When driving to Costa Rica’s central and south Pacific coast from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), you pass Carara National Park. Located an hour west of SJO and a few km past Rio Tarcoles Bridge and its resident crocodiles below, Carara isn’t typically a stop on standard Costa Rica itineraries. It should be, though. Carara provides habitat for half of Costa Rica’s animal species. Half.

The park’s transitional forests offer the best of both worlds. Think “Goldilock’s zone” – not too sunny, not too cloudy, not too wet, not too dry. Just right.

During a recent one hour stop at Carara in the middle of the day (not the best time for animal activity), we observed scarlet macaws, green and black poison dart frogs, agouti, a two-toed sloth and a fer-de-lance. Carara is home to three of Costa Rica’s four monkey species, but they eluded us this time.

Are you thinking of a trip to Costa Rica? Contact one of our destination specialists for insider tips and suggested itineraries.

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