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The diversity found on the Osa peninsula is not significantly surpassed by any other region of similar size on earth.

Gary Hartshorn’s enthusiasm was only surpassed by the forest’s when he wrote in Costa Rican Natural History that “these forest are by far the most exuberant in Central America. In fact, the Corcovado forests are just as impressive in height as the best forests I have seen in the Amazon basin or the dipterocarp forests of Malaysia and Indonesia.” He goes on to note “The Corcovado forests exemplify the popular conception of the tropical rain forest, with a multitude of species, very tall trees, spectacular buttresses, large woody lianas and abundant herbaceous vines. Daniel Janzen, the editor of the same volume speculated that the peninsula contained the complete tropical insect ecosystem from Mexico to Panama.


Corcovado National Park is the backpacking experience of a lifetime. It encompases the only remaining old growth wet forests on the Pacific coast of Central America, and 13 major ecosystems including lowland rain forest, highland cloud forest, jolillo palm forest, and mangrove swamps, as well as costal marine and beach habitats. There is a good chance of spotting some of Costa Rica’s shyest and most endangered inhabitants here; Baird’s Tapirs, Jaguars, Scarlet Macaws, Harpy Eagles, Red-backed squirrel monkeys and White-lipped Peccaries. It is wet, remote and rugged, but the trails are relatively good, and the camping areas near the ranger stations are grassy and well drained.

If you have ever imagined yourself swimming up to a deserted golden sand beach lined with coconut palms, then rinsing off under a waterfall surrounded by the verdure of the rainforest. Then you’ll find Corcovado’s 23 miles (39 km) of beaches appealing. We walked 11 miles (18 km) of beach one day and saw one other person. Take care where you swim, there are areas where hammerhead sharks school (there has never been a reported attack), and crocodiles are common in Corcovado Lagoon and the estuaries of the Ríos Claro and Sirena.

In the region:

As a ferry terminal and the end of the bus line, the town of Puerto Jimenez serves as an unofficial gateway to Corcovado. It has developed into a budget travelers haven, with a large number of inexpensive cabinas, restaurants, travel services and rental outlets. You can easily arrange for transportation into the park, as well as guide service, or a tour if you desire one. Bicycles, sea kayaks and horses are also available for rent or as part of a tour.

When to visit:

You will probably get wet whenever you visit Corcovado, but it’s a sure bet August through November. If you will be camping, you probably want to try for the drier months of January through April. If you have the fortitude to withstand afternoon showers and a really good drenching or two, a visit during the rainy season will be rewarded with empty trails and better wildlife viewing in the absence of the crowds.

Quick Facts


13 feet (4,000 mm) of rain fall annually. The drier months are January through April. the wettest are September and October.


103,000 acres (4,178 hectares, 161 square miles, 122 times the size of Central Park NYC, and 4/10ths the size of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado)


Sea level to 2,444 feet (745 meters) on Cerros Rincón and Mueller.


Lowland rain forest, highland cloud forest, jolillo palm forest, and mangrove swamps, costal marine, and beach habitats.


All four of the monkey species (including the highly endangered Red-backed squirrel monkey), and all six of the feline species found in Costa Rica inhabit Corcovado. All four of the sea turtle species that nest in Costa Rica visit the beaches of Corcovado as well. Over 40 species of frogs including red-eyed tree, rain, glass, dink, and poison arrow varieties, dozens of snakes including a variety of Boas and the dreaded bushmaster, as well as 28 species of lizards. More than 100 species of butterflies and at least 10,000 other insects call the Osa peninsula home (including a few you may wish were endangered). More than 400 species of birds including 16 different hummingbirds and the largest number of Scarlet macaws anywhere in Central America.

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Category: Places to visit

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2 Responses to Corcovado National Park

  1. Herbal Menopause says:

    Hola a todos. Estaba navegando por Internet y encontre tu sitio web. Estupenda informacion. Muchas gracias por compartir tu experiencia! Es bueno saber que algunas personas ponen esfuerzo en la gestión de sus sitios web. Voy a estar seguro volver de vez en cuando.

  2. Mr Ezy says:

    Great post!

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