The Corcovado National Park was my first tropical hike. My inability to contain my excitement was evident, and the smile on my face was irrepressible. After arriving at the airport in San Jose, we drove five hours to the Corcovado National Park. The park is located in the Osa Peninsula and covers an area of 164 square miles. Corcovado National Park has 23 miles of beaches and was called “the most biologically intense place on earth” by National Geographic.The Corcovado National Park is the biggest national park in the country, and it protects one third of nature and wildlife on the Osa Peninsula.
The first part of the drive was perfect, but the last two hours of driving were on a gravel road and not pleasant at all. A 4×4 solid car is therefore absolutely necessary for anyone wanting to go to the Corcovado National Park! Furthermore, a constant brume blinded our sight, making our drive quite intimidating. We arrived at the Corcovado Wild Hostel in Puerto Jimenez, exhausted yet satisfied of our journey so far.
A 5:00 am meetup with our tour guide at the local town bakery certainly gave us our motivation back. Puerto Jimenez is the largest town of the Osa Peninsula, with a population of 9000. After picking up local pastries for our breakfast, our guide hopped in our car and off we were to start our guided tour. Unfortunately, our hike to Carate was cancelled due to the hurricane that had hit the country prior to our arrival. Luckily, we were still able to go to Matapalo, where we hiked for hours in the jungle. The 4×4 was extremely useful, as we drove on gravel road filled with holes and deep puddles the entire time.
Once arrived, we saw a variety of wildlife. A massive amount of species inhabit the park. There are 117 types of amphibians and reptiles, such as the American crocodile, sea turtles and poison dart frogs; 375 types of birds, including the rare harpy eagle; 4 types of monkeys (the squirrel monkey, mantled howler, white-faced capuchin and spider monkey), 124 types of mammals, including jaguars, pumas, raccoons, anteaters, sloths and the endangered tapir; 70 types of marine crabs and 66 types of fish. A piece of advice, if you see a pack of monkeys passing by (and especially if some are carrying babies), do not get too close to them too fast. They will take this as an attack and get extremely aggressive. It is better to just blend in and not make sudden movements, until they get used to your presence. I made the mistake of wanting to take pictures too close, without approaching them carefully enough, and they took it as an attack on them. I quickly hid behind my guide, terrified that the pack of monkeys would attack me, and eventually they went away. Lesson learned.
We didn’t have much luck with the weather that day. The sky was grey and we had light rain during our entire hike. Considering we picked the middle of the rainy season to visit, we couldn’t blame anyone but ourselves. But who cares? The rain completely let my inner Indiana Jones out, and as a result, it made me feel like nothing could stop me. I could feel my soul longing for adventure, and I knew that this was only the beginning of one, incredible trip.