Carara National Park

Carara National Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

From San José: Carara National Park and Tárcoles River Tour

1. From San José: Carara National Park and Tárcoles River Tour

Begin your journey by being picked up from your hotel, and going on a scenic 1.5-hour drive along Route 27, making your way to your first stop at Carara National Park. Head straight out onto some flat walking trails suitable for all fitness levels and wheelchair users, and admire the biological reserve's abundant jungle life in person. Look up to the 40-meter high canopy, and keep an eye out for bright scarlet macaws, agouti rodents, stunning poison dart frogs, spider monkeys, dozens of birds, fantastic fungi, and huge wild cashew trees. Next, enjoy lunch like a local and eat at a traditional soda diner, where you have the option of eating fresh fish or seafood. Re-energized, lower your gears and enjoy a relaxing boat ride for some birdwatching on the Tárcoles River. Admire the river's mangroves, which are some of the most unique and scarce ecosystems of the world, and considered to be biodiversity hotspots. Keep a lookout for the 6-meter-long American crocodiles — the largest of the continent. Finally, dig your toes into the sand of a peaceful beach at your last stop, where you will relax with the sound of the waves before heading back to your accommodation.

Other Sightseeing Options in Carara National Park

Want to discover all there is to do in Carara National Park? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Carara National Park

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 8 reviews

I went on the Carara National Park and Tárcoles River Tour, from San José. The experience exceeded expectations by miles, Oropopo were streaks ahead of any other tour operator that I used here. I was picked up by Rigo, from my hotel, in a Land Cruiser rather than cramped minibus. The group was very small, making us more nimble. Rigo is a fantastic guide. It was a privilege to be experiencing nature and being advised by such a qualified biologist. His English is perfect, and he was good fun. The Carara National Park was lovely and quiet, in contrast to the absolutely packed Manuel Antonio National Park. There may be less of the big mammals here, but there's fascinating stuff to see. We were lucky to see a pair of fantastic scarlet macaws. The river tour was an incredible experience. It is an extensive tour, going up and down the river and then into mangroves. You'll see lots of huge crocodiles, very close up. The bird life is also spectacular. The guide on the boat was entertaining

This is an amazing tour and I would highly recommend!! :) Carara National Park and the Tarcoles River are both incredible places that are close to each other and not too far from San Jose. It was really nice to visit the Tarcoles bridge and the beach too! :) Rigo was a fantastic and kind guide. As a trained and experienced biologist he was passionate to share his brilliant knowledge to help me fully understand the fauna and flora of the forests and the Tarcoles wetlands and mangrove forests. In Carara I saw many birds including Toucans, Maccaws and Hummingbirds. I also saw frogs, agouti and other awesome wildlife and Rigo helped me observe with a great camera! :) The Tarcoles River Tour is fantastic. There are many crocodiles there and so many different birds, including Kingfishers, Pelicans and other sea-birds and birds of prey. The guides there help you to observe everything with their expertise. The mangroves and coast are beautiful!! I had a brilliant day! :)

Excellent day tour from San jose, the tour starts with the crocodile boat ride, it is an experience that will stay with you for years. You get to see many crocodiles in the Tarcoles river along with a very knowledgeable guide that thoroughly explains the different habitats, crocodiles and birds that live in and near the river. Rigo then takes you to Carara National park and slowly guides you through the park pointing out various insects, lizards, toads and monkeys that you will encounter overall this was one of the best tours from San Jose that I took during my time in Costa Rica

this was a fantastic trip. Rigo was a fantastic and welcoming guide. Very accommodating. I saw so many animals, flocks of red macaws, crocodiles, poison dart frogs, just to name a few. I will be recommending this trip to friends and family. Thank you!

We could see a lot of animal species and get very close to the crocodiles by boat