Corcovado National Park

Corcovado National Park at sea

Parque Nacional Corcovado is on the 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

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

Get in

Travel to and through the park is perilous and is best accomplished during the dry season.

On February 5th, 2015 a new trail into Corcovado was opened in Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre. Sendero El Tigre is the most accessible trail into Corcovado as it is possible to travel to and walk in one day. The trail is 5 miles/8 kilometers long and takes between six to eight hours; depending upon walking speeds and time taken to stop to view wildlife. Dos Brazos is 7.5 miles/12 kilometers from Puerto Jimenez and can be reached by taxi or bus. The cost for this trail(guide included) is $125 for two people, which includes the $30 entrance fee to the park. Reservations can be made directly with the tourism office of Dos Brazos by calling (+506) 8323-8695 or via email which can be found on the Dos Brazos website. Dos Brazos has several great accommodations and activities such as: gold mining tours, horseback riding, El Salto natural swimming hole, night hikes, botany and birding tours, Bonanza waterfall and much more. More information can be found at http://dosbrazosderiotigre.com


By bus

By 4WD

All roads on the Osa Peninsula exhibit the disrepair characteristic of Costa Rica outside of the main tourist destinations. The road from Puerto Jimenez to Carate require a 4WD vehicle as it is a gravel road with several required river fordings. It recommended that this drive should only be attempted during the dry season, or after inquiering with local guides. Note that Carate is next to the beach. Take care not to pass Carate as it is poorly marked, but there is a well marked airstrip where the traditional walk on the beach towards the park starts. Parking is available by paying the store/bus stop which is Carate. Free parking is available next to the airstrip (do not leave valuables in the car).

From Puerto Jimenez to Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre: From Puerto Jimenez (12 km/7.5 miles) it will take about 30 minutes. 4 km/2.5 miles west out of town take your first left, after the Rio Tigre bridge where you will see signs for Dos Brazos and Parque Nacional Corcovado. After 3 km/1.8 miles you will arrive in the town of Gallardo. Where you will pass a bar called Oasis and will take your 2nd left. Again you will see a signs for Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre. Five more kilometers/3.1 miles down the road you will arrive in the town of Dos Brazos del Rio Tigre. On your right before the bridge you will see the Oficina de Turismo (Tourism Office). Please park in the parking lot next to the Tourism Office. The drive to Dos Brazos is relatively easy with no river crossings and is safe to drive year round. The drive is possible with a small car; but a 4x4 is recommended.

By foot

Park passes are required a month in advance of going into the park and can be purchased on line.

By plane

Corcovado Drivers Map

Corcovado Map

Fees/Permits

Permits must be reserved in advance. You must have a permit to stay overnight at Sirena. In practice, the Park often allows campers with their own food to enter without advance reservations and prepayment, but during busy times of the year even the camping areas are filled, especially Sirena Ranger Station. Sirena is the only ranger station that offers dormitory lodging and hot meals in addition to camping. La Leona, San Pedrillo, and Los Patos 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 passing through Puerto Jiménez and a trip to the bank to make the payment or costly international wire transfers. Note that the Park Service (MINAE) does not issue park permits more than one month in advance of anticipated arrival. For the most up-to-date information about the park in English, please visit http://www.corcovadoguide.com/

Vendors to assist with obtaining permits:

CafeNet El Sol offers a reservation service for a fee of $30, or $10 for one-day passes; details on their Corcovado page, enabling travelers to obtain their permits in advance by credit card payment without having to travel to Puerto Jiménez or carry cash to the Park. UPDATE: The Park no longer accepts payments by cash or credit card, only by in-country bank deposit (no international wires). You can still pay for your park passes through CafeNet El Sol. For more details on park fees and offerings, you can visit http://www.corcovadoguide.com/permitting.htm CorcovadoBlog Tour Operator and Booking Manager offers booking service fee and you have the possibility make the payment totally online with debit/credit card. For more details about park fees and offerings you can visit http://www.english.corcovadoblog.com (English and Spanish)

For the El Tigre trail in Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre, the fee is $125 USD for two people(guide included), which includes the $30 fee for the park entrance. The Tourism Office of Dos Brazos will handle all permits for you, saving you the trouble of making a reservation with MINAE. Contact information for the Tourism Office can be found at http://dosbrazosderiotigre.com

Get around

Trails

There are several short trails in and around Sirena

See

Scarlet Macaw

Do

Buy

Eat

Drink

Sleep

Lodging

Camping

Backcountry

Stay safe

Basic considerations

Other precautions

Respect

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

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, July 13, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.