Corcovado National Park
Famously named as one of the most biologically diverse places in the world by National Geographic, Corcovado National Park is one of the most important natural preserves on this planet.
If You’re Lucky, You’ll See:
- Baird’s tapirs
- One of wild cat species (Jaguar, puma, ocelot, margay and jaguarundi)
- All four species of monkey found in Costa Rica
- White tailed deer
- Large herds of white-lipped peccaries
- As many as 375 species of bird
- 140 species of mammal
- 117 species of amphibian or reptile
- 40 types of freshwater fish
- more than 10,000 insect species
- 700+ tree species
The incomparable Corcovado National Park has a wealth of wildlife that is so accustomed to human proximity that it is a commonplace to see large animals up close, peccaries, tapirs, even pumas during visits into the park. It was created in the year 1975 and, measuring 44,484 terrestrial acres in size, it accounts for one third of the Osa Peninsula. Since February 2015 visitors must be accompanied by a guide, so this has made it more costly to visit the park. Nevertheless, it should be at the top of most visitors’ bucket lists after exploring the Golfo Dulce.
If you only have time for a day visit, we organize this for you to Dos Brazos, Los Patos, La Leona, San Pedrillo or Sirena ranger stations. If you have a bit more time, a 3 day 2 night trip is a must where you get to sleep right in the heart of the park. No matter which option you choose, remember that the experience is somewhat gruelling. You should be in good physical condition or pass on this. Be sure to bring a hat, plenty of water, proper footwear, and insect repellent.
Waterfalls and beaches, birds and mammals, orchids and sea turtles, Corcovado has it all. The plant and wildlife diversity is mind-boggling. There are 13 distinct vegetation types and more than 25 distinct ecosystems in Corcovado supporting endangered plant and animal species, some of which are not found anywhere else in the world. Corcovado is most famous for its large population of Scarlet Macaws, for its pristine forests and unusually high level of biodiversity.
What to Wear: comfortable hiking clothing (quick dry is best), sunscreen (please use reef friendly products like Reef Friendly Sun Block: SPF 30 or SPF 45+), water sandals or flip flops for beach landing.
What to Bring: Closed-toed hiking shoes or rubber boots w knee socks so the boots don’t rub your calf where they end (rubber boots are as much for safety as for muddy conditions), bathing suit, Sunscreen, hat, towel, sunglasses, insect repellent (PLEASE USE ECO FRIENDLY products), seasick medicine, bottle of water and snacks, binoculars, camera (with protective plastic bag) and a raincoat / poncho. Please always apply insect repellent away from other people) bathing suit, Sunscreen, hat, towel, sunglasses, insect repellent (PLEASE USE ECO FRIENDLY products), seasick medicine, bottle of water and snacks, binoculars, camera (with protective plastic bag) and a raincoat / poncho. Please always apply insect repellent away from other people.
There are five main ranger stations in the park, of which we can arrange single and multi-day excursions to all:
- San Pedrillo – The northern most station; Take a boat from Drake Bay or Sierpe.
- Sirena – park headquarters located about one hour from Drake bay by boat
- La Leona – the southern entrance to the park near Carate, about 2+ hours from Puerto Jimenez by land
- Los Patos – the eastern inland entrance, a 45 minute drive from La Palma
- El Tigre – the newest station open to the public, this check point is located about 20 minute drive from Puerto Jimenez.
San Pedrillo Ranger Station:
This is the northern most station and is popular with visitors coming from Drake Bay and Sierpe for day trips by boat or foot. It is a 4-6 hour hike from Drake Bay to the San Pedrillo ranger station, mostly along the beach (forest from Drake to Punto Marenco, then beach to the station).
Sirena Ranger Station:
Sirena is the heart of Corcovado National Park, nestled in the middle of the park along the coast, south from the San Pedrillo station near the beach. It is only reachable by boat, plane or by foot trails. There are no roads into Sirena. Since this station is less accessible, there is greater opportunity to spot some of the rarest rainforest wildlife, including tapir and peccary.
La Leona Ranger Station:
This is the southern most station and is popular with visitors coming from Puerto Jimenez, Matapalo and Carate. It is a 3.5km walk along the beach (or a forest trail) from Carate to the La Leona Station.
Los Patos Ranger Station:
The Los Patos Station is the eastern entrance to the park accessed from La Palma, the closest town on that end of the park. If you decide to give a car ride a miss, it is a wet three-hour walk from La Palma to the ranger station, as you cross the Rincon River many times.
The area is heavily forested with primary, old growth trees and is the highest in elevation with pre-montane and cloud forests.
The newest station open to the public, this check point is run by the local El Tigre village community and located about 20 minutes drive from Puerto Jimenez.