Carara National Park

Tarcoles, Costa Rica

©Sue & Ray, Toucan Maps

This is the northernmost Pacific coastal rainforest remaining intact 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.

Carara is a great place to stop off for a quick hike on a trip up or down the pacific coast any time of the year. If you are headed to or from slothful beach bumming, take a few hours to explore a trail. The rewards will be well worth the effort, and you will feel better after a little exercise.

There are two hiking trails in Carara. 0.6 miles (1 km) south of the bridge on your left as you head towards the rangers station there is parking for a 2.7 mile (4.5 km) Laguna Meandrica trail that parallels the Río Grande de Tárcoles and has short branches to the laguna and marshes. The short (0.6 mile, 1 km) Araceas Nature trail is a loop that starts and ends at the Quebrada Bonita station.

Be cautious parking at the trail heads, and even the ranger station before sunrise or after sunset. The parking is just off the highway, and if you leave any valuables in your car (including the trunk), odds are pretty good that a opportunistic petty thief will grab them and be miles down the road before you return.

Amenities & Features

Recommended Near Carara National Park

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Nearby Activities & Attractions

Nearby Hotels & Lodges

Los Sueños Marriott

The nearest town is Tarcoles, 7.8 km away and Terminal Tobias Bolaños Airport airport is 49.9 km.

Please note that distances for nearby hotels, attractions, activites & other points of interest are in a straight line. Distances by road may be significantly longer!

The approximate gps map coordinates of Carara National Park are latitude 9.7978, longitude -84.565. (exact GPS coordinates are accurate to within a few meters, gps data labeled approximate is within a few hundred meters)