National Park

Hystorical Background:
Was created in April 27, 1978, and measures at the present 5.242 ha (about 12.952 acres). It was part of huge Hacienda El Coyolar, one of the biggest ever in Costa Rica, where the last significant stand of primary forest of its kind has been preserved.

Carara is a transitional zone from the dry North Coast of Costa Rica, to the very humid coast of the South east in fact, Carara is the only piece of land along the Central Pacific Area of Costa Rica.


The reserve is located 90 km (60 miles), from San José, on the right side of" Grande de Tárcoles" river following the coastal highway. It takes about 2 hours tc get there from San José.

Flora and fauna:

Carara the evergreen complexity and beauty, However. Carara has three lifezones; can be distinguished at the Reserve and they are the tropical humid forest that covers 20%, transition from pre?montane tropical and premontane rain forest, 15%; and montane rain forest that extends over 5% of the area.

Carara has the ten finest hardwood and soft?wood of Costa Rica and they are: caoba. cedro amargo, cenizaro, cocobolo, guapino, guayacán, nazareno, and roble sabana.

Some of the rarest and most spectacular animals of tropical America are also here; scarlet macaw, american corcodile, great anteater, ocelot, Central American spider monkey, great curassow, fiery?billed aracari, and black and green poison arrow frog. These species are in danger of extintion, with reduced populations.


Carara Biological Reserve has numerous archaeological sites of precolonial times. Studies undertaken indicate 15 sites that correspond to different periods of occupation: The Pavas Phase (300 B.C. to 300 A.D.) and Cartago Phase (800 to 1.500 A.D); with agriculture as the basis of subsistence. Some sites from the second period stand out: Carara with a rectangular foundation of 4x6, built with river stones and limestone, and Lomas de Entierro, an extensive village with habitational and funeral zones at the top of hilly terrain facing "Grande de Tárcoles" river.

The later was one of the main pre?colonial settlements in Costa Rica and its political economical influence extended over the lower river area.

Interest data:

Mean annual temperature: 27ºC (78ºF)
Mean annual precipitation: 2.800 mm ( 1002 inches)
Drier months: March and April

Tárcoles 2 km
Jacó 17 km
Orotina 25 km


* IN spite of its biological diversity, many animals living in Costa Rica are hard to observe because of their migratory or reproductive habits, because they are nocturnal or because the forest is too dense to see them clearly. Move quietly and sharpen your observation skills in order to have better appreciation of the richness of he area).
* All protected wildlife areas have rules which regulate the protection of resources and the activities of visitors. This reserve operates under these rules for public use and it is obligation of all visitors to respect them.
* If you need help or have questions, please ask the rangers or volunteers; they are pleased and prepared to help you.
* All living things, plants and animals, alike, share this planet with you. Please respect them.
* Enjoy the peace and natural sounds of the forest. Do not play radios or make loud noises which could disturb the tranquility found here.
* Please keep yourself on the trails. The signs are for the benefit of all. Do not deface or destroy them.
* This area is a natural preserve. We invite you to observe, enjoy and take as many pictures you like Please do not remove plants, animals, stones or other materials as souvenirs.
* Please collect you garbage and take it with you.
* Do not feed the wildlife.They can suffer serious health problems if they eat peopIe food.

Enjoy your trip !