Carara National Park

Carara National Park: Address, Phone Number, Carara National Park Reviews: 4.5/5

Carara National Park
4.5
National Parks
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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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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
774 reviews
Excellent
489
Very good
201
Average
59
Poor
20
Terrible
5

thatsnowblues
winnipeg165 contributions
Feb 2021
we went there not planning/wanting to hire a guide but we were approached as soon as we entered by a gentle soul named Freddie and we were glad we did. we didnt do the north route which had more animals, we did the south route which had some cool bugs. Freddie knew his stuff and we spent just over 2 hrs walking 3.5 km in this beautiful park. Entry fee was $10usd pp payable with credit card only and Freddie was well worth his asking price. Tourism is suffering, as are the guides so bare this in mind. Thanks, Freddie
Written February 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alma F
1 contribution
Dec 2021 • Family
We had a party of 10 and tour guide Maurice Vasquez 506-8889-6061 took us day of!!! He is the man for Carara! The park is only 11 miles from Jaco (where we are staying) and we taxied to the park. He met us there and we spent 3-3 1/2 hours walking through the park. He was able to quickly spot animals in the trees, would enthusiastically energize the group, and set up his telescope there for us to see. We had college students, high school, and parents of those kids in our group and he made sure everyone was engaged and involved. He got pictures on our phones of the animals (spider monkeys, capuchin monkey, howlers, bats, birds, iguanas) and answered any questions we had. He also speaks fluent German (he did his masters in biology there). Seriously so impressive! Many of the kids said this tour has been their favorite part of our trip to Costa Rica.
Written December 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

mnzamora
Costa Rica179 contributions
Feb 2022
A Birdwatcher’s Paradise and also home of Scarlet Macaws in Costa Rica. The national park entrance is a little bit after the Rio Tarcoles bridge, the hiking trails are all on flat and easy to walk but we recommend that you wear long pants and hiking shoes, Since it is both dry and wet rain forest, the bugs there were pretty intense so bring mosquito repellent. Sunscreen and a hat is also a must. Don’t forget plenty of water – it’s not a tough hike but it is super humid!
Written June 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

chuddington
London38 contributions
Feb 2022
Our visit left me with mixed feelings. I tend not to hire guides, as I like to go at my own pace and spot animals myself; however good a guide is, there is a slightly stagey feel to it when everything is pointed out to you. But that means that seeing stuff means going slowly, being very quiet and stopping frequently. So, despite it being a short series of loops we spent 4 hours covering the ground, starting early as recommended by others at 8am to miss the larger groups (these were arriving as we left). At beginning an end you cannot escape the roar of the road which is close by at this point. Half way round these are replaced by the surround sound of cicadas; they make more noise than the trucks. it's an immersive experience and rather wonderful. Yes there are things to see, often small and high up. Yes, the trees are amazing. However, if you are an independant traveller you would see more at some of the other parks in Costa Rica and certainly way fewer of your own species.

The secondary area which is close to the river, is down a precipitous slope into a small car park and was spookily empty. parts of the trail were closed, so we never got to see the lagoon, which I believe may be dry at this time of year. It was fearsomly humid, hot and extremly buggy, but there you go.

The Tarcoles Bridge is a much better bet around 4pm, particularly for birds. Forget the crocs and train your binoculars on to the birdlife. You wont be disappointed and it's free.
Written March 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

worldtraveller10538
Los Angeles, CA73 contributions
Oct 2020
Very poor experience, worst National Park in Costa Rica I have experienced & I have visited 12 up to now, believe me.. Certain Guides (cannot speak for all of them of course), very nasty, provocative & confrontational, commenting on the 2 tier pricing system there designed to rip most visitors off (very few Nationals ever visit) who are unaware of what they are really paying in $... 'If you don't like it, go back to your own country' is what I was aggressively told by a Guide which is basically fighting talk. Then when you bite your tongue & stay in 'their country' paying a rip off fee, nothing to see but trees & leaf cutter ants! Fact.... Zero wildlife evident, (ignore the hype, zero wildlife to see in Carara, certainly on my visit) just totally boring trails you would rather not be wasting your time in & inflated prices. Sadly certain types of Costa Rican's really hate non Costa Rican's & in particular what they term 'Gringo's, suffering from xenophobia. They like the tourist Dollar of course but basically once you've paid it & paid over the top 'go away' & this mentality is very evident at Carara National Park. Stay away please, many better places to go, total waste of time & money. These people need educating, visitors are their lifeblood not their enemies. Sad but true.
Written October 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Heather
7 contributions
Mar 2020
Maurice knows his birds and the Costa Rica Bird Guide inside and out. He went out of his was to make sure we saw as many endemic birds as possible. In our 3 hours with him we saw approximately 45 species of birds, 3 species of bats and White Faced Monkeys. He shared his knowledge about the plant life as well. In particular we wanted to see a few owls and he knew the places to find them. Maurice is enthusiastic about birding and ensured we were more than satisfied with our morning. Wonderful wonderful bird guide.
Written March 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Curtis S
Kingsport, TN2,564 contributions
Nov 2019
this park was on the way between Monte Verde and Jaco. It is a non-descript little parking lot off the main road. The entry fee is quite reasonable, however, the same cannot be said about the guides hanging around trying to sell their services. We opted to walk through the park on our own and that was just fine. Again, take a picture of the trail map before you go into the park so that you can have a reference of where you are. For the most part the trails were fairly flat, but we ended up doing almost the entire park and there are some steep sections. We did not see much in the way of wildlife, but this was about the only activity on the road between Monte Verde and Jaco. Still, this was far more reasonable than Manuel Antonio National Park. Recommended
Written January 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mar 2020 • Family
We just completed a tour with Maurice Vasquez and would very highly recommend him as your tour guide. He is extremely knowledgable and pointed out all kinds of birds, animals and plants that we would never have seen by ourselves. He took us to two different parts of the park and also to a couple of locations outside the park. We saw about 30 species of birds, including a visit to a macaws nest, owls, trogons, hummingbirds, woodpeckers and dozens more. His love of nature is very evident and he is clearly passionate about giving you the very best nature experience possible. I would definitely recommend you to do yourself a favour and book a tour with Maurice.
Written March 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

flsurfer
Grecia, Costa Rica428 contributions
Aug 2020
Worth the time to walk through this national park. Trails are well maintained. Insect repellent is a must, and good shoes, binoculars, and water are also a must. In order to hike the entire trail system it takes at least a couple hours, that's not counting the time you will spend if you spot wildlife. While we there we saw multiple poison dart frogs. However, we were there later in the day, therefore we did not see a lot of wildlife. It is quite hot and humid at this park.
Written August 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alex L
Seattle, WA12 contributions
Jan 2020
I would highly recommend this please if you would like to avoid the crowd and see unique birds. We saw so many unique and rare animals including poison dart, scarlet macaw. We highly recommend contacting Franklin and book him as your guide. He would take you to some special places to see crocodiles, kingfishers, and even king vulture, one of the most unique birds in the area. HIs whatsapp is +50683378527. Again, contact franklin if you want the most customized and unique experience!!!
Written January 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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