +506 8889-6061 email: mauriciovasquezpizarro@gmail.com
    Visited January 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 2 April 2023
  • Escape66402131290
    3 contributions
    Hike in Carrara National Park
    Don't bother with Manuel Antonio...it is a tourist trap now. Carrara is bigger and has more species on display. Go at 7am to see more sights. We saw lots of birds including a toucan, monkeys, a bat, white tailed deer, coati, pig. Highly recommend Mo Vasquez as the guide...take the private tour...he rarely does the group tour.
    Visited March 2023
    Written 4 April 2023
  • Peter K
    18 contributions
    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 28 June 2023
  • Melissa M
    2 contributions
    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
    Travelled solo
    Written 3 September 2023
  • davidhATX
    Austin, Texas164 contributions
    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
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 20 September 2023
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4.5
838 reviews
Excellent
532
Very good
213
Average
65
Poor
22
Terrible
6

Chiara A
1 contribution
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 23 February 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
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 17 February 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
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 13 February 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
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 19 January 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
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 11 January 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
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 4 January 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.

Kristian J
Chicago, IL39 contributions
Dec 2023 • Family
Two of the tourists with us said they had just done Manuel Antonio and that Carara, with Maurice, was WAY BETTER. Phenomenal. Magical. Mind blowing. We had the best tour with Maurice, our guide. 8889-6061 on Whatsapp. He is fluent in Spanish, English, and German, and he knows ALL THE BIRDS. He brought with him a thick guidebook called "Birds of Costa Rica" and he said, "I have this book memorized." And then he proved. it... when we saw a bird, or heard a call, he would call out a page number, and there would be our bird! We also saw sloth, baselisk, black iguana, wild pigs, spider monkeys, white faced monkeys, poison dart frogs, scarlet macaws, toucan, torogoz bird, centipedes, millipedes, army ants, leaf cutter ants... amazing! Most of these animals we saw with Maurice, but some of them we saw on our own when we kept hiking after the tour, exploring both halves of the park on the two main trials.
Written 31 December 2023
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.

Geraldine B
3 contributions
Dec 2023 • Family
And so sorry. But our guide was Ronald, not Roland! Nevertheless it was fantastic and worth it. Wear long trousers and closed shes!
Written 11 December 2023
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.

Yoram L
Ra'anana, Israel439 contributions
Nov 2023 • Couples
In order to enjoy this park you need a good guide. We were lucky to have an excellent guide, Geovanna from G@R Adventures. She spent with us over 3 hours in which we were able to see: monkeys, a sloth, macaws, and other birds, spiders (including Taratula), frogs, and lizards. The main attraction was to watch the magnificent macaws. Geovanna knew exactly where to find them.
Written 26 November 2023
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.

Diana d
1 contribution
Oct 2023 • Couples
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
Written 19 October 2023
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)

Frequently Asked Questions about Carara National Park

According to Tripadvisor travellers, these are the best ways to experience Carara National Park: