What’s the difference between a Cara Cara Orange and a Navel Orange?

By: Pittman & Davis | On: | Category: Uncategorized

Genus citrus from the flowering family Rutaceae is one of the few taxonomic groups where mutation is a common thing. Genetically mutated fruit or bud sports appear and show characteristics that are different compared to the rest of the tree.

The same is true for Cara Cara Oranges – a hybrid mutation between the Washington and Brazilian Bahia navel oranges. It was discovered in 1976 at Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela growing on a Washington Navel Orange tree.


Before we talk about their differences let us first discuss the similarities between the sweet navel orange and Cara Cara oranges.

  • Outside Appearance – when you buy Cara Cara oranges you will immediately notice the “Navel-like” formation on their blossom end which is the same for all navels. Aside from their tell-tale characteristic, regular Navel fruit and Cara Cara Texas fruits are round and have the same bright-orange, slightly thick skin that is fairly easy to peel.
  • Scent – all fresh navel oranges, no matter which variety, emit a refreshing combination of citrus and floral scent that is pleasing and appealing.
  • Seedless – navel oranges, including the Cara Cara orange, are perfect eating oranges due to their sweet, seedless flesh.


Their similarities end with their outside appearance and scent; cut them open and you will see a world of difference in appearance and taste.

  • Size – navel orange size differ in that they range from medium to large, while Cara Cara oranges are typically medium-sized fruits.
  • Inner Flesh – orange navel has the typical sweet and juicy orange-colored flesh while Cara Cara oranges have beautifully distinct pinkish-red flesh which earned them the name red navel orange.
  • Taste – traditional navel oranges are prized for their supremely sweet flavor. Cara Cara or  “red navels” on the other hand are sweeter, less acidic with a tinge of tang and a hint of cranberry or blackberry overtones.

If you have never had them and are wondering where to buy Cara Cara oranges you can get them from a grower’s market, some local grocers, or buy them online. Make sure that when you buy Cara Cara oranges online, to get them from a credible and trustworthy orchard and shipping company to ensure that you will get premium, fresh citrus, and fully enjoy the awesome goodness of Cara Cara oranges. Furthermore, make sure to get them while they are in peak season from December to May.

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