From San José: Carara National Park and Tárcoles River Tour

Activity provider: Oropopo Experience

From San José: Carara National Park and Tárcoles River Tour

Activity provider: Oropopo Experience

From US$ 140 per person

Discover the wildlife, waterways, and luscious jungle of the Tárcoles River, and the Carara National Park on a small-group or private full-day guided walking and boat journey.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Duration 11 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Live tour guide
Spanish, English
Pickup included
Depending on your hotel's location, please be in your hotel lobby 15 minutes before the activity start time.
Wheelchair accessible
Private or small groups available


  • Be amazed by the large American crocodiles living in the Tárcoles River
  • Admire and learn about the Carara National Park's rainforest's biodiversity
  • Experience the best birdwatching destination just 1.5 hours from San José
  • Enjoy a relaxing boat ride through the mangrove forest
  • Enjoy the soothing sound of waves and dip your feet in the Pacific
Full description
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 optional 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 white 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.
  • Small-group or private tour
  • Biologist or naturalist certified guide
  • Optical equipment (binoculars or telescope)
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Transportation to the destination
  • Entrance fee to the Carara National Park (about $12 per adult)
  • Lunch (around $8 - $13 per person)
  • Boat ride ($28)
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned
Traveler requirements
  • You are required to bring and wear a mask

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Important information

What to bring

  • Credit card
  • Hiking shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Water
  • Insect repellent
  • Cash
  • Weather-appropriate clothing

Know before you go

  • The tour takes place rain or shine
Customer reviews

Overall rating

5 /5

based on 8 reviews

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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

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July 30, 2022

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! :)

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March 22, 2022

This was an AMAZING adventure with my guide YEPO (Jose Pablo), he was extremely knowledgeable, had a great instict for spotting wildlife and went completely out of the way to provide us a unique experience. First time in the morning we bought some seasonal fruits at a local market, then we went hiking to CARARA NATIONAL PARK where we saw monkeys, frogs, lizards, dozens of plants and mushrooms and for every organism Yepo had a wonderful story to tell. Then we had a small picninc at the beach where we finally ate the fruits he got for us (god bless the tropics!) And finally after having lunch we went for a very calm but informative and scenic boat ride through the Tarcole River where Yepo showed us a handful of colorful birds and HUGE crocodiles. My favorite was Shakira! Thank you Yepo for this wonderful day, god bless

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July 17, 2021

Product ID: 344696