The Los Patos Ranger Station is located by the eastern entrance of the park and is accessed through Las Palma, the only town on this side of the park. This is a humid, if not wet hike, a three hour walk that takes you across the Rincon river many times. It is possible to do this trail horseback riding, and taxis are available during the dry season. This is a region of primary forests, pre-montagne and cloud forests. There are many trails in Los Patos. One of them goes to La Sirena, connecting the Guayami Indian Reserve.
The La Leona Ranger Station is located at the southern most tip of the Osa Peninsula. This entrance is particularly popular with people coming from Carate and Puerto Jimenez. This 3.5-kilometer beach walk starts in Carate all the way to Leona. There are camping areas but tents are not provided. You will also need food and cooking equipment. From here you can continue on the same trail to the La Sirena Ranger Station. It is flat parallel to the beach and even pass by an old miners settlement and graveyard!
The La Sirena Ranger Station is where you will find the ranger station headquarters and is the heart of the Corcovado National Park. Located right on the coast, you can stay overnight at this station before continuing on throughout the rest of the park. This is the hardest station to get to, but well worth it for those who take the time to make the trip. La Sirena to La Leona is a hot 16 kilometers beach hike that takes 7 hours to complete. Timing is important here because of the tide and also for the heat. This trail passes through rocks on the shore that can be crossed at low tide or else there is another trail that goes inland that is parallel to the beach, and that provides more shade. Beware of the Crocodiles at tide crossing and for extended hikes it is recommended going with a guide.
Located to the northern entrance of the park, The San Pedrillo Ranger Station is about 45 minutes by boat south of Drake Bay. It is mostly visited by people coming from Sierpe and Drake Bay and the closest station to Corcovado Adventures Tent Camp. Visitors come there for day trips, a 5-hour hike from Drake Bay to the ranger’s station that follows the beach from Drake Bay to Punto Marenco. The Rio Claro can be crossed at low tide however boats are also available. The short trails of San Pedrillo are excellent for wildlife observation and some even have beautiful waterfall and rivers that are great for swimming.
Eight Species of Mangrove in Terraba Sierpe
Eight species of mangroves are found in Sierpe, of which the tallest of the world. The black mangrove, the red mangrove, the tea mangrove and the grey mangrove are the most common ones. Mangroves are incredible plants with very big long roots that have evolved to survive in spite of low oxygen content and in salty water. The mangroves of Tarraba Sierpe are the most impressive of the world and they also attract large colonies of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and aquatic life forms. Right below the surface live pools of fresh water fish and mollusks, of which many find their way on the tables of some of the restaurants of the area.
Multitudes of birds and wildlife
These fantastic mangroves attract myriads of rare birds thus all the birdwatchers visiting the area are pleasantly surprised by the abundance of resident and migratory feathered creature that visit or live in these swamps. Two endemic hummingbird species, the yellow billed hummingbird and the mangrove hummingbird are common to the area, as well various species of herons: the tiger-throated, the great blue, the boat-billed, and the green-backed, to name a few. There are also pelicans, egrets, mangrove black hawks and various types of toucans. It is no wonder birdwatchers are pouring in from all over the planet.
The Sierpe Boca Beach
Once the Sierpe river emerges from the mangroves it reaches the Pacific Ocean forming the Sierpe Boca Beach. This splendid hidden paradise is only accessible by boat, and is pristine and totally unexploited. It does resemble a small paradise for its myriad of exotic trees, of which many grapefruit fruit trees, and miles of untouched beach to explore with the great possibility to catch a glimpse of whales and dolphins. This is Osa at its best, offering you moments of awe and peace, surrounded by magnificent natural beauty. Swimming there is also fantastic and it is possible to surf the Boca waves a little further out, if you are brave or keen enough! It is highly recommended to bring sufficient water, a hat and a good sunscreen.
AN ANCIENT BURIAL GROUND AND MYSTIFYING SPEHERES
The interior of Isla de Cano features evergreen trees that reach heights of up to 164 feet, which watch over the remains of the island’s Indigenous, Pre-Columbian inhabitants, the Diquis tribe. Not only have archeologist found remains, which concludes that the site was used as a burying ground, but there are perfectly spherical stones that adorn the land. Take a walk through history on these trails and ponder the formation of the spheres, which mystify even the scientific community.
DISCOVER AN UNDERWATER PLAYGROUND AND SOME OF THE BEST SCUBA DIVING IN COSTA RICA
The diving and snorkeling communicated will be infatuated amidst the underwater playground of caves, cliffs and reefs that surround the island. The reefs are can be up to 15 feet in some areas with 80 foot drop offs! Isla de Cano is famous for having Costa Rica’s largest concentration of coral-building organisms in the Pacific Ocean. Swim along the reef in the company of white-tipped sharks, barracudas, red snappers, dog-toothed snappers, and several varieties of rays. There are also schools of colorful tropical fish to capture your attention. Cano Island is rated as one being the best underwater adventure diving spots in the world, due to the fact that its waters are some of the bluest in Costa Rica.
A BIODIVERSITY WONDERLAND
Designated a Biological Reserve in 1978, Cano Island Biological Reserve is ripe with marine biodiversity. In fact, the island is surrounded by five platforms of Coral Reefs comprised of 15 species! These reefs are the host to a heap of marine life including: schools of jacks, parrotfish, damsels ,eels, lobsters, sea urchins, giant conchs and even manta rays, sea turtles and white-tipped reef sharks. The visitor will be in awe during the migrations of the whale sharks and humpback whales, seen from July and October, and again in December through March. Whale watching is truly an amazing and wonderful experince!
A BEAUTIFUL ISLAND FULL OF ACTIVITIES
In order to protect the biodiversity of the site, tourist activity is only permitted on the north face of the island. Yet, it too, is virtually undeveloped and full of natural beauty. Sit and enjoy a picnic of the beach while watching birds, such as the egret or osprey fly overhead, or take a hike along the trails and discover some of the over 158 species of plants such as locust, fig, and wild cacao. The main hiking trail also splits off and allows the visitor a view of the island via a grand look-out station. If relaxing more your style, sit under an almond tree and enjoy sun-warmed sand.
A TRUE NATURE WONDERLAND
The Osa Peninsula was once an island before it merged with the Central American mainland nearly two million years ago. The result was a combination of plants, animals, and ecosystems unlike any other. The Osa Peninsula is truly a natural wonderland, and is home to many of the country’s rare and endangered animal and bird species including the puma, jaguar, Harpy Eagle and Scarlet Macaw. A big part of the Osa Peninsula is dedicated to the Corcovado National Park, which has the largest expanse of a lowland tropical rainforest in Central America. Per unit area, the Osa Peninsula holds possibly the highest natural diversity on earth. Climatically, the Osa is the wettest place on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, receiving up to 7 meters of rain annually.
DIVERSITY LIKE NO OTHER SPOT IN THE WORLD
The peninsula protects the Golfo Dulce from the mighty Pacific, which attracts groups of whales and dolphins. Therefore, it’s possible to go whale and dolphin watching, especially during their mating seasons. Additionally, the forests of the Osa are home to the richest collection of plants and animals anywhere in Central America. There are over 700 species of trees and Osa hosts almost half of Costa Rica's 860 species of birds, 140 species of mammals, and 117 species of reptiles and amphibians.
THE MAIN TOWNS IN OSA
There are several small towns in Osa. One is Puerto Jiménez, which is a laidback town and one of the main gateways to the beautiful Corcovado National Park. The town is situated on the Golfo Dulce and has a wonderful beach where one can relax. Sport fishing is also very popular as well as hiking, rappelling, mountain biking and kayaking. Carate is another town, which is sometimes called Osa’s best kept secret since it’s not very touristic. Carate also offers the opportunity to watch Pacific Ridley sea turtles, Leatherback sea turtles, Green sea turtles, and Hawksbill sea turtles, come ashore to nest and lay their eggs on the beach. Drake Bay is located in the north of the peninsula and boasts miles of pristine beaches, spectacular lagoons and coves ideal for scuba diving.
ACTIVITIES TO DO IN OSA
This region is different than the rest of the country and offers visitors everything from hiking, to whale and dolphin watching tours. Of course, you could always just take advantage of the beautiful beaches and relax in the sun or take a jog down the shoreline. If you’re interested in history, you can take a short boat ride to Caño Island, and view the mysterious stone spheres on the site of an ancient indigenous burial ground. The waters of Caño Island are also clear, beautiful and perfect for diving or snorkeling.
The Osa Peninsula - A True Nature Wonderland
If you want wilderness, adventure, and untouched beauty like you’ve never seen before amidst an amazing climate, the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica is for you. The Osa Peninsula is a small peninsula in the southern region of Costa Rica, known for its biodiversity of flora and fauna. It is here where one can find the world famous Corcovado National Park, and Cano Island is a short boat ride off its shore. The Corcovado Tent Camp is located in Drake Bay, one of the more prominent of the small towns on the Peninsula and is the perfect place to situate yourself for a vacation of your dreams!
The Spectacular Diversity of Species
Saying the Osa Peninsula is ecologically diverse is an understatement. The fact is that this area contains half of all the species located in all of Costa Rica and the forests of the Osa are home to the richest collection of plants and animals anywhere in Central America. For example, the Peninsula hosts over 700 species of trees, almost half of Costa Rica's 860 species of birds, 140 species of mammals, and 117 species of reptiles and amphibians. Additionally, many of the country’s rare and endangered animal and bird species including the puma, jaguar, Harpy Eagle and Scarlet Macaw reside here.
Activities on the Peninsula and the Major Towns
Due to the Osa Peninsula being just that, a peninsula, the Golfo Dulce which encases it is calmer than its source, the Pacific Ocean. Therefore, one of the most popular activities is whale and dolphin watching, as these awesome animals use the area for mating. Puerto Jimenez, the largest town in Osa, is also set on the Golfo Dulce and host’s one of Costa Rica’s best beaches. Sport fishing is also very popular as well as hiking, rappelling, mountain biking and kayaking. Carate is another town, which is sometimes called Osa’s best kept secret since it’s not very touristic and offers the opportunity to watch sea turtles (Pacific Ridley, Leatherback, and Hawksbill) come ashore to nest and lay their eggs on the beach. Drake Bay is located in the north of the peninsula and boasts miles of pristine beaches, spectacular lagoons and coves ideal for scuba diving.
A Spot for Adventure or Relaxation
This region is different than the rest of the country and offers visitors everything from hiking, to whale and dolphin watching tours. However, you could always just take advantage of the beautiful beaches and relax in the sun or take a jog down the shoreline. If you’re interested in history, you can take a short boat ride to Caño Island, and view the mysterious stone spheres on the site of an ancient indigenous burial ground. Also take advantage of the snorkeling and scuba diving tour in Caño Island, where the waters are clear, beautiful and packed with beautiful marine animals.
Extraordinary Flora and Fauna of Drake Bay
The highlight of visiting Drake Bay is of course the Corcovado National Park. This is probably the most awesome place to visit in Costa Rica, a wonder of the world home to species found nowhere else in the world, a refuge of endangered flora and fauna. You can expect to see Red Macaws, tapirs, quetzals, red-eyed tree frogs, and various species of monkeys to name just a few. This tropical heaven also has miles after miles of pristine wild beaches, impressive coves and lagoon that are perfect for scuba diving, decorated by the spectacular palms that grown long the shoreline. Drake Bay is the perfect refuge for a peaceful vacation as well as for those seeking active adventure.
National Parks and Refuges
There are other protected zones that are a must see; the Punta Rio Claro National Wildlife Refuge, located on the hills south of the little town of Agujitas, is a beautiful combination of beach and tropical forest over an area of 500 hectares, and further down the coast you will find the Campanario Biological Reserve. They offer very basic lodgings and you even can enroll in Neotropical Ecology classes. The small town of Los Planes, near Agujitas, is a real little rain forest dwelling, asbsolutely ideal either for hiking or horseback riding. The Naguala waterfall is great for swimming and for fishing Tilapia. In Tesoro Verde, the owner of the restaurant, Alfredo has the biggest collection of 70s music of the country!
Rangers Stations Near Drake Bay
The San Pedrillo Ranger Station is only accessible by foot, through a 4-hour hike, or by boat, which takes about one hour; most hotels can arrange for the boat trips. It is located about 16 kilometers south of Drake Bay, along the palm-lined coastline. Once inside the station, you can wander amidst the multitude of trails that zigzag through the park. You will soon understand why this land is considered to be a wonder of the world.
The hike goes through beautiful beaches and up the hills surrounding the coastline. There are various eco-resorts where you can stay in harmony with nature. Guides can take you to some extraordinary waterfall where you can enjoy a refreshing swim. The trail to La sirena is considered to be extremely difficult and is only for the fittest. The Sirena-San Pedrillo trail is currently closed to the public.
Drake Bay in Southern Costa Rica
Located on the north side of the untouched Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay, has mostly become famous by hosting Corcovado National Park. Until recently, the bay was only accessible by boat, which enabled it to remain a pristine low-land tropical rainforest with little development. Now, access to the bay is possible via a dirt road during the dry season, however, some of the most scenic spots can still only be reached by boat. Eco-tourism is the main activity in the area and the Corcovado Tent Camp is set up just south-west of this beautiful bay, offering guests a luxury camping experience.
A Little History of the Fabled Drake Bay
It is said that Sir Francis Drake discovered this port in the late 16th century, thus it’s name. More interestingly, it is supposedly the location British pirate's hidden treasures…although no treasure has ever been found. As one of the Costa Rica's most isolated destinations, Drake Bay doubles as a Lost Paradise, rich with tropical landscapes and abundant wildlife.
National Parks and Refuges
In addition to Corcovado National Park, there are other protected zones near Drake Bay that are a must-see. The Punta Rio Claro National Wildlife Refuge which is located in the small town of Agujitas, and provides a beautiful combination of beach and tropical forest over an area of 500 hectares. Further east, is the Campanario Biological Reserve, and in small town of Los Planes, near Agujitas, the rainforest is ideal for hiking and horseback riding.
Activities on Drake Bay- Let the Adrenaline Rush!
Let the Corcovado Tent Camp help you plan your adventures! Drake Bay is the perfect refuge for a peaceful vacation as well as for those seeking active adventure.
Some activities available include:
- Dolphin and Whale Watching- One of the top attractions in Costa Rica is to jump on a boat and view the variety of whales and dolphins that migrate to the calm waters of Drake Bay to mate and raise their young.
- Sport Fishing in Drake Bay- Drake Bay one of the best places for Sports Fishing in Costa Rica. In fact, over 40 IGFA records have been set within the Osa Peninsula.
- Surf in Drake Bay- A great location for surfing; take a boat to reach the best location full of several areas full of long and powerful waves and swells.
The Corcovado National Park is located on the Southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica in the Osa Peninsula. The park has been referred to as “the most biologically intense place on Earth” by National Geographic. With one visit to this lush tropical paradise you’ll understand why. It has become one of the top eco-tourism destinations of the planet, not to mention Costa rica. It is home to a plethora of wildlife and exotic fauna that are unique to the Osa Peninsula, for it used to be an island thus species had started to evolve separately until it rejoined the mainland.
Flora and Fauna of Corcovado
Corcovado is home to a large population of animals including many endangered species; various types of monkeys, jaguars, ocelots, tapirs, and anteaters to name just a few, a plethora of birds including the resplendent Quetzal and the Red Macaw, amphibians like the Red-Eyed Tree Frog, and of course many reptiles and insects. Corcovado is also close to the Marino Ballena National Park that is the best place to watch whales and dolphins. The humpback whales use these waters as a mating and nursery ground. Corcovado functions as a marine sanctuary, protecting coral reefs, lagoons, rivers and estuaries.
Getting to Corcovado
Most people prefer to fly to the Osa Peninsula as it is one of Costa Rica’s most remote destination and farthest from the capital city of San José. There are two local airlines that offer daily flights from San Jose or Quepos to Drake Bay, Nature Air & Sansa. This is the airport we recommend flying into, as it is the closest to the Corcovado Adventures Tent Camp. From Drake Bay you can hike into the northern ranger station at San Pedrillo or take a 1-½ hour boat ride down the coast to the Sirena Station. Another option is to drive or fly to Palmar Sur, from where you catch a taxi that will take you to Sierpe; from there you take a boat for a mesmerizing and adventurous trip through the mangroves on the river Sierpe. Finally, if you plan on entering the Corcovado National Park through either the Los Patos or Leona Stations – plan on flying to Puerto Jimenez, which is located on the east side of the Osa Peninsula on the Gulf.
Ranger Stations and Trails of Corcovado
Corcovado’s number one activity is of course hiking. There are four main rangers stations in the park, each with its sets of trails.
- The San Pedrillo Ranger Station
- La Sirena Ranger Station
- La Leona Ranger Station
- Los Patos Ranger Station
Enjoy Corcovado National Park- The Most Biologically Intense Place on Earth!
The Corcovado National Park is located on the Southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica on the western side of the Osa Peninsula. The park has been referred to as “the most biologically intense place on Earth” by National Geographic. With one visit to this lush tropical paradise you’ll understand why it has become one of the top eco-tourism destinations on the planet. It is home to a plethora of wildlife and exotic fauna that are unique to the Osa Peninsula. In fact, this part of Costa Rica used to be an island, thus species started to evolve separately until the area rejoined the mainland.
Flora and Fauna of Corcovado
Corcovado is home to a large population of animals including many endangered species; various types of monkeys, jaguars, ocelots, tapirs, and anteaters to name just a few, a plethora of birds including the resplendent Quetzal and the Red Macaw, amphibians like the Red-Eyed Tree Frog, and of course many reptiles and insects. Corcovado is also close to the Marino Ballena National Park, which is the best place to watch whales and dolphins. The humpback whales use these waters as a mating and nursery ground. Corcovado functions as a marine sanctuary, protecting coral reefs, lagoons, rivers and estuaries.
Experience the Best of the Area
Although the area is biologically diverse, accommodations are limited. The Corcovado Tent Camp is rated one of the best lodgings by TripAdvisor.com. It provides an excellent home base for the adventurer, offering it transportation, lodging, and tours of this magnificent area! Stationed in Drake Bay, the largest of the collection of tiny outcrops in Corcovado, the Corcovado Tent Camp has some great tour and activity packages. Don’t miss the Canopy Tour where you can fly high above the trees and observe wildlife from a unique perspective, or Kayaking in Corcovado where the visitor will delight in navigating through the oasis of mangroves. Other great activities offered include:
- Dolphin and Whale Watching in Osa
- Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Cano Island
- Sport Fishing
- Horseback Riding
- A nighttime tour of the jungle!
Hiking in Corcovado
Hiking is magnificent in this wildlife paradise, and Corcovado National Park offers a variety of trails. There are four main ranger stations in the park, each with its own set of trails; these are:
- The San Pedrillo Ranger Station
- La Sirena Ranger Station
- La Leona Ranger Station
- Los Patos Ranger Station
Getting to Corcovado- It’s Part of the Adventure!
Since the Osa Peninsula is one of Costa Rica’s most remote destinations and the furthest from the capital city of San Jose, most people prefer to fly here. Both Nature Air and Sansa (local airlines) offer daily flights from San Jose or Quepos to Drake Bay, which is the closest airport to the Corcovado Adventures Tent Camp.