Did you know that the best National Park in the World is just down the road for those living in Costa Rica? Corcovado National Park was named as the best park on the planet.

Costa Rica’s natural wealth certainly does capture the world’s attention.  And this time it is all about Corcovado National Park, which was named the #1 National Park and the best park on the planet. This ranking list “The Top 10 National Parks in the World” was published by the travel company “Discover Corps” on September 13th.

How did Corcovado win this recognition?

Well, the natural treasures hidden in the Park have a lot to do with this ranking.   Its biological diversity is so wealthy that it is believed no other place in the world has such a range of diversity. Even National Geographic Magazine described it as “the most intense place in the world, biologically speaking.  It is estimated that no other place in the world, in similar size, hosts a larger biological diversity”.

sloth at the Park
Momma 3-toed sloth and her baby

This beautiful National Park located on the Osa Peninsula has 500 species of trees, 140 species of mammals, 367 species of birds, 40 species of fresh-water fish, and 117 species of amphibians.  The Discovery Corps article does mention the wealth and beauty found in every one of the protected areas around the world.  However, it goes on to highlight the conservation of its flora and fauna, as well as its stunning landscapes found in this Park.  The article states, “the volume and the variety of wildlife you will find there is incredible.  The four Costa Rican monkey species, two kinds of sloths, alligators, crocodiles, poisonous frogs, and hundreds of colorful birds, among others.  Located in front of the Park, is Caño Island (“Stream Island”) which offers exceptional scuba diving”.

Next to Corcovado, there are other exceptional Parks such as Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Galápagos in Ecuador, Grand Canyon in the United States, Jim Corbett in India, Krüger in South Africa, Manú in Perú, Tarangire in Tanzania, Tikal in Guatemala and, closing the list, Torres del Paine in Chile.  So if you have a craving to go to the best National Park in the World, here is a quick guide:

How do you get to Puerto Jiménez, the entry point to Corcovado National Park?

Puerto Jimenez beach
Puerto Jimenez beach

By Road:  From San José, you can take the Inter-American highway to La Chacarita gas station, and then take the right turn onto the main road that takes you directly into Puerto Jiménez. Approximate duration: 7 hours.

By Bus:  From San José, you can take the Transportes Blanco Lobo’s direct-bus along the Inter-American highway to Puerto Jiménez. The station is about 50 meters from the San Carlos bus stop.  Departure schedule: 8 a.m. and 12 pm. Approximate duration: 9 hours.  There is another way to consider though. Take the Transportes Tracopa bus to Golfito.  Then, by boat across the Golfo Dulce to Puerto Jiménez.

By Plane:  There are two airlines with daily flights: Sansa and Nature Air.  Sansa has flights to Drake Bay, Puerto Jiménez, and Golfito. Nature Air has flights to Drake Bay, Carate, Puerto Jiménez, and Golfito. Duration to Puerto Jiménez: 1 hour.

By Boat:  There are two options: from Golfito across the Golfo Dulce to Puerto Jiménez, or from the inland village of  Sierpe, which is nestled right on the Sierpe River.  You can drive to Sierpe from Palmar Norte, and then take the boat to Drake Bay which is another entry point into the Park. Its duration is about 1 ½ hours or 45 minutes.

How do we make reservations for the Sirena Ranger Station at Corcovado National Park?

camping at the park
Camping at the Park

Initially, you must contact the booking site at [email protected], request the reservation form; complete and then submit it to the same e-mail.  The Park regulates the number of visitors entering and leaving the Park.   If the dates are available, then make a reservation payment through Banco Nacional de Costa Rica (BCR).

There are four Park ranger stations (Patos, La Leona, San Pedrillo and Sirena). The most important of them is the Sirena’s Ranger Station as it is the administrative center of Corcovado National Park and the largest station.  The facilities include lodging available with shared bedrooms, or covered platforms for camping.  It also offers a prepaid meals service for visitors.

Fares:

Park’s Entrance

Nationals:        1,600 ¢ per person/per day.

Foreigners:      $10.00 US per person/per day

Fares may vary without any previous warning.

Camping Service:

You must bring your own tent for camping

Nationals and Foreigners:       $4.00 US

Shared bedrooms at Park lodge: (only available at Sirena Station)

You must bring your sheets, blankets, mosquito nets, etc.

Nationals and Foreigners:       $8.00 US

Meals Service:  (only available at Sirena Station)

Nationals:   Breakfast: 4,000 ¢. Lunch: 5,000 ¢. Dinner: 5,000 ¢.

Foreigners:  Breakfast: $15.00 US. Lunch: $20.00 US. Dinner: $20.00 US.

Recommended Tours:

On any single day, you have the opportunity to watch a great variety of wildlife such as monkeys, anteaters, limpets, hummingbirds, tanagers, hawks, big herons, wild goats, and many other species. If you are really lucky, you may even see a tapir, a sloth, or even a puma.

Whale and Dolphin Watching Tours: ($110.00 US)

Riding along with dolphins
Riding along with dolphins

Includes: Boat and captain, certified bilingual guide, and ICT certificate (issued by the Tourism Board), lunch, and drinkable water.

Departure: 7:30 a.m. Return: between 1:30 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. The tour departs from Drake Bay, and cruises between Caño Island and Corcovado National Park for approximately 4 or 5 hours. If you are lucky, you will observe different dolphin and whale species visiting these waters.  Along the way, the boat stops at some favorite quiet beach for lunch.  After having lunch, it will begin the return to Drake Bay.

Tour: Corcovado San Pedrillo Station & Caño Island ($135.00 US)

cano island park
snorkeling  at Cano Island

Includes: Entrance tickets to the Park, certified ICT guide complete with a telescope, boat and captain, picnic-style lunch at San Pedrillo Station, snorkeling gear.

Departure: 6.30 a.m. Return: between 2:00 p.m. and 2.30 p.m. The tour starts from Drake Bay with a 30-minute boat trip along the coastline to San Pedrillo Station.  Here you will be met by the Park guide who will take you on a 3-hour walk to observe the local flora and fauna.  Lunch at the Station, and then a 30-minute boat trip to Caño Island where you will be provided all the gear for snorkeling the coral reefs there.  After approximately 1 hour, you begin the boat ride back to Drake Bay.

With the best Park in the World right here, be sure to make the time to visit.  If you would like some help on getting this all organized, please contact us.

 

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