Corcovado National Park is the ultimate experience for the avid eco-tourist because of the amazing bio-diversity found in this area. It is a backpacking naturalist’s dream! Located on the west coast of the Osa Peninsula, this large park is home to a spectacular array of protected wildlife living in their natural habitats in up to 13 different eco-systems.
You will begin the Corcovado National Park tour from Drake Bay. The only way to reach the park is by boat. You will meet the boat captain and take a 30 to 45-minute boat ride to San Pedrillo, the closest ranger station within the conservation area.
While traveling by boat you’ll have the opportunity to look for dolphin and other marine life living here, including all four species of Costa Rica’s sea turtles: the Olive Ridley, Leatherback, Green, and Hawksbill. You’ll likely pass by the breeding grounds of the Brown Booby, an aerial avian acrobat when it comes to diving in the water for food!
As you near the San Pedrillo Ranger Station you’ll see the fringe of the jungle, known to be the oldest wet forest on the Pacific coast. Once you’ve landed lunch will be provided and you will go on a guided hike of approximately 2 miles, not necessarily in that order depending on the day.
The park is home to roughly 13 major ecosystems that include cloud forests, rainforests, palm forests, and mangrove swamps, not to mention all the wildlife inhabitants found in each one. Since this is a protected area, a certified guide is required to lead you into the park.
You will likely be surprised at how much information your guide will provide as well as helping you find and identify the wildlife visible on the day of your adventure. Still, even experts estimate that less than half of the flora and fauna species living here have yet to be discovered. You will be led on a fascinating hike through rugged, unaltered territory.
This area is home to thousands of species of insects, and hundreds of species of trees, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals including the Squirrel, Spider, Howler and Capuchin Monkey families. This is one of the few areas in Costa Rica where all 4 species of monkeys reside.
With a little luck and the trained eye of your naturalist guide, you may get to see the Red Eyed Tree Frog, Sloths, and Coati. In addition, rare wildlife like Tapirs, Harpy Eagles, Peccaries, and Jaguar are residents of this area as well and will hopefully make an appearance.
The trail will lead you to the San Pedrillo Waterfall where you’ll take a short break to enjoy the view. While hiking through the woods you’ll need to keep your eyes open to see the magnificent Walking Trees that actually move to gain sunlight. After your hike, you will board the boat again for the return trip to Drake Bay.
Your tour includes boat transportation to and from the ranger station, naturalist guide, park entrance fees, and lunch. Total time of tour and round trip boat transportation combined can take from 5 to 7 hours depending on the size of your group.
Please wear non-skid, completely enclosed hiking shoes, lightweight sun protective clothing and bring sunscreen, insect repellent, rain gear, binoculars, and camera. You might like to have additional snacks and plenty of drinking water. This is a moderately difficult hike that will take the backpacking enthusiast into the wonderful world of an untamed jungle where you can experience firsthand the biodiversity of Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast.