The Cariari National Wetlands encompass 817 hectares or 2,020 acres, located at sea level. The freshwater streams and rivers are met by the sea water, which creates an ideal environment for diverse wildlife and marine life to thrive. The trees in this area are a main attraction for visitors, especially the Pachira aquatica and pacay or ice cream bean (Inga feuilleei). There are maintained hiking trails through the wetlands, and private boat tours can be arranged as well. In order to access the wetlands, visitors must take a path that begins at the Tortuguero canals.
Manatees have been known to frequent the Cariari National Wetlands. Monkeys, sloths, crocodiles and many birds including the roseate spoonbill and toucans can be found in this area.
The Cariari National Wetlands are managed by the government of Costa Rica. It is open 7 days a week. There are no park facilities or entrance fees. The closest towns with hotels are Parismina and Tortuguero.
More about the Cariari Wetlands
According to the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR), the Cariari Wetlands include valuable ecosystems that remain almost unexplored and are some of the last sites of refuge for endangered species such as the manatee.
At a glance
Closest town: Tortuguero
Size in hectares: 817 (2,019 acres)
Year established: 1994
Elevation in meters: sea level
Private managed: no
Government managed: yes
Rangers station: no
Overnight facilities: no
Public restrooms: no
Entrance fee: free
Hiking trails: no
Boat tours: yes
Average temperature range in Fahrenheit: 70 - 90
Average yearly precipitation in millimeters: 6,000
Habitat: mangrove, river
How to get to there
The nearby towns of Parismina and Tortuguero can only be accessed by boat or plane. Parismina is located at the mouth of the Parismina river, about half way between Tortuguero and Limon on the Tortuguero canals. The wetlands are located just south of Parismina. To get to Parismina, you can take a water taxi or private boat from Cano Blanco to Parismina. Cano Blanco is accessible by car, bus or taxi (via Siquirres). Alternately, boats may be taken from the port city of Moin (just north of Limon) following the canals north to Parismina.
Weather and packing list
The weather in the Cariari National Wetlands can be hot and steamy. Temperatures remain the same nearly year round with average daytime highs in the low 90s and overnight lows in the upper 70s. With an average of over 600 centimeters of rain annually, you should be prepared for rain. The driest months to visit the wetlands are February, March, August, September and October.
Visitors should pack a bathing suit, towel, shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block, and insect repellent.
Fun Fact: Manatees have been known to frequent the Cariari National Wetlands.