Tree on a rock with tunnel and palms in the wild coast of the Pacific Ocean at La Llorona,Corcovado National Park,Costa Rica, RM
Juan Carlos Zamarreño/© Juan Carlos Zamarreño
It’s not just the country’s largest national park: The 417-square-kilometer (161-square-mile) Corcovado National Park could be described as Costa Rica’s Amazon given its remarkable biodiversity. The trees here can soar higher than 75 meters (246 feet) in a rain forest filled with monkeys and macaws. As your ship sails along the west coast of the Osa Peninsula, you’ll see Corcovado’s endless deserted beaches, where olive ridley, leatherback, hawksbill and green turtles come to nest—and where jaguars and ocelots come to steal their eggs.
Nature's Finest: Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park, in my opinion, is Costa Rica‘s number one highlight. Nothing can prepare you for this remarkable experience in the tropical rainforest. Don’t let the complexity of getting there steer you away. It’s all part of the adventure. Trust me, you will not regret it. I accessed Corcovado National Park via Drake Bay, where I joined a small group of 8, and we set out with Roy -- a very friendly local guide who is also a biologist. From Drake Bay, the scenic boat ride is approximately 1 hour. If you’re lucky, you might spot some whales and dolphins on the way! There are different entrance points to the park such as San Pedrillo, Los Patos, and La Leona, but this tour was only exploring the areas around La Sirena. When our boat pulled up to the pristine coastline, my heart sank, and I was immediately hooked. Roy, being an expert of the park, brought along his telescope and we began our journey. He was great at pointing out animals we would’ve never seen unless he was there. And, if something was too far, he would quickly set up his telescope and let us all peek through. My picture represents one of the great moments we saw through his lens. Can you spot the crocodile? The trek is about 5-6 hours long. Our guide spent every minute being patient and answered all our questions. It was a great learning experience, too! If you stay at Finca Maresia, ask for Roy! Just go, because none of the pictures will ever do it justice.
Everyday Adventures on the Osa
While most families head straight for the beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula or Central Pacific Coast, we took an inexpensive internal flight to Puerto Jimenez and the more wild and rugged southwestern shores of the Osa Peninsula. National Geographic declared it “the most biologically intense place on earth.” Visiting the pristine rain forest and its breadth and abundance of wildlife is spectacular, but requires some pretty heavy-duty trekking and serious camping, so it’s not for every family. You can still explore the area from the secluded Cabo Matapolo Beach which offers world-class surf and ample opportunities for rugged exploration and adventure right at our doorstep. Accommodations are also quite rustic and basic, the way life down here is meant to be. The owner of the cabin we rented, Andy Pruter, also runs Everyday Adventures, which gives a personalized tour of the area’s heavily forested coastline. The full package includes climbing 60 feet up a 400-year-old strangler fig tree called “The Cathedral”. The kids scaled it with ease while dad here had a slower go reliving one of every boy’s favorite childhood pastimes. It also includes the option of rappelling down a 100-foot waterfall. Although the water wasn’t running yet, we did it anyway, which proved a great accomplishment for father and sons alike.
Camping in Corcovado National Park
Camping in Corcovado National Park You would not believe, but this national park is a home to five percent of the world’s biodiversity. If you like peace and beautiful views, this national park might be the best one for you. The rainforest is truly breath taking and the park itself is placed away from the other touristic resorts. Sounds promising?! This park will surely stay in your memory forever!
A Day in Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park is the gem of all of Costa Rica. Primary and secondary rainforests grow as green and dense as bunches of broccoli and only give way for a narrow stretch of wild beachfront. Corcovado NP is dripping with (humidity!) and biodiversity. Expect to see Costa Rican wildlife everywhere! The park is home to 4 species of monkeys, sloths, wild cats, tapirs, crocodiles, peccaries, and anteaters, to name a few. Corcovado has a few different access points, none of which are all that easy to reach. Don’t let this deter you! You’ll have to work for your right to get to Corcovado but the experience will more than make-up for your efforts. You’ll need to get to one of the parks ranger stations on foot, by chartered plane, or by boat. The latter 2 are, of course, pricier, but money well-spent for nonhikers. No matter what, though, you’ll need a guide to enter Corcovado. If you’re traveling to Costa Rica and heading south to the Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park is a can’t miss.
Costa Rica’s Charismatic Capuchins
White-faced capuchin monkeys thrive in the rainforest national parks of Costa Rica, including Corcovado and Arenal—and are some of the most entertaining wild creatures to spot here. Daytime foragers, they can often be seen in small groups, darting and swinging among tree branches; mother monkeys move about with their sleeping babies slung like knapsacks across their backs. Beautiful wildlife photos are the best souvenirs to bring home from a trip to Costa Rica. To help you capture them, all Lindblad-National Geographic Costa Rica & Panama expeditions are accompanied by certified photo instructors.