Located in the Pacific, in the margins Grande de Tárcoles river, southeast of Orotina City, province of Puntarenas. Created by the Executive Decree No. 8491-C of April 27, 1978. Has an extension of 4.700 hectares.
Carara is located in a transitional zone between the dry and humid forest of the Pacific region of Costa Rica and you can said that not other area protect the plants and animals resources present in this bio climate region.
Created to facilitate investigations, scientific studies, and environment education. This area is considering an excellent living laboratory in which you can study the structure and function of the tropical ecosystems and the relation between them.
Carara has several ecosystems like the cinagas, lagoons and gallery forests, secondary and primary. Stationers inundation of the Grande de Tárcoles River, in an area located north east of the reserve make the cinagas. These zones are rich in mosquito bird species, amphibians and reptiles associates with those environments. The lagoon occupies a big abandoned land of the Grande de Tárcoles River, measures 600mts long, 40mts wide and 2 mts deep. Is almost cover by water Lilly and others water plants.
In this environment are very common the reptiles species like the crocodile that measures up to 3mts long and water birds like the pink heron, needle ducks, the water rooster, the zambullidores piqipintos. The crocodiles are also very abundant an easy to observed in the Grande de Tarcoles River.
The gallery forests are found in the margins of the rivers, dense, tall and with less diversity of species. The spavel is the specie of this habitat. The secondary forests are located on lands used to be for agriculture activities, have a less diversity of flowers than the primary forests. The palma viscoyol, very thorny, formed pure rosebushes in this type of forest. The primary forests have the mayor part of the reserve. Located over lands of 20 up to 60 percent of slope, present a great diversity, several stratums. Some of the trees with great beauty, because of its size are the: espavel, the ceiba, the guanacaste, the gallinazo, tha guácimo colorado, the guayabón and the javillo, other species are the lechoso, the nazareno that produces a beatiful purple wood, the cristobal, the garlic, the rubber, the mora, the golden fruit and the ron ron.
The wild life is very abundant. You can notice the saíno, the sosa caballo, the martillo, the guatusa, the pizote, the racoon, the manigordo, the whiteface monkey, the sloth of two fingers, the tolomuco the deer and the four eyes fox. One of the favorite bird because of its beautiful plumage and because is en danger of extinct is the lapa roja. Other bird species are: the pavón, hummingbird, and the tucancillo. Some of the animal's species above mention are en danger of extinct.
Carara has several pre-columbine natives' occupations. The archeological studies has reported 15 archeological places that correspond to two occupations epochs: The Pavas Phase (300 year b.c & 300 years a.c) and the Cartago Phase (800 years & 1500 years a.c), with the agriculture as the base of living. From the second epoch you can notice places as: Carara that correspond to a rectangular base (6x4m), builder with river rocks and Lomas de Entierro that was a principal occupation during the pre-columbine epoch. Practiced a politic and economic domain in the low part of Tárcoles River.
The wild fires, the hunting and the financial and human resources are the principal problems of the reserve.