We traveled to many of the U.S. National Parks for their magnificent scenery. If we think all national parks are alike, consider Corcovado National Park, located on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, and compare it to Everglades National Park in Florida. Even though the Everglades is 15 times larger than Corcovado, Corcovado has many more species. The Everglades has 68 species of amphibians and reptiles versus 117 in Corcovado;
What more did we need to know? Visiting Corcovado was first on our list of things to do in the Osa Peninsula with our grandsons, cousins 10 and 11 years old, in tow.
One of the reasons Corcovado is so rich in biodiversity is that it’s quite remote. The only way to get there is by air or boat. Since the park is a protected area, visitors must be accompanied by a guide.
We traveled to Corcovado National Park in a small motorboat from La Paloma Lodge with our guide. There is no dock at the San Pedrillo ranger station. The boat came in as close as it could to the beach. We took off our shoes, rolled up our pant legs, and climbed into the surf to walk up to the beach.
The hike started as we waded across the mouth of a small river and into the forests.
In the forest, there was so much to hear (many different species of birds and monkeys calling), so much to be aware of (don’t touch poisonous plants), watch your step (having heard about one guide’s near-death experience being bitten by a snake) ….
Howler monkeys moved across trees far up in the canopy, an owl butterfly graced a nearby tree, a green kingfisher flew as we came down the path. We observed scat on the path from a puma. A blue morpho butterfly fluttered nearby.
In the afternoon, we hiked uphill on a muddy path overlooking crocodiles resting at the river’s edge. (Better not slip, we told ourselves!) We forded a river and not long after came to a waterfall.
By the end of the day, we had seen 3 of the 4 monkey species in Costa Rica: the white faced capuchin, howling, and spider monkeys. We had seen the very large garlic tree (Caryocar costaricense) – one of the “rare, endemic and threatened trees of the Osa Peninsula”. And the grandchildren had played in the waterfall.
We were all excited by how much we had seen, but we know that what we experienced is such a small part of what is possible in amazing Corcavado. When can we go back?