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Last updated: 26 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Alex Robinson

The last remaining stand of coastal Pacific rainforest in Central America is protected by this, the crown jewel in Costa Rica’s park system – a sprawling 425sq km reserve that occupies much of the Osa Peninsula.

It’s a National Geographic special waiting to happen: a riot of lush forest occupied by bellowing monkeys, snorting peccaries and noisy flocks of scarlet macaws – not to mention elusive night-time species such as pumas and jaguars.

The marine areas around the Osa Peninsula are an important breeding ground for dolphins and whales. Lodges can arrange boating trips in search of these incredible mammals.

Cabo Matapalo, at the south-eastern tip of the Osa Peninsula, is blessed with a good point break. Most lodges can arrange lessons, surfboard rentals and transport.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 2 days

Getting there & doing it

Access to the park is via the village of Bahia Drake, at the northern end of the park, or Puerto Jimenez, at its eastern tip. Domestic airlines fly to both these points, after which travellers transfer to one of the lodges that line the coast all the way to Corcovado. Access to the park is entirely on foot, but it’s possible to reach the entrances either by car, boat or light aircraft.

The remote location means there are no restaurants – jungle lodges include board as part of the fee. They also provide picnic lunches for day-long excursions into Corcovado. The excellent El Remanso Lodge can arrange excursions of all types into the park for its guests, as well as other activities such as surfing and tree climbing.

Hardier travellers regularly hike from one end of the park to the other along the coastal trail. This takes a minimum of three days.

Take a hat, sunglasses, water bottle, mosquito repellent with DEET and clothes you don’t mind getting mucky – expect to be wet and muddy at most times.

When to do it

This is heavy duty rainforest so dry season is best, from December to April. Trails are generally at their least muddy in January.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Corcovado National Park Day Tour

Puntarenas

Corcovado National Park Day Tour
Corcovado National Park is famous for holding 3% of the biodiversity on this side of the planet. Famous for being–the Amazon of Costa Rica, the Corcovado National Park is the largest stronghold of primary forest on a Pacific coastline, and is famous for being “the most biologically intense place on Earth”. It has a flora that adds thousands of species, many of which have a restricted distribution and that have disappeared in other regions, as well as the fauna that stands out because of the diversity of its species, even more so if we consider that a large number figure in the list of those in danger of extinction. Offers a great variety of flora and fauna. They have also discovered unique species of flora here. The virgin forests captivate visitors. It is an ideal place for nature lovers. There are more than 500 species of trees, 140 species of mammals, 367 species of birds, 40 species of freshwater fish and 117 species of amphibians registered in this area.

Price: $1,300

Min age: 4

Rating 4.39 / 5 [28 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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5 Days Wildlife Tour in Drake Bay, Sierpe, Corcovado and Osa

Drake Bay

5 Days Wildlife Tour in Drake Bay, Sierpe, Corcovado and Osa
5 Days and 4 Nights full of wildlife in Drake Bay, Sierpe, Corcovado and Osa. Through this amazing journey, you will discover the most incredible trails of Costa Rica. Additionally, you will navigate in the Sierpe river, which is one of the biggest and most important rivers of the country. Undoubtedly, the vibrant color contrast and life will capture your attention, as you experience a transition of wildlife on the way. Likewise, you will sleep in hidden lodges and you will explore the best national park of Costa Rica and the world. You are invited to discover the unspoiled wildlife of the Osa Peninsula and live an amazing trip in Cano Island. In other words, your vacation will be full of incredible adventures and wildlife pictures. Are you ready for a new life experience? In order to get the best of the jungle tranquility. Our tours are operated in small groups of maximum 8 people per guide.

Price: $1,150

Min age: 12

Rating 5 / 5 [16 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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4-Days family tour with visit to Cano island and Corcovado

Sierpe

4-Days family tour with visit to Cano island and Corcovado
4 Days and 3 Nights full of wildlife in Drake Bay, Sierpe, Corcovado and Osa. This is a tour designed for wildlife lovers. Through this amazing journey, you will discover the most incredible trails of Costa Rica. Additionally, you will navigate the Sierpe river, which is one of the biggest and most important rivers in the country. Undoubtedly, the vibrant color contrast and life will capture your attention, as you experience a transition of wildlife on the way. Likewise, you will sleep in hidden lodges and you will explore the best national park of Costa Rica and the world. You are invited to discover the unspoiled wildlife of the Osa Peninsula and live an amazing trip on Cano Island. In other words, your vacation will be full of incredible adventures and wildlife pictures. Are you ready for a new life experience? In order to get the best of the jungle tranquility. Our tours are operated in small groups of maximum 8 people per guide.

Price: $815

Min age: 7

Rating 5 / 5 [13 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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One Day Tour To Corcovado From Manuel Antonio

Quepos

One Day Tour To Corcovado From Manuel Antonio
Live the experience Corcovado with a 1 day tour leaving from Manuel Antonio, our transportation will pick you up and bring you to Sierpe, Osa, where we'll take the boat to start the tour, we will sail through the largest mangrove of Central America, the Térraba-Sierpe, then sail through the open sea to the station San Pedrillo, where we begin with the walks Full of lush flora and fauna, we will take lunch inside the park . Then we going to visit the San Pedrillo waterfall to enjoy its refreshing waters and then undertake the trip back to the starting point. TranslateUpon returning to Sierpe, our transport will take you back to San Jose and this is the end of the tour. *Corcovado National Park is considered the most intensely biologically speaking place in the world, according to National Geographic.

Price: $270

Min age: 2

Rating 4.2 / 5 [10 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Rainforests, powdery beaches, white-water rivers and towering volcanoes: this relaxed Central American country offers exceptional wilderness adventures in stunning landscapes.