The Corcovado National Park is considered the crowning jewel of Costa Rica’s national parks and reserves. A wildlife holiday in Costa Rica should include a visit to Corcovado on the itinerary as it is considered one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth – visitors are guaranteed a full and varied wildlife experience. The park, located on the Osa Peninsula on the country’s southwest coast, is also a triumph for conservationists, who have managed to bring the area back after many years of commercial destruction.
A Rare Breed
The Corcovado National Park is the country’s largest national park and covers an area of 424 kilometres – a third of the Osa Peninsula. Corcovado is one of the few remaining lowland tropical rainforests capable of supporting a diverse population of larger jungle animals, due to minimal human activity in the area. Consequently, a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica that includes a visit to the park is (as of February 2014) required to be led by an expert professional guide, knowledgeable about minimising the environmental impact on the area.
There are two main tracks for visitors to follow in the park, originating from the two main access points of either Puerto Jimenez or Drake Bay. The inland track, considered the more moderate path, provides a wildlife holiday in Costa Rica that will not be easily forgotten. The endless number of species available to be seen include some more reclusive ones, such as the endangered Baird’s Tapir and the rare Harpy Eagle. More commonly seen animals include all four of the country’s monkey species: the White-faced Capuchin, Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey, the Mantled Howler and the Central American Squirrel Monkey. Other mammals frequently spotted included the Two-toed and Three-toed Sloth, Northern Tamandua and the Silky Anteater – not to mention the amazing array of reptiles and birds that make the park home.
The second track, considered the more strenuous of the two, takes visitors along the coastline from the northwest to the southeast. Here, visitors can frequently see Bull Sharks, American Crocodiles and Manatees, during the right season. The coastline is also home to a huge abundance of waterfowl and Corcovado provides the ideal habitat for all five of the Central American feline species: the rare Jaguar, Margay, Ocelot, Puma and Jaguarundi.
A wildlife holiday in Costa Rica will be exceedingly rewarding wherever you chose to visit. However, it is widely acknowledged that the experience of visiting the Corcovado National Park is unique, due to the park’s prolific wildlife population contained within such a condensed area. The extensive conservation efforts that have nurtured and preserved the park in its natural glory should not be missed, and can’t help but leave visitors with a greater sense of respect and awe for the natural world in which we live.