Sirena Ranger Station is in the heart of the Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica. Although there is a ranger station there, it is in the middle of the jungle and there is absolutely nothing around except trees and animals. You will have to carry in most of your provisions.
How are you entering and departing the park
The first question you have to ask yourself is how are you entering and leaving the park. There are three options to enter the park: boat, plane, by foot. If you are entering or leaving by foot, then it limits what you can bring in as you will have to carry provisions in a backpack for 6-8 hours. If you are taking a boat or plane in, although it is more expensive, will give you more latitude on what you can bring in.
The guides in the park pretty much all wear high rubber boats like the LL Bean boot (see the photo above of my guide, Felix, with his boots). This is especially recommended during the rainy season (May through November). Hiking boots can be worn, but the muddy trails will test them. Even gore-tex rainproof boots will fail when submerged in water and mud for extended periods of time. Boots are not allowed inside the ranger station, so make sure to have a camp shoe like a vibram or teva sandal to wear once done hiking the trails.
Bring a flashlight and candles
They have a generator at Sirena, and they turn on the lights from 6pm-8pm. Once the lights go out it is really dark there, especially in the rainy season when the days are shorter. Bring a flashlight and candles for your room.
Bring something to drink or smoke
Once you are done hiking there is not much to do around camp. Once they turn off the lights most people go to bed. They do this more out of boredom than from fatigue. I would recommend bringing a bottle of whiskey and some cigars to make the evening time a little more fun. This of may not be possible if hiking into the park, but I have always found room in my pack for a whiskey bottle. If you do this I guarantee you will make some good friends. I am not saying it is a good place to get hammered, but a stiff drink to relax hiking muscles would hit the spot.
Bring your own food
They do have a restaurant at Sirena Station, but the meals are ridiculously priced at $20.00 per person per meal. They have a communal kitchen where you can cook your own food. There is a supermarket in Puerto Jimenez where you can stock up. If you do not have a stove you will have to bring a lot of cold snacks. You may be able to borrow a stove at Sirena if you do not have one. The guides all have stoves there.
Bring your laptop
Believe it or not, they have wi-fi at Sirena. If you can bring in your laptop then you will have internet access. This also may be contingent on how you are getting to the ranger station.
This is I hope common sense, but when you visit a rain forest, it is a good idea to have a complete set of rain gear. This includes rain protection for your pack.
Contact lenses and a mirror
For those that wear glasses, I would recommend bringing contacts. My glasses kept fogging up in the humid jungle especially when looking into cameras, telescopes, and binoculars. There are no mirrors in the bathrooms so bring your own.
I was pleasantly surprised that the mosquitoes were not that bad. I figured in the rainy season in a rain forest in Costa Rica that they mosquitoes would be merciless. They were present, but they were tolerable. I would still recommend bringing repellant though.
Tent and sleeping bag
They have hostel type rooms there with sleeping pads, so mattresses and tents are not necessarily needed. If these rooms are all booked up, which often they are in the dry season, then you will need a tent.
If you have been to Corcovado, and you feel I have left out something important, please leave a comment on what I missed.
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