Corcovado National Park: wild life and sore feet

We were sitting in the common room at our hostel in San Jose, checking the bus schedule for San Jose-Drake Bay – we were headed to Corcovado National Park on the SW coast of Costa Rica and would enter from the north in Drake Bay.  Seemed like the only bus was at 7 am and got in at 3 and then there was a half hour taxi ride and a 2 hour boat ride to Drake Bay. The bus would go through Quepos, which is not very direct. We were exhausted from all the early mornings from Rara Avis and Tortuguero and were really not excited for the next day. My dad decided to check the plane schedule, and the flight left SJ at 7 am and arrived in Drake Bay at 8 am. Even better, the next day was my mom’s birthday. So happy birthday Mommy… (we sang to her on the plane!)

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Corcovado is in red. Drake Bay is just to the north. Thanks somebody from Germany for this map.

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We had a private airplane- my dad was feeling pretty bad about the carbon until we arrived and there were a half-dozen people getting on for the flight back to SJ
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The first part of the flight was over mountains...

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...And the next part was over the coast! See how the rivers drop their sediment into the ocean

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On arrival to Drake Bay, the Taxi driver told us that the 8 km ride from the airport (long gravel landing strip and a bathroom whose toilet has no seat) to the town would cost 8 dollars each. Being stubborn, and thinking there would be other options, we decided to start walking, only to realise that it was the only taxi (and possibly the only 4-wheeled vehicle) in town! Jake and I could hardly walk 400 m at a time with the huge packs on our backs. Then we got to a river we had to cross. Some locals showed us the shallowest place to walk through it. As we crossed it, the taxi drove by us in the opposite direction. It looked like a pickup truck with a raised back that had some seats in it. It is like that because of the river that flows across the road. He told us that he would be back in an hour. So my dad and I started walking there, and Jake and my mom stayed and waited for the taxi with the
packs. When we arrived in the small village we went our our hotel “Martina’s Place”, where we met our Guide for Corcovado, Rodolfo. The next morning, we would board a boat at 6 am that would bring us south along the coast to a ranger station in the park. But until then we were free, so we went to the beach and to the “Heladeria” (ice cream shop) for my mom’s birthday.

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On our way to Sirena, Corcovado National Park, with our guide Rodolfo
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After a very wavy two-hour boat ride, We have arrived!
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Some wealthy tourists arrive here by airplane. Even the Drake Bay airport was more sophisticated than this!

The Ranger station had a lot of services: kitchen, WiFi, covered area to pitch your tent, Restaurant, rooms for rent, and my dad got excited when he saw Solar Panels! We brought and cooked our own food and slept in our tent.

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The Sirena Ranger Station

Our Guide Rodolpho was fantastic. He was really committed to helping us find all sorts of wildlife, and would take us on long hikes and pause all along the way to listen and look up, down, and all around. The day we arrived we hiked 5 hours then went out again before dark for 2 more – we were trying to find a tapir. Second day the hike started at 4:15AM – 30 minutes before there was any light – we were back 4 hours later. After eating, we set out for another 6 hour hike .. the last 2 hours focused on finding the elusive tapir.
Corcovado is known as Costa Rica’s most important park. National Geographic says it is the most biologically diverse place on earth. Here’s some of the stuff we saw along the way:

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Collared Peccary. These are friendly, but the White Lipped Peccary is the most dangerous animal in Central America!
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Scarlet Macaw

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Spectacled owl
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Spider Monkeys use their tails as a 5th limb

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White Faced Capuchin Monkey

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Toucan

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The locals call this the "Gringo Tree" because it's "always red and peeling"
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I wonder if Army Camo was inspired by this!
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Coati:mundi the males are solitary, but the females live in huge groups. We saw three big coati groups!
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A cool river swim mid-way through the hike was much appreciated. A chance to cool off, take off those rubber boots and massage the feet!

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My dad liked to record the sound of the Howler Monkeys with our video camera. He's getting a photo of the tarantula here

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Rodolfo carried around his big scope everywhere, but it sure came in handy!

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This picture was taken through the eye piece of the scope. Look at the resolution!
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Rodolfo was amazing at spotting the animals and identifying them

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There are two kinds of sloths in Corcovado. We posted a photo of the 3 toed slot at Monteverde. Here we found the 5 toed sloth.

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This Puma track was not here an hour ago! Sadly, we didn't see the cat itself.

Cool stuff, eh? We were definitely rewarded for all our hiking. And what was day 3? Oh, yeah, we hiked 20 kilometres out of the park. With rubber boots on. We had to go across two rivers, and much of the hike was on sand beach in the heat of the day. Ready, Set, Go.

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Crossing Rio Claro

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"Just a bit sore"

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Coconut break!

Part way through, Rodolfo showed us a cave with little bats in it!

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We left at 7:30 am. We finished hiking at 3 pm. The last 4 kilometres, I thought I was going to faint. You should have seen the joy on my face when Rodolfo said “200 metres left!”. When we got to the end, all I wanted to do was go out for ice cream, put my feet up, and relax. Guess what we got to do instead? Squish ourselves into the back of a truck for two hours as we got driven back to Puerto Jimenez on bumpy, bumpy roads.

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Our reward of hiking 20 kilometres!

That car had no ventilation at the back, so imagine how happy we were to get out, shower, have some fish dinner and ice cream, and go to bed! Even better, our room had three double beds so Jake and I got our own. 🙂
Kaia

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3 thoughts on “Corcovado National Park: wild life and sore feet”

  1. Hi Douglas Family,
    I’m really enjoying your adventures and I’m learning a lot about the places and things you are experiencing, Keep sending the great blogs.
    ps. Happy Birthday, Yvonne.

    Like

  2. Hi Douglas Family
    What an amazing adventure… Thanks for sharing your photos and stories! I love the wildlife shots.
    Happy Birthday Yvonne 🙂

    Like

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