When everyone of your friends told you you should go to a certain place, which is also described in literally ALL travel books, well then it might be a good idea to actually do it, right?
In case of Corcovado National Park this means a pretty long bus or car ride and a stay in Bahia Drake (find here more about it). And then, the best idea is to book a tour. Actually you are not allowed to go into the park without any kind of legitimation and your guide will take of the boat ride, the entry, the lunch and believe me, with an expert, you will see way more animals (and this really pays off in that national park, trust me). I booked my tour via my hotel, and right now in pre season there was just our tour and two more. If you want to really have a good time, go with “Discover Corcovado with Javier” – this guy is honestly still really excited with every toucan he finds and has a massive knowledge not only about the park, but of course also the flora and fauna there.
Our tour started with a rainy bumpy approx. 1h boat ride at 6 am. Bring a rain jacket, water, sunscreen and wear clothes, that can dry easily. They won’t actually really dry, but at least it’s better than being completely wet all day long. I wore my gore tex trail running shoes, but most people choose the rainboots the accomodations offer. Especially after rain season, it is quite muddy, so this is a good idea. My hotel didn’t have boots, but I still stayed dry.
They separated the big groups into two smaller ones and we started hiking. Well it wasn’t really hiking, because whenever Javier spotted an animal, we stopped and watched. We were running through the woods in silence in order not to scare the animals. When I asked him if there were lots of snakes, he smiled and said, of course, but you won’t see them anyways. Thanks for that, that makes it a lot less scary :-)
Since it was my third day in Costa Rica and second day in in the rainforest, I was overwhelmed by the deep green vegetation and felt super small between the 20 m tall trees. You definitely feels tiny and only like a guest there. Awesome side fact: there are no mosquitos!
At Corcovado and it’s vast secondary rain forest, about 2.5% of the worldwide wildlife population is living in the national park area. Thanks to Javier and his animal scouting and imitating skills we saw:
- 4 kinds of monkeys (all kinds that live in the park)
- A tapir crossing our way (or we crossing his) including watching him getting treated by a yellow headed Caracara (which even Javier only had like 3-4 times in his life before)
- about 10 different bird species, including loads of Toucans and swarms of Macaws (and no, I couldn’t remember them all)
- Crocodiles taking baths in the river (far away luckily)
- Small wild pigs with their babies
- Different butterflies
- The spider with the world’s strongest spider web (not venomous – ouf)
- Really, really ferocous ants, that are able to kill trees (yes right!)
Sometimes you are also able to spot jaguars, cougars or sloths, as well as of cours other spiders and snakes, but you never can have it all (in case of spiders and snakes I’m not soooo much into meeting them anyways tbh). And we got a lot of interesting information about the forest, the trees and loads of little details concerning the rainforest.
We had a pretty good lunch at the ranger station and took a little break there. You can also sleep there, but in this case you need to contact the park management early enough. Then we were hiking for another hour and afterwards took the boat back.
We paid 90 US Dollars for everything included, which in my opinion was absolutely worth it. Save the money for a guide in Manuel Antonio National Park, because after you’ve been in Corcovado, you know enough to be your own guide there. And you won’t see any animals there except greedy badgers and monkeys and maybe some hidden sloths anyways – but more on that national park in a separate post.
Go for it!