Corcovado National Park


Hikers don’t necessarily think of Costa Rica as one of their top destinations. But if they do come here, the Osa Peninsula is bound to be on their list. This park of untouched beaches, elusive wildlife and thick jungle is only for those who have a few days, a sturdy pair of legs and the willingness to camp out with the mosquitoes. Read a hikers guide to Corcovado before you take on the challenge.

Climbing Cerro Chirripo

Hikers who drag themselves out of their sleeping bags in the early hours of the morning, don their woolly hats and strike out towards the summit in the dark can have sunrise at the highest point in Costa Rica all to themselves. After a groggy two-hour walk and a final scramble up to the peak of Cerro Chirripó, the intrepid walker sits 3,820 meters above sea level (about 12,533 feet), with valleys, lakes, and blankets of calm, white clouds spread out below. There is no sound except the wind and an occasional bird, a world void of human presence. It is rumoured that on clear days, you can see both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts simultaneously. But it’s not always so easy getting a sought-after spot to climb up the mountain and sleep in the refuge. Read a guide to Chirripo before you go.

Hammocks and Hummingbirds – San Gerardo de Rivas

Appreciate this attractive, authentic little town from the comfort of a hammock or a hot spring. Worth the visit whether you are planning to make the pilgrimage up Chirripó or if you just want a beautiful place to relax for a few days. Read more about San Gerardo de Rivas.

On the trail of the Quetzal – Monteverde, Santa Elena and surroundings

Walking through Monteverde reserve is like walking through the most perfect fairytale I’ve ever read. The forest on every side is green from the ground to the canopy, moss covering the trunks, and plants upon plants hanging from every bit of bark. Creepers and vines wind their way round the trees, and purple tongued orchids suspend themselves in mid air on flimsy stalks. Tiny streams trickle through mossy rocks and prehistoric ferns that look like mini-palms sprout beside the river-bed, their shade of leaves ruffled by a slight breeze.

Tiny birds nests are built into the banks next to the path, and if you look closely you can see miniature mouths squeaking within. Brown-winged parents with yellow bellies fly past to drop off a grub every few minutes. If you’re lucky, you can look up and in the branches above there will be the magical mystical resplendent quetzal, it’s long green feathers curving down like a quill from its little fat body.

But this wonderland is very touristed, and threatened by global warming. For some ideas about how to enjoy the parks, what else to do in the area, and how to get around, click here.


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