The Corcovado National Park is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and boasts the only remaining old growth wet forest on the Pacific coast of Central America, and contains some 2.5% of the biodiversity of the planet. It is accessed only by foot from one of three entry points.
So when I was offered the chance to go, I absolutely knew I had to see it!
It was a full day drive down from Samara to the Oso Peninsula, where we would stop at Puerto Jimanez for easy access to the National Park. Frustratingly we were faced with our first taste of Costa Rican bureaucracy – we were unable to book our tour for the following day as everything needed to be prearranged. Not wanting to give up, we spent the following morning trying to find a guide that would take us anyway, a pursuit that proved both frustrating and futile.
In order to enter the national park, you require a guide as well as to pay your admission fee. Should be simple enough right? Three visits to the park office, two conversations with the hotel staff, one visit to the bank and a few hours later and we had the requisite piece of paper and we were locked and loaded for the following day.
Our guide Santos met us just before 5am and we stopped at the bakery for some breakfast before setting off. Tammy was quickly told not to try taking her coffee for the road, advice worth taking due to the bumpy gravel road! The trip involved three river crossings and it took around two hours to arrive at the parking area, From there it was an hour’s walk to the entry of the National Park, across land which we are told was owned by a couple Canadians – and a new equine friend!
We would be hiking a total of 15km although the path followed the beach and it was an easy flat route.
To my disappointment we would not be venturing into the primary forest – as this would involve an overnight hike. The secondary forest has been disturbed by mining activity and banana plantations prior to being declared as a National Park.
Santos had a well trained eye – spotting many birds and animals on our way about the park including a Quetzal, crested owl, green spotted frog (so poisonous it will kill you in minutes, or so we were told), colourful crabs, white-faced, spider and howler monkeys, anteaters, as well as blue and scarlet macaws.
Reaching our turn around point, we were treated to a swim in a fresh water spring which was amazing in the heat!
It was a fantastic experience and I left wishing that I had been able to spend more time in this beautiful corner of the world 🙂