Life has been hectic for the past week, but I’ve finally found some time to dedicate to the blog. It has been incessantly pouring here in the Central Valley and there has been much flooding which is common. What is not common is to see a river suddenly surge. Downriver from the river we visited in one of our posts “A Waterfall Paradise”, a sudden river surge swept a bridge away that connects the Central Valley to the San Carlos plains. This area suffered a major earthquake several years ago and I feel the river’s surge had something to do with it. The people of this area depend on tourism and with all these catastrophes, they have been seriously affected economically.
We visited Carara National Forest about a month and a half ago, before the serious rains set in. Many people pass the forest on their way to Jaco Beach or Manuel Antonio. It’s about a kilometer after the Tarcoles River bridge, whose crocodiles have been featured in several documentaries and everyone stops to gaze on them from the bridge. Not many people visit this forest, but it’s been one of our favorites due to the animals we saw. One word of caution; be prepared to sweat, it’s hot!
I have often wondered what people think when we visit these places, due to the comments they make like “Oh, you did it.” I guess I don´t look like your typical nature lover. I guess we sometimes surprise people with our willingness to adventure and explore. The truth is I love being in touch with nature, but at the end of the day I need a decent room and bed to sleep in. But life wouldn’t be interesting if we weren’t willing to break out of our little bubble, would it?
Here are some tips when visiting Carara or most any rain forest in Costa Rica.
- Take sunblock and a hat
- Insect repellent is a must
- Take a raincoat, one of those cheap dollar ones that come in a small packet is most practical. In Carara it was so hot we didn’t use them, it would of been like being in a Turkish bath
- Most national forests give you a map upon entering, but some don’t. There are posted maps at the entrance of those parks who don’t give maps, so a iPod or phone with a camara is handy to take a picture of the map for reference.
- Wear closed shoes. You want to protect your feet from insects like ants etc.,poisonous plants, and snakes which are abundant and common here. Rubber boots are a good choice.
- Stay on trails. It is not uncommon for people to get lost in forests here. The day before yesterday two people were rescued from the Braulio Carillo National Park after spending several days there, because the rescue teams couldn’t enter the park due to bad weather.
- It gets dark very quickly here, so plan accordingly. You don´t want to be stuck somewhere in the dark. Nightfall comes between 5:15 and 6:15 depending on the time of year.
- Binoculars are good to have to spot animals, birds, and orchids in trees.
Carara National Forest is handicapped accessible part of the trails have been cemented and do not have any grades to them. I could easily see a person in a wheelchair getting around. It’s a beautiful forest, Agoutis and Scarlett Macaws abound, so if your on your way to the Southern Pacific beaches I would recommend making a stop.