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Can I handle the hikes in Corcovado National Park?

Seattle, Washington
10 posts
1 review
Can I handle the hikes in Corcovado National Park?

Hello All,

My fiancé and I are going to Costa Rice in December of this year for two weeks. The second week we have a villa in MA and our family will be joining us for a wedding. For the first week we would like to do something more adventurous. I've been reading about the Osa Peninsula and am really excited to see the "real" jungle. We are planning on renting an SUV in San Jose and making our way down to Corcovado stopping probably near Dominical (though I'm open to suggestions on this). My fiancé wants to do the three day hike in Corcovado including camping at the Sirena Ranger Station. As much as I love the outdoors, hiking, and camping, I'm a little weary of a multi-day hike where I may end up with a spider bite on my face that will mar all our wedding pictures.

My questions are this:

How long should we leave ourselves for the drive down from San Jose?

Where do you recommend staying before we hike into the park?

What are we supposed to do with our vehicle and luggage while in the park for 3 days?

How safe is the hike if we hire a guide (I'm a little scared of the river crossing)?

Which guides do you all recommend -- and what should we expect to pay them?

Are there other options on the peninsula that are less extreme and would expose us to same scenery/animals?

Thanks so much!!

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
19,151 posts
62 reviews
1. Re: Can I handle the hikes in Corcovado National Park?

How long should we leave ourselves for the drive down from San Jose?

Both Drake Bay and Puerto Jimenez are usually a 2-day affair. In theory if starting early in the morning you could reach both within sunrise and sunset ... but it is just too much driving. Why not flying?!

Where do you recommend staying before we hike into the park?

As there are two ways to reach La Sirena that depends on which one you will take. I suggest you a compromise; go to Drake Bay, take a boat in and out of La Sirena, and stay at La Sirena for 2 nights.

What are we supposed to do with our vehicle and luggage while in the park for 3 days?

If going to Drake Bay it will stay at secured parking lot in Sierpe. If going to Puerto Jimenez leave it at the lodge you will sleep the night before and after the hike. Also look above re.flying in and/or out.

How safe is the hike if we hire a guide (I'm a little scared of the river crossing)?

It is obligatory to hire a guide to enter in Corcovado NP. Do your research and go with a reputable company like Surcos Tours.

Which guides do you all recommend -- and what should we expect to pay them?

See above; others will add. Prices are better to ask from the outfitter as they may vary.

Are there other options on the peninsula that are less extreme and would expose us to same scenery/animals? Of course. Like staying at one of the eco lodges on Cabo Matapalo. Look at Bosque del Cabo, its property is well known for many trails and excellent wildlife sightings.

Edited: 24 June 2014, 12:33
Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
8 posts
3 reviews
2. Re: Can I handle the hikes in Corcovado National Park?

www.iguanalodge.com/gettinghere/traveling.php

There are a few places on the internet posted by people who have driven to OSO.

My family and i are going in a few weeks but flying all the way. The site above is where we are staying. In terms of guides, check out the info on the site also. I read that the guides have to be "certified" in some manner, and are very professional. I think the only worries will be spiders, which seems to be my girls biggest one! And crocodiles.

Edited: 25 June 2014, 20:10
Brighton, United...
Level Contributor
315 posts
28 reviews
3. Re: Can I handle the hikes in Corcovado National Park?

Where do you recommend staying before we hike into the park?

--> I liked Cabinas Tropicales in Puerto Jimenez, depends what you want I guess.

What are we supposed to do with our vehicle and luggage while in the park for 3 days?

--> I stayed at Cabinas Tropicales, they look after stuff for you. I'm sure most other places will too.

How safe is the hike if we hire a guide (I'm a little scared of the river crossing)?

--> All good! I was scared of the river crossing, until I saw it was ankle deep at both the rivers we crossed! Almost felt cheated by the lack of crocodiles! Really, it's fine :-) The trails are mainly flat, well maintained and it's all very civilised. You're probably not going to be scrambling through much undergrowth, unless you're chased by something big... (JOKE! ha ha!)

Which guides do you all recommend -- and what should we expect to pay them?

Nito, or any other from Surcos Tours. Definitely another vote for them! tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g309284-…

This is going to be the highlight of your trip, they're worth it! Email Estela...

Are there other options on the peninsula that are less extreme and would expose us to same scenery/animals?

--> You should go here, not so extreme, it's amazing! My favourite place :-) I booked second trip as soon as I got home last year and went out again to Sirena in April. As for bites, I got none there on my last trip. I had sprayed clothes with repellent and was covered in Off! so I had no problems. Also, I went for long trousers, no ticks or anything, yay! I only had little vest tops and the one issue I did have was an allergic-like reaction after a run-in with what my guide called a 'fire plant'. Think it was one of the nettle family, hurt like hell. Spiders were big in Sirena, but photogenic, pretty static and harmless. I was so stressed before my first visit but it's totally worth it and not particularly scary at all! Go for it! x

Brighton, United...
Level Contributor
315 posts
28 reviews
4. Re: Can I handle the hikes in Corcovado National Park?

(should probably add river depth depends on time crossed/ tides, your guide will know these. No need to worry!)

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
19,151 posts
62 reviews
5. Re: Can I handle the hikes in Corcovado National Park?

Just a notice that the hike Catfee has done was from La Sirena to La Leona (she used Alfa Romeo to fly in La Sirena). This hike although long is more or less on flat grounds, following the beach. Parts of it are on the beach itself. If you are going to hike in (or out) via Los Patos that is entirely different story (hike).

Do go with a reputable guide. I have read reports of hikers having to wade chest deep into river … not fun when bull sharks might be around. Not to scare you just to make you prepared, OP.

Brighton, United...
Level Contributor
315 posts
28 reviews
6. Re: Can I handle the hikes in Corcovado National Park?

Good point xelas-, sorry. I didn't do the Los Patos one! The most strenuous trail we did was the up-down Corcovado sendero from Sirena. Lovely views, not so bad with a stick to take the strain off the knees, saw no other people on it, trail not so tidy, was nice. I recommend the Alfa Romeo plane option, awesome pilot and the bumpy landing strip was fun (I'm a VERY nervous flyer and I loved it, so you'll be fine!). Also, you can fly in all your food/ water and look at the trees from above :-) I walked out the La Leona trail the second time and it wasn't a difficult walk. Some people behind were struggling with the heat though, I think I was so excited I didn't care! Didn't see many animals on the way back, although the views were stunning. Top tip for walk back- soak scarf/ sarong in river and wrap loosely round neck. Will keep you cool for ages. Also, slap on way too much suncream, the beach part was a scorcher!

PS- we did see sharks in the sea, and stingray in the river and lots of other little fish!

Seattle, Washington
10 posts
1 review
7. Re: Can I handle the hikes in Corcovado National Park?

Any comments about the level of psyical difficulty? I'm from Seattle so I know the heat and humidity will take a toll .... Is this an exhausting day or is there enough time to stroll in and really see the wildlife?

8. Re: Can I handle the hikes in Corcovado National Park?

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