Corcovado National Park. The Ultimate Guide (Part 1)

Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful, diverse, and remote rainforests on the planet. It is the ultimate adventure for any true nature lover. Either you come with us in our tour from Manuel Antonio, or you go on your own, we want to give you all the local information you need to enjoy this mystical national park.

Corcovado National Park from Manuel Antonio


Corcovado National Park in the South Pacific of Costa Rica is one of the world’s most remote however magnificent rainforests. With half the species found in Costa Rica (Which is already highly diverse), this area teems with wildlife inland as much as its marine zones. Wherever you look, you will find an intense and beautiful scenario.

Where is Corcovado National Park?

Corcovado National Park is set in the Osa Peninsula; it also encompasses Piedras Blancas National Park and the Golfito Wildlife Reserve.


When we think about this fantastic preserve, we must first realize it is pretty big, as it holds 40% of the total land of the Osa Peninsula. It has two main entrance points:

  • Drake Bay
  • Carate (Estación La Leona)

If you happen to be in one of our Corcovado National Park tours from Manuel Antonio, we will go by boat straight to the middle, in between these two points.


How to Get To Corcovado National Park?

The best places on Earth aren’t always the easiest to get to, like Costa Rica’s iconic Corcovado National Park. The park is mainly accessible by boat or small plane and is located in the southwest corner of Costa Rica on a vast peninsula.

You may also get to Drake Bay or the entrance of Carate beach by car, but not to the Corcovado National Park itself.

Can you drive to the Corcovado National Park?

Driving to the vicinity of the Corcovado National Park in the sunny season is quite possible, complicated, but possible, as you have to go across creeks and rivers that, in the dry period are pretty dry. In the rainy season is directly dangerous to go by car as these creeks may have flashfloods at any given moment and quite frequently their levels are quite high even for a good 4X4.

You also have to acknowledge that you must drop off your car away from your hotel at a nearby restaurant or hotel. The best way to get there if you are not coming in one of our tours is to fly in.

Corcovado National Park from Manuel Antonio

Beginning in 2014, every visitor—including day visitors—must be with a registered guide. Local tour operators employ registered guides, and most area hotels have individual contacts for private trips.

The reason behind this is for the safety of travelers. The Corcovado rainforest is truly fierce and accidents have happened.

If you want to stay in the area to visit the national park, our recommendation is to buy a complete package at one of the many beautiful hotels in the region. They include everything and are usually located in the midst of the rainforest.

However know that you can always reserve your one day tour to Corcovado from Manuel Antonio with Epic Adventures. 

What should I expect?


Corcovado preserves 4,178 hectares of land (10,324 acres). The park’s elevation ranges from sea level to 745 meters (0–2,444 feet). It safeguards various critical habitats, including mangroves, forests, rivers, beaches, and even coral reefs.

In the park, there are numerous significant hiking trails, including Drake to San Pedrillo, San Pedrillo to La Sirena, Los Patos to La Sirena, Carate to La Leona, and La Leona to La Sirena. Other shorter paths at the San Pedrillo and La Sirena Stations make for an excellent day trip.

Corcovado National Park from Manuel Antonio

Corcovado National Park is home to an assorted range of vegetation and fauna. As you may already have heard, it’s known as one of the most intense places on Earth (biologically speaking).

However, take into account that this is not a zoo, and wildlife comes and goes freely. On the other hand, although hunting has been forbidden for decades in Costa Rica, illegal poachers still roam the park, and animals may be elusive.

Chances to see monkeys and sloths are high, and small rodents like coatimundis and agoutis are almost inevitable; bigger animals are harder to spot but not impossible. Keep your fingers crossed.

In the park trails, hikers have met with several bigger species. In the park, there are jaguars, pumas, ocelots, jaguarondis, tapirs, anteaters, deer, pacas, peccaries, coatis, and many others, as well as several reptiles and amphibians, including all four sea turtle species that nest on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast: leatherback, olive ridley, loggerhead, and Pacific green turtles.

Corcovado National Park from Manuel Antonio
An elusive tapir – Corcovado National Park from Manuel Antonio

There are also caiman, crocodiles, iguanas, and a variety of reptiles and snakes. There are also various species of dart, glass, and tree frogs, as well as salamanders.

Many bird species live in Corcovado, including trogons, hummingbirds, a significant population of scarlet macaws, red-lored parrots, parakeets, and king vultures, to name a few. Egrets, herons, and kingfishers are prevalent in estuaries near the coast.

You may also encounter dolphins and even whales on the way in and out of the one day tour.


When hiking in Corcovado, be prepared to get soaked. This will occur due to sweat, humidity, unexpected rain, necessary river crossings, or all of the above.

You might even be tempted to swim on one of the beautiful beaches. Bring appropriate clothing and footwear, sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of bottled water.

We do not recommend jeans of any kind.

About our tour to Corcovado National Park from Manuel Antonio:

On our one day adventure tour in Corcovado National Park, we start the day early enough to make all these activities fit into this unforgettable day.

We will first travel to the Sierpe Mangroves area, where you’ll enjoy breakfast before embarking on a two-hour boat ride through Central America’s most extensive mangrove system. During the ride, you’ll see bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, and humpback whales. The boat ride can take around two hours, depending on the weather.

Corcovado National Park from Manuel Antonio
Corcovado National Park from Manuel Antonio

Upon arrival at Corcovado National Park, you’ll start a two-hour hike to spot the park’s diverse wildlife, including four monkey species and two sloth species. Our knowledgeable guides will help you discover the secrets of this magnificent life system, where rainforests serve as a network of communication and community.

After lunch at the rangers’ station, you’ll head to the shorter 1.5-hour hike, which offers more opportunities to spot animals and learn interesting facts. The tour ends with a boat ride back to Sierpe and Manuel Antonio after sunset.

Due to strict government policies, reservations are advised, as you cannot enter the national park without a licensed tour guide.

In our next post, we will write about some of the conditions of Corcovado if you want to stay there, tips, what to take, and so on!

You may also find it here. (Maybe when you read this, it’s already been posted.)


Written by: Olga Saenz

Olga Saenz is a Costa Rican painter and copywriter. Olga has worked in the travel industry since the late eighties, as a tour guide for a couple decades, as a product manager for a couple of big companies, and as a content writer, SEO specialist, and community manager for the last ten years. If you want to connect with Olga, you can send her an email at You can also check her work at:

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