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Osa Peninsula / Corcovado

 

Corcovado National Park—the Amazon of Costa Rica—is the largest stronghold of Pacific coastline primary forest. Its 41,788 hectares encompass eight habitats, from mangrove swamp and jolillo palm grove to mountain forest. Because Corcovado Park is inundated with nearly 6 meters(20ft) of rain a year, it is known as a“tropical wet forest.” The park protects more than 400 species of birds (20 are endemic), 116 of amphibians and reptiles, and 139 of mammals—representing 10 % of the mammals in the Americas. Its healthy population of scarlet macaws is the largest concentration in Central America. You can expect to see large flocks of macaws in flight tor feeding on almond trees by the shoreline. Corcovado is a good place to spot the red-eyed tree frog (listen for his single-notemating “cluck”), the glass frog with its transparent skin, and enamel-bright poison-arrow frogs. And you can watch fishing bats. Corcovado is one of only two places in the country that harbor squirrel monkeys (the other is Manuel Antonio). It’s also one of the last stands in the world for the harpy eagle. Four species of sea turtles—green, pacific riddle, hawksbill, and leather back—nest on the park’s beaches. And the park supports a healthy population of tapirs and big cats, which like to hang around the periphery of the Corcovado Lagoon. Jaguar paw prints are commonly seen in the mud trails, and the cats are often sighted. (The park’s mammal population—notably peccaries—is under intense pressure from illegal hunters).


 

 

Park Attractions:

Corcovado National Park Costa Rica. Within the park is the drainage of Corcovado Basin, a broad sediment-filled oceanic embayment between Punta Llorona and Punta Río Claro (near Sirena), which extends inland from the Pacific Ocean 2-10 km eastward. The basin’s low plain is dominated by creeks and meandering rivers, and is rimmed except to the west by uplands, which increase in altitude and irregular relief from an undulating plateau in the northwest part of the park (north of Llorona), to 2,444 feet in the southeast on the peninsula’s highest cerros, Rincón and Mueller.

 

 

The rugged uplands, produced by intensive tectonic activity and weathering (including frequent landslides), are dominated almost throughout by eroded narrow ridges and long steep slopes, with dense drainage networks.
Corcovado National Park Costa Rica. A virtually uninterrupted sandy beach extends for 20 km, with cliffs and pocket beaches at the northern and southern park headlands; there is a marine cave near the southern point. Up to ten tremors a day sometimes occur in the region, and crustal elevations have been observed.

The park protects various threatened plant and animal species, and is known to have about 124 species of mammals (over 50 bats); 375 species of birds (perhaps 5-8 endemics); 117 species of reptiles and amphibians (2 crocodilians, 4 sea turtles); 66 freshwater fish species; and 70 species of marine crabs. Among the mammals are 4 monkey species (e.g. Central American squirrel monkey, white-faced capuchin), anteaters, sloths, southern river otter, crab-eating raccoon, 5-6 cat species (e.g. ocelot, margay, jaguar), peccaries and Baird’s tapir.

The Rangers Stations

The park has three entry points: La Leona, on the southeast corner near Carate; Los Patos, on the northern perimeter; and San Pedrillo, at the northwest corner, 18 km south of Drake Bay. You can hike or fly into the park headquarters at Sirena, midway between La Leona and San Pedrillo. All are linked by trails. Entrance fees are $10 each day. The park is administered through the Osa Conservation Area headquarters in Puerto Jimenez.

Hiking trails

Corcovado has a well-developed trail system, though the trails are primitive. Several short trails (two to six hours) make for rewarding half- or full-day hikes. Longer trails grant an in-depth backpacking experience in the rainforest. Allow about three days to hike from one end of the park to the other. It can be hot and sweaty. Horseflies and mosquitoes can be a pain in the butt. From La Leona, it’s 21 km to Sirena, following the beach for most of the way. Allow up to eight hours. Beyond Salsipuedes Point, the trail cuts in land through the rainforest. Don’ttry this at high tide: you must cross some rocky points that are cut off by high tide.Consult a tide table before you arrives. The hike from La Leona to the Madrigal waterfalls particularly recommended, but few local guides will take you.

La Leona Station

Close to La Leona Station there are La Leona Eco Lodge Tent Camp to spend the night.La Leona Lodge has a restaurant. There is a trail going from La Leona Operating Centerto Sirena Biological Station. This trail is about 21 km long that takes 6 hours to walk. You have to take tides into account when following this trail, because you need low tide to be able to cross without problems. If you are going to take this hike, you should report it in advance to the Osa Peninsula office.

From Sirena Biological Trails, a trail leads northeast to Los Patos via Corcovado Lagoon.Another trail—only possible at low tide (notleast because sharks, mostly hammerheads,like to come up the river mouths in the hours immediately before and after high tide)—leads to the San Pedrillo Ranger Station (25 km). There are three rivers to wade. Thetrick is to reach the Río Sirena and slightly shallower Ríos Llorona before the water isthigh-deep. Here, watch for the crocodiles upstream. Halfway, the trail winds steeply intothe rainforest and is often slippery—good shoes are essential. The last three kilometersare along the beach. The full-day hike takes you past La Llorona, a 30-meter-highwaterfall that cascades spectacularly onto the beach. From San Pedrillo, you can continueanother 10 km to Drake Bay and Marenco Beachfront and Resort Lodge. Tapirs are saidto come down to the beach around sunrise, but you must remain silent at all times, asthe animals are timid and may never return once scared away.

 Sirena Biological Station

The Sirena Station is a pleasant place to spend at least a couple of days. There are trails into the forest and along the beach. The Sirena beach is a high energy beach with rip currents and bull sharks. The Sirena River is home to a population of crocodiles and due to its brackish water, bull sharks and sting rays can be found there. Swimming is not advised. However, you can swim in the Claro River.

Rio Sirena Trail:
Flat terrain. The trail measures 1 km. It goes through a second-growth forest that has been regenerating for approximately 20 years.

Rio Pavo Trail:
Flat terrain. The trail measures 3 km and leads to Los Patos Station. Los Patos Station has a camping area. From Los Patos Station there is a way out to the highway, walking two hours and a half. On this trail you can see a regenerating second-growth forest.

Guanacaste Trail:
Flat terrain. The trail is 2 km long and takes about 1 hour to walk it. This trail joins Sirena and Rio Pavo Trails. One of its major attractions is the earpod tree (guanacaste).

Espaveles Trail:
Flat terrain. This is a self-guided trail with interpretative signs along the way and is about 2 km long. Research findings state there are over 14 species per hectare in this sector.

There are other trails, such as Ollas, Rio Claro, and Los Naranjos, going through more rugged terrain.
From Los Patos Trail, the trail south climbs steeply for 6 km before flattening out for thefinal 14 km to the Sirena Research Station. The trail is well marked but narrow,overgrown in parts, and has several river crossings where it is easy to lose the trail onthe other side. You must wade. Be especially careful in rainy season, when you may find yourself hip-deep. There are three small shelters en route. A side trail will take you to Corcovado Lagoon. Allow up to eight hours. Another trail leads from Los Patos to Los Planes.

San Pedrillo Station

From Sirena-San Pedrillo Trail:
It is a restricted access trail. It is only open December through April. It is a strenuous trail and people who follow it must bring their own water and food. No camping is allowed along the way. The trail measures about 25 km and requires some 8 to 10 hours walking. There is a camping area at this point. Trails in the San Pedrillo Sector go through theforest near the ocean. These campgrounds and trails are especially good for bird watching and sighting different species of mammals unique to Costa Rica.

Catarata Trail:
The hike ends in a refreshing waterfall. It is a circular trail measuring 2 km in length. It takes approximately 1 hour to walk it.

Pargo Trail:
This hike goes through the forest, bordering several rivers. It measures 3 km and it takesapproximately 2 hours walking.

Las Marias Trail:
Special for bird watching and sighting smaller mammal species. It ends in La Lloronawaterfall. It measures 10 km and you need between 4 and 5 hours to walk it.Safety Concerns: Beware riptides: swim only where rangers or your guide advice it maybe safe. Sharks reportedly cruise the inshore waters, though there are no recordedincidents of unprovoked attacks here. And crocodiles inhabit the estuaries of the RíoClaro and Río Sirena; if crossing either river, do so as far upriver as possible. Corcovadoalso has a large population of peccaries, a massive-necked razor-backed hog that growsto the size of a large hound.

 Getting into the Park

One of Corcovado’s blessings is its inaccessibility. It is a park only for those naturalists and visitors who are prepared to make a considerable commitment in time and energy. Travel to the south of the country on the Interamerican highway, 180 miles from San Jose, Costa Rica until Chacarita. The Rio Rincon crossroad is 20 miles past Chacarita.From this crossroad the west branch will take you to Drake (20 miles), and the south branch will take you to La Palma (3 miles) and then Puerto Jimenez (25 miles past LaPalma).It is also possible to reach San Pedrillo Station by taking a boat from the town of Sierpe,through Drake Bay to Corcovado National Park.Also you can take a plan from san Jose to Puerto Jimenez or Drake Bay. And afterarriving take your next small plane to biological station Sirena. Charter flights can bearranged which land at the airstrip at Sirena Biological Station. You can charter an airtaxi to fly you to Sirena from Puerto Jimenez (USD$ 350 – 4 passengers).
Boats from Puerto Jimenez and Drake Bay will take you to either San Pedrillo or Sirena usd$180- 8 passengers.

Driving Directions

Travel to the south of the country on the Interamerican highway, 180 miles from San Jose, Costa Rica until Chacarita. The Rio Rincon crossroad is 20 miles past Chacarita. From this crossroad the west branch will take you to Drake (20 miles), and the south branch will take you to La Palma (3 miles) and then Puerto Jimenez (25 miles past La Palma), check our costa rica rental car info.It is also possible to reach San Pedrillo Station by taking a boat from the town of Sierpe, through Drake Bay to Corcovado National Park.

Charter flights can be arranged which land at the airstrip at Sirena Biological Station contact us for information:  info@osatravel.com

By flights from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez or Drake Bay, with nature air or Sansa as well check our domestic flights for prices and itinerary or send email for more info. Domestic’s flights info

Guided Eco Tours into Corcovado