Parque Nacional Corcovado, most biologically intense place on Earth

Parque Nacional Corcovado, most biologically intense place on Earth

The Corcovado National Park is located on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.

While the park is one of the more remote in the national park system, Corcovado provides excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

Flora and fauna in the Corcovado N.P.
National Geographic called Corcovado National Park the "most biologically intense place on Earth" and this is no exaggeration. All four of the monkeys species found within Costa Rica (Mantled Howler, Squirrel Monkey, Spider Monkey and White-faced Capuchin) exist in large numbers throughout the park. Two crocodilians (the occasionally large and saline tolerant American Crocodile and the small Spectacled Caiman) persist within all of the park's major waterways, as do Bull sharks. The Jaguar population within the park is the healthiest in all of Central America, however it is still extremely unlikely for a visitor to spot one (most locals have never seen them either.) Many other elusive cats call the park home as well, including the Puma (which is slightly smaller and more arboreal in Central American than in the United States, probably due to competition with the Jaguar,) Ocelot, Jaguarundi and Margay. The park is one of the last strongholds of the Baird's Tapir and there are hundreds within decent proximity from Sirena Station, usually found lounging in the shade or in shallow pools of stagnant water. There are dozens of snake species present, many of them venomous, including the Fer-de-lance (also known as terciopelo or "Costa Rican landmine",) the Bushmaster, the Eyelash Pit Viper, and the Coral Snake. The largest snake within the park is the non-venomous Boa Constrictor. Numerous other small mammals and reptiles are common within the park including, but by no means limited to, the White-nosed Coati, Sloth, Tamandua, Giant Anteater, Basilisk, and Ctenosaur. Birds include the highly endangered Scarlet Macaw, the Tiger Heron, Black Vulture and the Toco Toucan, among hundreds of others including the critically endangered Harpy Eagle.

Getting there by bus:
Regular bus service is available to Puerto Jimenez. Passenger truck service from Puerto Jimenez to the southern entrance at Carate occurs on a biweekly or greater basis. The journey generally takes between 3-5 hours by road depending on weather, traffic conditions. In May 2007 passenger trucks were on a twice a day schedule (morning, and late afternoon).

Getting there by 4WD:
All roads on the Osa Peninsula exhibit the disrepair characteristic of Costa Rica outside of the main tourist destinations. The road from Puerto Jimenez to Carate require a 4WD vehicle as it is a gravel road with several required river fordings. It recommended that this drive should only be attempted during the dry season. Note that Carate is next to the beach. Take care not to pass Carate as it is poorly marked. Parking is available by paying the store/bus stop which is Carate.

4WD Taxis are available for the passage from Puerto Jiminez to Carate. They are easy to find on the main strip of Puerto Jiminez.

Fees and permits:
Permits must be reserved in advance. You must have a permit to stay overnight at Sirena. In practice, the Park often allows campers with their own food to enter without advance reservations and prepayment, but during busy times of the year even the camping areas are filled, especially Sirena Ranger Station. Sirena is the only ranger station that offers dormitory lodging and hot meals in addition to camping. La Leona, San Pedrillo, and Los Patos offer only camping with no food service. It is possible to secure park permits directly from the Ranger Station in Puerto Jiménez. They also do accept credit cards now (visa/master). Reservations can be made through the park's information blog, Corcovado Blog Informativo www.pncorcovado.com. The English version of this blog is not operational as of Jan 22, 2009. Scroll to the bottom of the Spanish site where you can request a permit through an online contact form. Please note that the Park Service (MINAE) does not issue park permits more than one month in advance of anticipated arrival.

Vendors to assist with obtaining permits:

CafeNet El Sol offers a reservation service for a fee of $25, details on their Corcovado www.soldeosa.com page, enabling travelers to obtain their permits in advance by credit card payment without having to travel to Puerto Jiménez or carry cash to the Park.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.Based on a work at Wikitravel.org & Traveldudes.org.

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