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Carara is one of Costa Rica's most popular national parks. Located two hours drive from the national capital (San Jose) and 20 kilometers south of Orotina city, it covers an area of only 52 km2. Carara was founded in April 1978, initially as Carara Biological Reserve. Years later, in 1998, it changed status to become Carara National Park. In Huetar (indigenous language), Carara means crocodile. It is at this park that many cruise ship passengers are brought for a one-day excursion. Because of its strategic location, the park is easily accessible.
If you like to observe animals, it is an extremely diverse wildlife that awaits you. You will meet opossum, agouti, armadillo, great anteater, kinkajou, tayra, collared peccary, white-tailed deer, poison frogs, monkeys and many more. Furthermore, if you are an ornithologist, happy will you be when you’ll see: Collared Aracari, American Egret, Great Tinamou, Turkey Vulture, Brown-backed Antbird, Black Hooded Antshrike, Butcher's Darter, Anhinga, Jacanas, Grebes variegated billfish, herons and many others. If on the other hand you have a penchant for the flora, you can observe some of the endemic species of the country, such as Cafecillo (erythrochiton gymnanthus). This will also give you the opportunity to see the Guanacaste, ten of the country's rarest hardwoods and other large trees, including those often covered with vines and epiphytes.
Although the best time to visit the park is during the dry season (December to April)- the temperature oscillates between 25° and 28° Celsius, your visit will be at its best if you go there in March or April, because there is little or no rain. When you’ll walk in the forests, do not forget to bring an ecological mosquito repellent and wear long trousers. From May to November, the park is open daily from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and from December to April, 7:00 am to 4:00 pm.
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