Corcovado National Park

Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.

 

Understand

While the park is one of the more remote in the national park system, Corcovado provides excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

History

The park was established on October 24, 1974.

Flora and fauna

National Geographic called Corcovado National Park the “most biologically intense place on Earth” and this is no exaggeration. All four of the monkeys species found within Costa Rica (Mantled Howler, Squirrel Monkey, Spider Monkey and White-faced Capuchin) exist in large numbers throughout the park. Two crocodilians (the occasionally large and saline tolerant American Crocodile and the small Spectacled Caiman) persist within all of the park’s major waterways, as do Bull sharks. The Jaguar population within the park is the healthiest in all of Central America, however it is still extremely unlikely for a visitor to spot one (most locals have never seen them either.) Many other elusive cats call the park home as well, including the Puma (which is slightly smaller and more arboreal in Central American than in the United States, probably due to competition with the Jaguar,) Ocelot, Jaguarundi and Margay. The park is one of the last strongholds of the Baird’s Tapir and there are hundreds within decent proximity from Sirena Station, usually found lounging in the shade or in shallow pools of stagnant water. There are dozens of snake species present, many of them venomous, including the Fer-de-lance (also known as terciopelo or “Costa Rican landmine”,) the Bushmaster, the Eyelash Pit Viper, and the Coral Snake. The largest snake within the park is the non-venomous Boa Constrictor. Numerous other small mammals and reptiles are common within the park including, but by no means limited to, the White-nosed Coati, Sloth, Tamandua, Giant Anteater, Basilisk, and Ctenosaur. Birds include the highly endangered Scarlet Macaw, the Tiger Heron, Black Vulture and the Chestnut-Mandibled Toucan, among hundreds of others including the critically endangered Harpy Eagle.

Climate

Dry season. Running from mid-December until mid-April with occasional rain showers.
Wet season. Running mid-April until mid-December.

Get in

Travel to and through the park is perilous and is best accomplished during the dry season.
Agujitas (Drake Bay) lies on the north side of the park and provides entrance and easy access to its trails.

Fees/Permits

Permits must be reserved in advance. You must have a permit to stay overnight at Sirena. The park no longer allows overnight or day hikers to enter the park without a reservation permit. Sirena is the only ranger station that offers dormitory lodging and hot meals in addition to camping. La Leona and San Pedrillo offer only camping with no food service. It is possible to secure park permits directly from the Ranger Station in Puerto Jiménez, but they do not accept credit cards, so it requires visiting Banco Nacional in Puerto Jimenez to make the payment. Many travel agents and guides can assist in securing your park reservations if you need assistance. Note that the Park Service (MINAE) does not issue park permits more than one month in advance of anticipated arrival. You can contact the park office directly by email: pncorcovado@gmail.com
Fees as of 2014 for non-Costa Rican’s (not including guide services or transportation to and from the park) are:
Entrance: $10 per day per person, $1 for children under 12.
Dorm Bed: $8 per night per person
Camping: $4 per night per person
Breakfast: $20 per person
Lunch: $25 per person
Dinner: $25 per person

Get around

Trails[edit]
Carate to La Leona. 3.5km hike along the beach.
La Leona to La Sirena. The 16km long hike to La Leona is on a trail which is on and off the beach. It is imperative that visitors time the hike so as to arrive at the river fording 2 km shy of La Sirena at the lowest possible tide. There is potable water at a stream “Quebrada la Chancha” (Chancha Stream) just east of “Ponta La Chancha” (Chancha Point).
Los Patos to La Sirena. This 20km hike is approximately eight hours through secondary rainforest. The trail slopes slightly down toward La Sirena.
San Pedrillo to La Sirena. This 29km hike is approximately thirteen or fourteen hours and is almost entirely along the beach. After the dry season of 2009 it will be closed.
Drake to San Pedrillo. This trail is outside of the park and leads to its entrance. The hike is approximately six hours along the beach and just inside the forest.
There are several short trails in and around Sirena
Ria Clero
Espaveles
Naranjos
Guanaenste
Ollas Corcovado

 

See

Wildlife. The park is home to:
Over 350 species of birds including Scarlet Macaws .
116 types of amphibians and reptiles including poison dart frogs.
139 mammals, including Tapirs, Squirrel Monkeys, and large cats such as Puma and Jaguar.
Natural Beauty:
Natural rock formations.
Waterfalls.
Beaches.
Rivers.
Rainforest. It grows reaches right up to the oceans.

Must Do

Visit La Sirena. In fact it is recommended that you spend as much time as possible here since it makes a good central base for exploring the park. It is located 20km from each entrance.
Take pictures. Take as many as possible so as to enjoy the beauty long after you have left.
Kayak. Ask the locals for a kayak ride through the rainforest.
Hire a guide. The guides know the animals’ habits and are able to tell you where the tapirs normal routes are. However, be sure to also make sure to take the time to explore on your own.

The reason Corcovado is so amazing is because it has been so remote and a conscious decision to keep it beautiful is required.

Carry out all trash and waste and leave no trace.
Please pick up any trash you see that was left inside the park.
Encourage others to do the same.