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Costa Rica

Award-winning sustainable vacations away from the crowds

Let's create you an unforgettable trip on Costa Rica's quieter, wilder side. Meet more locals, see more wildlife and enjoy more time to immerse yourself in beautifully unspoilt landscapes.

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Carara National Park

This small national park of Pacific rainforest packs a large punch. Part of a wildlife corridor which effectively connects Central and South America, it's home to approximately 5% of Earth’s known bird species, along with monkeys and crocodiles aplenty...

Carara National Park
Carara is a rare Scarlet macaw stronghold

Carara’s location in the transition area between the tropical dry forests to the north in Guanacaste, and the wetter rainforests in the southwest of the country means that you’ll find trees and flowers typical of both the north and south. The swamps, lagoons and gallery forests complete the picture of diversity and the ideal habitat for some 300+ species of birds.

These include toucans, tinamous and jacanas, but most famously the scarlet macaws, of which Carara is one of their last refuges in Costa Rica. At dawn and dusk you have the best opportunities to spot the macaws, as they fly to and from the Tarcoles mangroves, where they roost overnight. On the mammal side, you might find monkeys, peccaries, possums and the wonderful two-toed sloth.

The common arrival of cruise ship visitors in the middle of the day mean that the park is best visited either early or late. In any case, these are the times you’re likely to see the most wildlife and gives you the balance of the day to visit your lodge’s cacao plantation and walk round it’s wonderful garden, rich with exotic flora.

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The sweeping forests of Carara National Park
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American crocodile on the banks of the Tarcoles Bridge

How to visit Carara National Park with Pura Aventura
Tucked away high above the forested hills of the Carara National Park, Macaw Lodge immediately feels special. Owner Pablo Gordienko has a passion for native plant species and crops so bought this great slice of forest in order to experiment with the reintroduction of plants.

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Your lodge here grows and makes its own chocolate

As he worked the land he noticed the sheer volume of birds surrounding him. From his imagination and ambition sprung a lodge built entirely from reclaimed and recycled materials.

It runs completely off grid so nothing is fancy. What you do get is an incredible sense of connection to nature, home-cooked meals with many ingredients sourced from the organic garden and some incredible chocolate.

The lodge grows its own cacao which it makes into chocolate in what is very, very much a cottage industry. Or shipping container industry, in this case. The beans are roasted in the wood-fired oven and ground by hand - even the bars of chocolate are hand- wrapped.

Pablo’s place fits snugly into any itinerary that weaves up the Pacific from the rainforests of the Osa Peninsula in the far south up to the quiet beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula.