Only 88 kilometers (55 miles) from San Jose, the capital city, you can find the Carara Biological Reserve, in the Puntarenas province. Carara is an oasis of freshness and greenery. It is the perfect habitat for the flora and the abundant fauna. The Carara Biological Reserves is located in the transitional zone between the dry and humid forests of the Pacific region of Costa Rica. It is an uncultivated area formed of 4,700 hectares, chosen in 1978 to be protected for the resources of flora and fauna present in this bio-climatic region.
The path will transport you to another world, a world full of life that will permit you to become familiar with the abundance of plants and animals. In Carara are three distinct life zones: the transition: tropical humid transition forest; very humid tropical forest and the pre-mountain, very humid forest with its basal transition.
Carara is equal to a rectangular foundation (six by four meters) made of river rock and lime rock. Some areas of the Carara Biological Reserve were a native cemetery of approximately six hectares, in which one observes a pronounced Meso-American and Central Atlantic influence.
Archaeological studies have located, at present, fifteen archeological sites that correspond to two eras of occupation: the Pavas phase (300 B.C. to 300 A.D.) and the Cartago phase (800 A.D. to 1500 A.D.) with agriculture as the subsistence base.
Flora and Fauna
Traveling the road that takes you through this marvelous zone, allowing you to contemplate the dense and complex vegetation (more than 750 species of plants) you will be surprised by the most fantastic events.
Your eyes can be filled with the greenness at the admiring of an imposing Guanacaste tree (Enterolobium cyclorarpum), or a guarumo tree (Cecropis) that gives shelter to of the scarce two toed sloths, as do the trees of more valuable wood such as the cristobal (Platymiscium pinnatum), the nazareno (Peltogyne purpureal) and the pochote (Bombacopsis quinatum), as well as the thousands of cultivated flowers of the zone.
The immovable lizards that live on the banks of Rio Grande de Tarcoles, the white-faced monkeys (Cebus Capucius) that jump from branch to branch to exchange glances, the humming birds (Amazilia Izacalt) that let loose to fly without rest as if to indicate to the tourist that life is dynamite, an inexhaustible cycle of energy; are only the more easily observed species.
In the land of butterflies, you cannot miss the butterflies that with their undulation, flavor and color invite you in their particular style to wander through the forest and they become natural guides of the environmental magic.
Following the river bank, the visitor is witness to the aquatic fauna concentrated in the lake and the swamps.
The cry of the lapas is a defiant challenge to which tourist friend pays attention and attempts to search them out in the canopy of the forest. Suddenly, like a blessing, you are able to observe a flock of these incredible creatures that cut through the sky, navigating two by two. Like this, the panorama is seen painted in red, blue and yellow. With their brilliant colors, they appear to be a perfect diamond broach in the firmament.
Consequently, with an average annual temperature of 27ºC (80.6ºF), the tropical forest is a place full of secrets that at times clarify themselves when a strong downpour refreshes all of the greenness of the zone and the gigantic drops of water filter between the cups of the trees, producing a magical scene for the moment in which all is perfect.