Corcovado National Park
There are a lot of ways to see Corcovado National Park (the “Jewel of Costa Rica”).
Corcovado National Park is a fantastic place, and we highly recommend it. We have gone in many times, and even done a “marathon run” through the park in one day – entering from Los Patos, through Sirena, and out through Carate… what a day! (See more description below).
Within the canopy you may see four kinds of monkeys, tayras, anteaters, sloths, etc, as well as many exotic birds. On the ground if you are very lucky you may see some of the big cats: jaguars, pumas, ocelots, jaguarundis, margay cats. Easier to spot are tapirs, peccaries, and deer. Meanwhile, near the river mouth at high tide you may see large bull sharks swimming up the Sirena River mixing with American Crocodiles.
Remember, hiking through the park is hot and humid (you are in the tropics!). Many travelers find it harder than they expected, although we don’t feel like it’s particularly hard. (We are used to the climate, after all.) Your hike from Sirena will take anywhere between six to eight hours (11 to 16 miles) depending upon your route, Carate or Los Patos, respectively.
Guides are required in the park. You must take a guide with you. Guides are great anyway, because they likely will see and hear much more than you will, and you will learn a lot as you go – and you won’t get lost! We can personally attest to the fact that it is a long hike, and the fact that you need to move fairly quickly to get out of the park before nightfall. Remember: it is hot here (not to mention humid) and you will want to carry and drink a lot of water.
You can either drive to a park entrance (Carate is the most common) and hike in or boat into the Heart of the Park called Sirena. You can do a combo boat in/hike out, etc. There are a lot of great ways to enjoy the park!
The drive from Iguana to Carate is about two hours – and the boat takes about as long. If you choose the boat option – the boat leaves around 6 AM on Tuesdays or Fridays, or you can hire a private boat. There is no dock at Sirena so getting in and out of the boat is for adventuresome travelers.
If driving from Iguana, you arrive in Carate, and then have about an hour’s walk on the beach to the park entrance near Carate. From there, you can either hike on trails at Corcovado Tent Camp, or head straight into the park. If you are only going for the day, you will hike in and out on the same trail.
Another one of our yearly hikes is to hike in through Los Patos and out through Carate in one day. It is about a 35 miles hike…not for the faint of heart! It’s like a marathon, with no time to see much except what is directly under your feet. (Definitely not for most people, but we have definitely had some good times with guests, family, friends, and our employees).
Please note that in the past couple years it has become more difficult to acquire permits to go into the park – which are mandatory. So, if you plan to go into the park, please let us know ahead of time so that we can work on this with plenty of advance notice.
Spending the night in the park can be arranged – and is only recommended for (once again) the “hearty traveler.”
Check out more info in the Iguana Lodge Recommended Tour Book here.