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Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park Costa Rica
Attractions | The Region | When to Visit | Getting There | Books | Web | Hiking

The diversity found on the Osa peninsula is not significantly surpassed by any other region of similar size on earth.

Dendrobates auratus Poison arrow frog (photo ©freejunglepictures)
Dendrobates auratus Poison arrow frog (photo ©junglepictures)

Gary Hartshorn's enthusiasm was only surpassed by the forest's when he wrote in Costa Rican Natural History that "these forest are by far the most exuberant in Central America. In fact, the Corcovado forests are just as impressive in height as the best forests I have seen in the Amazon basin or the dipterocarp forests of Malaysia and Indonesia." He goes on to note "The Corcovado forests exemplify the popular conception of the tropical rain forest, with a multitude of species, very tall trees, spectacular buttresses, large woody lianas and abundant herbaceous vines. Daniel Janzen, the editor of the same volume speculated that the peninsula contained the complete tropical insect ecosystem from Mexico to Panama.

Rain frog (photo © R. Krueger-Koplin)
Rain frog (photo © R. Krueger-Koplin)

Attractions
Corcovado National Park is the backpacking experience of a lifetime. It encompases the only remaining old growth wet forests on the Pacific coast of Central America, and 13 major ecosystems including lowland rain forest, highland cloud forest, jolillo palm forest, and mangrove swamps, as well as costal marine and beach habitats. There is a good chance of spotting some of Costa Rica's shyest and most endangered inhabitants here; Baird's Tapirs, Jaguars, Scarlet Macaws, Harpy Eagles, Red-backed squirrel monkeys and White-lipped Peccaries. It is wet, remote and rugged, but the trails are relatively good, and the camping areas near the ranger stations are grassy and well drained.

Jaguar tracks on the beach near Sirena (photo © R. Krueger-Koplin)
Jaguar tracks on the beach near Sirena (photo © R. Krueger-Koplin)

If you have ever imagined yourself swimming up to a deserted golden sand beach lined with coconut palms, then rinsing off under a waterfall surrounded by the verdure of the rainforest. Then you'll find Corcovado's 23 miles (39 km) of beaches appealing. We walked 11 miles (18 km) of beach one day and saw one other person. Take care where you swim, there are areas where hammerhead sharks school (there has never been a reported attack), and crocodiles are common in Corcovado Lagoon and the estuaries of the Ríos Claro and Sirena.

Punta Salsipuedes west of Playa Madrigal (photo © S. Krueger-Koplin)
Punta Salsipuedes west of Playa Madrigal (photo © S. Krueger-Koplin)

In the region of Corcovado
Attractions | The Region | When to Visit
Getting There | Books | Web | Hiking

 

 

 

In the region:
As a ferry terminal and the end of the bus line, the town of Puerto Jimenez serves as an unofficial gateway to Corcovado. It has developed into a budget travelers haven, with a large number of inexpensive cabinas, restaurants, travel services and rental outlets. You can easily arrange for transportation into the park, as well as guide service, or a tour if you desire one. Bicycles, sea kayaks and horses are also available for rent or as part of a tour.

A patio restaurant in Puerto Jimenez (photo © R. Krueger-Koplin)
A restaurant patio in Puerto Jimenez (photo © R. Krueger-Koplin)


When to visit Corcovado Costa Rica
Attractions | The Region | When to Visit
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When to visit:
You will probably get wet whenever you visit Corcovado, but it's a sure bet August through November. If you will be camping, you probably want to try for the drier months of January through April. If you have the fortitude to withstand afternoon showers and a really good drenching or two, a visit during the rainy season will be rewarded with empty trails and better wildlife viewing in the absence of the crowds.


Books and other resources
Attractions | The Region | When to Visit
Getting There | Books | Web | Hiking

 

 

 

Resources
Books

Toucan Ratings Explained | Lowest Available Price
Why Buy from Us?

Costa Rican Natural HistoryCosta Rican Natural History
by Daniel H. Janzen (Editor), $US 33.48, Paperback, 816 pages, Publisher: University of Chicago Press, (November 1983), ISBN: 0226393348

The bible of Costa Rican plants, animals and insects. This is the one book you will find on the shelves of every research station, park, and preserve. Highly Recommended
rated five out of five toucans by Costa-Rica-Guide.com
$US 39.00 from Amazon -or-
Barnes&Noble member price $US 39.00

 

Tropical Nature : Life and Death in the Rain Forests of Central and South AmericaTropical Nature : Life and Death in the Rain Forests of Central and South America
by Adrian Forsyth, Paperback, 272 pages, Publisher: Touchstone Books, (1987), ISBN: 0684187108

A series of essays by the two authors (Forsyth mainly in Costa Rica, Miyata mainly in Ecuador). Chapters include, epiphytes, bugs and drugs, army ants, artful guises, Jerry's maggot, night walks. The authors encourage you to get to know the rainforest by hanging out there. The writing style is much more original and engaging than many authors that have attempted the same book. For example there is a chapter (fertility) on pooping in the woods, then waiting and watching as the rainforest assimilates your contribution to fertility. Highly Recommended
rated 5 toucans by Costa-Rica-guide.com
Out of print but often available from Amazon

Information on the web for Corcovado
Attractions | The Region | When to Visit
Getting There | Books | Web | Hiking

 

 

 

Information on the Web

Costa Rica trekking adventures is an outfitter that organizes treks in Corcovado National Park.

Osa Aventura has preplanned and custom multi-day treks into Corcovado.

Details on campsites and bunkhouses at the rangers stations in the park are in a separate PDF document. (320 kb)

Map showing the location of Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica
Location: Osa Peninsula

Visiting
Getting There:

Driving directions
Take the Pan American Highway East out of San José, the road curves South and changes designation from Highway 1 to Highway 2, although it's still the Pan American Highway. About 30 miles (50 km) past Cartago you climb over Cerro de la Muerte, and you will reach San Isidro el General after a total of 92 miles (153 km) (approx. 3 1/2 hours). Continue south on the Pan American Highway to Piedras Blancas to where you turn right (West) on 245 for Puerto Jiménez and Corcovado National Park. Total distance from San José 240 miles (395 km, approx. 9 hours).
Detailed roadmaps are available in acrobat pdf format or printed on waterproof tear proof synthetic paper.

Bus
699 Puerto Jiménez
Express departures daily from San José, outside Terminal Atlántico Norte, 6:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, 378 km, 10 hours, ~$US $6.20, Atlántico Norte, Telephone (506) 256-8963
612 Golfito
Express departures daily from San José, Terminal Alfaro / TRACOPA, 7:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., 339 km, 8 hours ~$US 5.70, TRACOPA, Telephone (506) 222-2666, then take the ferry to Puerto Jiménez

Ferry Puerto Jiménez From Golfito
, Departures every day from the Municipal Dock (Muelle) at 11:00 a.m., Returns 6:00 a.m., 1 1/2 hours

Air
There are daily flights from Juan Santamaría to Golfito, Puerto Jiménez, and Drake Bay all $US 170 round trip with Travelair or slightly less with SANSA. Be sure to note the baggage restrictions and other recommendations, especially if you are traveling with surfing or scuba equipment.

Entrance fees:
$US 7, plus ~$US 3 per person per night for camping.

entrance and camping reciept for Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Hours:

The park entrances are ungated, and you can enter any time. The hours for the ranger stations are given below.

Amenities:
Camping & Hiking trails (detailed map & description in pdf format)
There are a total of six ranger stations for Corcovado. The five ranger stations in the park are connected by a network of trails and have camping areas, potable water, and radio or telephone contact with the outside world. Meals and spots in "bunkhouses" are also available by advance arrangement. The Osa conservation area administrative headquarters just east of Puerto Jiménez next to the landing strip. (Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to noon, and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.). You can register and make reservations for camping, bunkhouses, and cooking here.

Lodging:

Details on campsites and bunkhouses at the rangers stations in the park are in a separate PDF document. (320 kb)

Tours:
Camping equipment is available for rent, and tours can be arranged in Puerto Jiménez where a number of budget accommodations are available.
Osa Aventura has preplanned and custom multi-day treks into Corcovado.
Costa Rica trekking adventures is an outfitter that organizes treks in Corcovado National Park.

Quick Facts
Weather:

13 feet (4,000 mm) of rain fall annually. The drier months are January through April. the wettest are September and October.

Size:
103,000 acres (4,178 hectares, 161 square miles, 122 times the size of Central Park NYC, and 4/10ths the size of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado)

Elevations:
Sea level to 2,444 feet (745 meters) on Cerros Rincón and Mueller.

Habitats:
Lowland rain forest, highland cloud forest, jolillo palm forest, and mangrove swamps, costal marine, and beach habitats.

Inhabitants:
All four of the monkey species (including the highly endangered Red-backed squirrel monkey), and all six of the feline species found in Costa Rica inhabit Corcovado. All four of the sea turtle species that nest in Costa Rica visit the beaches of Corcovado as well. Over 40 species of frogs including red-eyed tree, rain, glass, dink, and poison arrow varieties, dozens of snakes including a variety of Boas and the dreaded bushmaster, as well as 28 species of lizards. More than 100 species of butterflies and at least 10,000 other insects call the Osa peninsula home (including a few you may wish were endangered). More than 400 species of birds including 16 different hummingbirds and the largest number of Scarlet macaws anywhere in Central America.

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