If you have been following my Instagram feed, you have already seen the best of my Corcovado National Park wildlife adventure. National Geographic called the park the most biologically intense place on the planet. This tidbit has been echoed on just about every blog post and article to the point of cliche. It is one that fits. I would call Corcovado the best wildlife adventure in the Western Hemisphere that I have experienced. I have not been to Yellowstone or Brazil’s Pantanal, but I will soon in order to compare.
Corcovado experience is not cheap
There are two problems with experiencing a Corcovado adventure. It is not cheap. Many travelers do not want to pony up the $120.00-$150.00 a day per person guide fee. There are also fees to enter and stay in the park. You cannot enter Corcovado on your own, so a guide is required.
I met several people outside the park that did not want to pay the hefty Corcovado guide fees and instead hiked at Bolita right outside of the park. Their argument was that animals do not know borders; however, I must refute that ascertain. Animals are acutely aware of borders because civilization lies on those borders as do people who hunt them. Corcovado has been protected since 1975. The animals living inside the park have never known fear of man. For this reason, trekking deep inside the park greatly augments your chance to not only see amazing wildlife, but see it close up. Sure you have the chance to see tapirs and pumas outside the park, but the chances increase tenfold if you hike into Sirena Station with a guide.
Corcovado is not easy
The other issue with a Corcovado trip is the heat and the tough hike in and out of the park. To really maximize the potential to see wildlife, you need to hike to Sirena Station and stay several days. You can fly into the park, but that will add another $80.00 per person per trip, and you will miss the opportunity of seeing wildlife on the hike into the park. When we hiked into Corcovado, the temperature soared to over 100 degrees and 100 percent humidity. It reminded me of my grueling hike in Big Bend National Park, but Corcovado was even hotter and more humid.
The experience is worth it
If you can handle the price, the heat, and the humidity, then you will be rewarded with an incredible wildlife adventure. This is the second time I have been to Corcovado, and I would come back again in a heartbeat. I have never been to a place where there is such a great opportunity to see such beautiful wildlife so up close. Every time we saw a monkey, an anteater, a trogon, the uncomfortable heat became a second thought as we focused on taking pictures of what was in front of us.
Last Corcovado trip set me up for a good experience this time
I last visited the Osa Peninsula in 2012. I unfortunately was referred to the worst guide in the Osa Peninsula. Click on the link below to read about my negative experience. After my guide deserted me, I ran into Nito, along one of the trails. Nito saw I was solo. He was guiding a group, but he pointed me in the direction of wildlife they had just seen. I was immediately impressed with his passion for the park and just how nice he was. After this brief encounter, I spoke with him again at Sirena Station. We kept in touch, so I reached out to him immediately when I planned a return to the Osa Peninsula in Corcovado.
Booked with Surcos Tours
Unfortunately, he was not available to guide when I planned to come. I was disappointed; however, he referred me to his company, and I reached out to Surcos Tours. I told them I was looking to join a small group where I could perhaps save a bit of money instead of reserving a guide just for myself. They replied back in a couple of days letting me know that a couple from Israel and a solo traveler from the Netherlands agreed to let me join their group. This turned out to be great because we really bonded on the trip, and our fitness and adventure level matched perfectly.
We were led by Oscar. He was the nicest guy, and a great guide. He was aware of my previous bad experience in the park and went out of his way to show me that my last guide was an anomaly. After seeing many other guides and the way they interacted with their guests on this trip and also never having a bad experience with a guide before or since except my last Corcovado trip, I now realize I was just unlucky that time.
The highlight of any trek into Corcovado National Park is seeing the endangered Baird’s tapir at Sirena Station. You are almost guaranteed to see them. We saw eight in the three days we were in the park. We saw one the moment we arrived to the station feeding along the edge of the jungle. The next morning we saw a mother and her baby crossing the river. We also saw a mother and a baby crossing the river as we were hiking out on the last day.
Other highlights included an anteater, three types of monkeys, several kinds of trogons, tons of scarlet macaws, toucans, currosows, coatis, peccaries, caiman, crocodiles, sloths, woodpeckers, pelicans, agoutis, hawks, caracaras, tiger herons, oystercatchers, and I could go on and on.
One great advantage of having a guide included the opportunity to take photographs with an iPhone through their telescope. Some of these photos are taken with an iPhone through the telescope and others are taken with a Sony A6000. I have noted the iPhone pictures in the caption.
Corcovado National Park wildlife adventure
I definitely recommend Surcos Tours. Check out their website here.
For a different perspective on my recent trip, check out Fomo Traveler’s post. She was also along on our grueling hike to Sirena Station.
If Corcovado the difficult way does not appeal, the Fomo Travel has just the tip:
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