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Corcovado
General information

Location:

It is located in the Osa Peninsula in Puntarenas, southwest of Costa Rica (9° North, 83° West), 335 km from San Jose, the capital.
Conservation Area:
Osa Conservation Area (ACOSA)
Size:
45.757 land hectares and 5.375 marine hectares
Schedule:
Every day: from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm
When to go?

IMPORTANT:
Investigators have priority over other visitors (like tourists) but usually there’s plenty of space and enough facilities for both groups.
It’s better if you can visit the park during the dry season, which goes from January to March.

Conatct information
Reservations:
Regional Office:
(00506) 2735-5580
Phone:
Fax:
(00506) 2735-5036
E-Mial:
Send mail
Web Page:
Visit Wen Page
Entrace:
Citizens:
Adults:
¢1600
Children:
¢
Toursits:
Adults:
$10
Children:
$
Camping permissions:
¢
$4
General information
This park was named “the most biologically intense place on Earth” by the National Geographic. It is considered a unique place for investigation and environmental education, being home for 2.5% of all the biodiversity on the planet in a little over 45.000 hectares, just like no other place on Earth.


Description
The Corcovado National Park is a living, magnificent laboratory and important part of the national park and biological reserve system of Costa Rica. This is as well the perfect spot for studying tropical ecosystems.

This park is shelter to the largest primary forest in the American Pacific, and to an also very large humid tropical forest, like very few on Earth. The size and the richness of its habitats (from 25 to 30 ecosystems) allow the park to be home to very important flora and fauna populations that have endemic and endangered species.
Its extraordinary diversity is due to the park’s location, because it lies in a biological corridor of an amazing selection of plants and animals, which connects the north and the south parts of the continent. Besides, the weather here has high rainfall, allowing the spread of basins and rivers, leading to a great variety of forests and ecosystems.

Corcovado has a very important role in the protection of fauna (like the alligator, the crocodile and the harpy eagle), flora, streams and archeological pieces. In the park, some rivers begin their flow and some others end their flow into the sea, which protects them and helps them keep their purity. You may find many waterfalls, especially one that’s 35 m. tall and falls down to the beach. Also there have been found remains of native citizens, which make this place very valuable for archaeological studies.

Weather
The park is extremely hot and humid and has high rainfall almost all year long, with rainfall rates that go over 5.000 mm per year.

Flora
The park has incredibly varied vegetation that includes the mountain forest (which covers more than half of the park’s territory), the cloud forest, the meadow forest, the alluvial plain forest, the swamp forest, the yolillal, the herbaceous swamp, the mangrove swamp, cliff vegetation and shore vegetation, among others. Altogether it has 500 kinds of trees (12 of which are endangered) and 150 types of orchids.

High rainfall weather results in the formation of many rivers and lakes, supporting the development of forests with very tall trees like the nazareno, the ajo (“garlic tree”), the plomo (“the lead tree”), the ceiba and the pilon, all of which are covered by epiphyte plants; unlike other trees, for example the guayabon, the espavel and the cedro macho (a light-colored type of cedar).


Fauna
Here you will find over 140 mammal species (10% of all the mammal species in the American continent), 370 bird species (20 of which are endemic), 120 kinds of reptiles and amphibians, and also more than 6.000 types of insects.

In the trails you might be able to see many different animals, like the four species of monkeys that are found in Costa Rica: the howler monkey, the capuchin monkey, the squirrel monkey and the spider monkey. You may also find red macaws, toucans, coatis, tayras (type of weasel), peccaries, tapirs, anteaters, snakes and hermit crabs. Some wild felids like jaguars, pumas, ocelots and oncillas are also common, but might be hard to see because they’re afraid of people.

Among bird species you may find parrots, brown pelicans, red macaws, ibis, herons, owls, blue egrets, pijijis (type of duck), crab plovers and hummingbirds. Some of the reptile species that are also found in this park are crocodiles (in Corcovado’s lagoon), snakes like the Pacific rattlesnake and the terciopelo (very poisonous snake known as “velvet snake”), iguanas and some amphibians like the ranita de vidrio (“little glass frog”) and Costa Rica’s endemic poisonous toad.

At sea there’s also a great variety of animals, like the bull shark, 40 species of fresh water fish and dolphins, and 4 turtle species: the Hawksbill turtle, the Leatherback turtle, the green turtle and the ridley turtle, that nest in Llorona beach.

It’s worth mentioning that Golfo Dulce (East from the park) is a mating area for humpback whales that come from the North and South Pacific, allowing genetic diversity, which is very important for the species’ survival. Another important fact is that the harpy eagle was thought to be extinct since 1989, but it has been seen in the park.

Services and facilities on the Park
In the four stations of Sirena, La Leona, Los Patos and San Pedrillo:
Camping area
Drinking water
Information
Payphones
Lunch area with tables
Sinks
Restrooms
Also:
Shelter with bunk beds and rooms with several beds (in Sirena and La Leona)
Landing strips (in Sirena and San Pedrillo)

Activities
Inside the Park:
Walking through the trails

Outside the Park
Sport fishing
Diving
Swimming
Tours
Sea kayaking
Surfing
Horseback riding
Birdwatching
Whale and dolphin watching

Corcovado
  • Recomendations
  • Interesting data
Tips para el viajero
Recommendations:
Road recommendations
Buses have no A/C and do not require reservations.
Because of the poor road conditions is better if you avoid driving during the night, especially in the rainy season.

Access recommendations
You must make reservations in the Puerto Jimenez station before arriving to the park.
Investigators have priority over other visitors (like tourists) but usually there’s plenty of space and enough facilities for both groups.
The schedule of the park is every day: From 6:00 am to 5:00 pm
It’s better if you can visit the park during the dry season, which goes from January to March.

General recommendations inside the park
The most “natural” way of visiting the park is through Carate, because there’s almost no urban development. There are no houses, just an airfield used for medical emergency flights or for tourist domestic flights (from Puerto Jimenez or from Drake Bay).
Between July and November some sections of the park may be closed due to high rainfall.

Clothes and accessories recommendations
Bring sunscreen (high SPF), sunglasses, hat, mosquito repellent and a personal first aid kit.
Bring sandals, sneakers, light and comfortable clothes (also some extra clothes and socks), bathing suit, raincoat and umbrella.
Bring a flashlight with some extra batteries.

Stay recommendations
Bring mosquito net, sleeping bag and tent.
There are very few hotels in the area, so it’s better if you make reservations prior to arrival.

Recommendations when walking through the trails
The trail that goes from San Pedrillo to Sirena is open only from December to April.
For your own safety, is better if you can take a guided tour since there are many wild animals around. You can hire the guides in Drake Bay or in Puerto Jimenez.
Before crossing a river, it’s important for you to make a small “weather forecasting” and check if there are any clouds in the mountains, because there may be sudden floods.
Also beware of tides when crossing rivers.

Food recommendations
Food must be ordered prior to arrival in all the stations.
There are few sources of drinking water, so it’s better if you bring many water bottles in order to prevent dehydration.

Health recommendations
If you’re planning on walking through the park’s trails, you must have an acceptable physical condition and at least 2 or 3 days available for the trip. Plan ahead your routes and activities so you won’t miss anything you’d like to do.

Recommendations for a responsible tourist
Please do not litter.
Do not carry firearms of any kind.
Do not hurt or cut the plants.
Do not hunt, hurt or harass the animals.
Loud noises are not allowed (speakers, TV, car horns, stereos).

Recommendations with the animals
Usually, there are crocodiles in the rivers and estuaries, and at high tide is possible to find sharks looking for food close to shore, so you must be very careful.
If you’d like to see tapirs, remember that they are night creatures and harmless if not disturbed.
Watch out for monkeys, because if they feel threatened, they might throw feces or urinate on whoever is close to them.

Money recommendations
It’s better if you don’t leave any personal belongings inside the car.









Datos interesantes
Datos interesantes:
There are 4 different park rangers’ stations in this National Park:
Los Patos in the northern part of the Gulf
San Pedrillo, south from Drake Bay
Sirena in the South Pacific (largest station that offers stay): located in the central part of Corcovado, next to the sea
La Leona, in the southern entrance

Trail system:

From Los Patos to Sirena (about 20 km) and El Mirador.
From La Leona to Sirena (about 16 km, some parts on the beach), the most popular trail among visitors.
From San Pedrillo to Sirena (about 26 km), Limite, Catarata, Pargo River and Llorona. This northwest-southeast trail goes along the beach.
From Sirena you can take 11 different trails: Rio Sirena, el Guanacaste, los Naranjos, Rio Claro, Sirena – San Pedrillo, los Espaveles, Rio Pavo, Corcovado, Ollas Sirena – Los Patos and Sirena – La Leona.

There have been found native artifacts in the Sirena River and the Cedral (located in the Sirena River’s terrace). Groups of chiriquies (native villagers, 700 – 1500 A.D.) lived in this area, probably drawn by the diversity of wild animals, which became their main source of food by hunting and fishing. Some materials found in Punta Carbonera and Los Huecales indicate that the natives also carried out agricultural activities.

Even though these places are very important to archaeologists, they have suffered severe damages in the past due to gold digging. Some people think that gold can still be found in these places, but that is not correct. The two time frames in which the natives lived here and carried out subsistence activities were from 200 to 800 A.D. and from 1000 to 1500 A.D.

Some evidence was also found here proving that other native groups like the Bruncas lived here as well, and in Corcovado you may also see remains of old ships that wrecked by the shore.

HISTORICAL REVIEW
The Corcovado National Park was created in the year 1975 with the purpose of protecting that glorious region from gold diggers and lumberjacks. The isolation of this area and the fact that it is hard to get to, have helped this park and its surroundings to stay unexplored.

The discovery of native remains in the region proves that villagers inhabited this zone many years ago (mainly Isla del Cańo), which makes the place very important for archaeologists.

There are different ground layers in the park, mainly formed by basalts and other volcanic rocks. These rocks are black and dark gray colored, and are made of very fine grains, which makes them very hard. They’re about 50 and 56 million years old; however, layers with much more older sediments, of about 70 million years ago, have also been found.

Corcovado
como llegar?
How to get there?
Buses:
There are 4 entrances to the Corcovado National Park:
Through San Pedrillo, by boat from Drake Bay
Through Sirena, by boat from Drake Bay
Through La Leona, walking from Puerto Jimenez towards Carate
Through Los Patos, from Palmar Norte towards La Palma
Buses:
Transportes Blanco (San José, Street 14, Ave. 9-11)
From San Jose to Puerto Jimenez (aprox. 9 hours)
Every day: 8:00am and 12:00md
From Puerto Jimenez to San Jose
Every day: 5:00am and 9:00am
Office phone number: (506) 2257-4121, (506) 2735-5189
Once you get to Puerto Jimenez, go to a small town called Carate, which is close to Estacion Ranchera La Leona, located in the east point of the Corcovado National Park.

Collective taxi:

From Puerto Jimenez to Carate (50 m. South from the last stop of Transportes Blanco)
Monday through Sunday: 6:00 am and 1:30pm
From Carate to Puerto Jimenez
Monday through Sunday: 8:30 am and 4:00 pm
There’s no reservation system; you should get your ticket half hour before departure.
In Carate:
When you arrive to Carate, walk through the beach for about 3,5 km until you see the sign of the entrance to the Park Rangers’ Station of Corcovado La Leona.

Car:
There are 4 entrances to the Corcovado National Park:
Through San Pedrillo, by boat from Drake Bay
Through Sirena, by boat from Drake Bay
Through La Leona, walking from Puerto Jimenez towards Carate
Through Los Patos, from Palmar Norte towards La Palma

Car and boat:
Drive for about 8 hours from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. Because of the poor road conditions is better if you avoid driving during the night, especially in the rainy season.

The roads that go from Puerto Jimenez to Carate and from Puerto Jimenez to the entrance of the park in La Palma are not in good conditions, which is why it’s recommended to use a 4- wheel drive vehicle.

Routes:
Entrance to La Leona:
Drive from the South Pan-American Highway that goes from San Jose passing through San Isidro del General and many pineapple plantations. You will get to a town called Palmar Norte, which is just next to the South Pan-American Highway and the Terraba River. Keep going until you reach Chacarita, where you will find a sign to Puerto Jimenez, indicating you should turn right in the upcoming intersection. Continue driving until you get to Puerto Jimenez; from here, there’s only one road to Carate. Once you’re in Carate, walk through the beach for about 3,5 km until you see the sign to the entrance to the Park Rangers’ Station of Corcovado.

Take the route from San Jose to Dominical, which leads to the Costanera Sur (road that goes along the coastline). You should pass Pueblo Nuevo (10 km) in Uvita, where you’ll see the entrance to Marino Ballena National Park. As you drive, you’ll leave behind the coastline and begin to see fields along the way, finally getting to the intersection of Ciudad Cortes (Cortes city). You pass the Grande de Terraba River until you reach Palmar Norte. Keep going until you reach Chacarita, where you will find a sign to Puerto Jimenez, indicating you should turn right in the upcoming intersection. Continue driving until you get to Puerto Jimenez; from here, there’s only one road to Carate. Once you’re in Carate, walk through the beach for about 3,5 km until you see the sign to the entrance to the Park Rangers’ Station of Corcovado.

Drive from the South Pan-American Highway that goes from San Jose passing through San Isidro del General, getting to Palmar Norte towards Golfito. From this point you have to continue to Puerto Jimenez by boat, which has a schedule of 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. From Puerto Jimenez to Carate: once you’re in Carate, walk through the beach for about 3,5 km until you see the sign to the entrance to the Park Rangers’ Station of Corcovado.
Entrance to San Pedrillo (can only be accessed by boat):

Drive from the Pan-American Highway, passing through San Isidro del General, towards Dominical by the Costanera (route #34), getting to Palmar Norte. Right after the bridge over the Terraba River turn right, passing oil palm and banana plantations until you get to a town called Sierpe (about 5 hours). Once in Sierpe, you can leave your car in one of the local parking lots and then take a boat to Drake Bay until you reach the entrance to San Pedrillo. Before getting to the entrance, you’ll find lodges and hotels in San Josecito beach.

Entrance to Sirena (can only be accessed by boat):
Drive from the Pan-American Highway, passing through San Isidro del General, towards Dominical by the Costanera (route #34), getting to Palmar Norte. Right after the bridge over the Terraba River turn right, passing oil palm and banana plantations until you get to a town called Sierpe (about 5 hours). Once in Sierpe, you can leave your car in one of the local parking lots and then take a boat to Drake Bay until you reach the entrance to Sirena.
Entrance to Los Patos (4-wheel drive):

Drive from the South Pan-American Highway that goes from San Jose passing through San Isidro del General, getting to Palmar Norte. Keep going until you reach Chacarita, where you will find a sign to Puerto Jimenez, indicating you should turn right in the upcoming intersection. Continue driving until you get to La Palma (20 km before Puerto Jimenez), turn right and continue until you reach the park’s entrance.

Take the route from San Jose to Dominical and keep driving on the Costanera Sur. Then you should pass the Grande de Terraba River in order to reach Palmar Norte. Keep going until you reach Chacarita, where you will find a sign to Puerto Jimenez, indicating you should turn right in the upcoming intersection. Continue driving until you get to La Palma (20 km before Puerto Jimenez), turn right and continue until you reach the park’s entrance.

Other kind of transportation
Domestic flights:
There are landing strips in the park entrances of San Pedrillo and Sirena. The flights depart from the Juan Santamaria Airport and the Tobias Bolańos Airport.
Sansa:
www.flysansa.com
Nature Air:
www.natureair.com

 

Corcovado
 
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