Scarlet Macaws in Carara National Park

Carara National Park is a perfect place to see wildlife in their natural habitat, especially gorgeous scarlet macaws. This park is rather s...

Carara National Park is a perfect place to see wildlife in their natural habitat, especially gorgeous scarlet macaws. This park is rather small yet almost half of Costa Rica's animal species call it home.
Carara National Park sees way fewer visitors than Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park or Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, which makes it a very good choice for those seeking a solitude and wanting to see wild animals up close. This park is located in a transition zone between dry and wet forests, so it's just right for so many creatures.
The park has a ranger station, spacious parking lot, a few picnic tables, potable water and clean restrooms. There is also an option to hire a tour guide.
You can easily spend a full day at Carara National Park. There are four hiking trails in total in two different parts of the park. Three loop trails are connected with each other like a chain while a forth linear trail is completely separate from the rest and offers a different experience. It takes to a lagoon on the Tarcoles River which is famous for its crocodiles. By the way, "Carara" in a language of native pre-Colombian indigenous people means "Lizard River". Unfortunately, we didn't have time for this trail as it usually takes 2 to 4 hours both ways.
There are many ant houses at the park, even the very big ones like on this picture. Each ant follows a specific trail which is marked with chemical pheromones by fellow mates to ensure that no ant gets lost. 
Not every tree is suitable for these ants. They pick a specific one, cut a piece of a leaf and carry it to the ant house. Underground, there are other ants that chew collected leafs and spit them out, so that a fungus, ant's food, can be produced. 
This Ceiba tree's buttress looks like a big lizard. 
Costa Rica's bananas grow naturally in the park.
Bare-throated tiger heron is wading in the water. 
The majority of the park's territory is covered with the primary forests (those with native trees and no visible signs of human intervention). 
We spotted a few couples of scarlet macaws (ara macao). They are gorgeous and intelligent birds, among the most beautiful ones on the Earth. A park's ranger told us that there are over 100 couples in the park. In dry months (December to April) they nest in the holes of the tall trees. Scarlet macaw is a very dedicated bird and mates for life.
Although these birds were flying high up in the tree tops, we noticed them because of their loud chirp. Thanks to conservation efforts in this park, the population of scarlet macaw grows slow but steady.
A primary forest is rich in vines.
A Wild Cashew is a typical tree in dry forests. It can become as high as 160 ft (50 m) with a diameter of 10 ft (3 m). Unlike its famous relative - a cashew apple tree, the seeds of a wild cashew are very toxic.
Carara National Park is a great stop for those driving from San Jose to Manuel Antonio. Not only can you stretch your legs, but also you have higher chances to see many wild animals including an iconic scarlet macaw in their natural habitat.
More volcanoes from Costa Rica next time. Stay tuned!

My other posts from Costa Rica:
Pure Life in Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio National Park - A Paradise on the Pacific Coast
Poás Volcano National Park
Hiking in Arenal Volcano National Park
2-in-1: Zoo and Nature Park in Costa Rica
Tenorio Volcano and Celeste River
Monteverde Cloud Forest
Tortuga Island - More Than Just A Tropical Beach

You Might Also Like