Placed between sea and jungle in the farthest corner of the remote Osa peninsula, the Corcovado National Park is among the shiniest gems of Costa Rica‘s natural treasure. An ecosystem made of jungle, primary forest, desolated beaches and landscapes, all of it overlooked by the massive tides which allow or forbid access to it.
The land is hard, rugged, wild. It hides dangers behind its stunning beauty, behind an untouched charm which is not intimidated by the low number of visitors.
Getting here is not that difficult. But it requires will and ability to adapt. There are two entrance gate: Drake, which is the most exclusive and isolated and lies west, while north is Puerto Jimenez, more democratic and charming. The latter became our headquarter, a dusty town with four streets, a few shops, even less restaurants and a stunning charm. The colourful Ara macaos squawk from the almond trees and in the bay facing Gulfo Dulce the breeze shakes the palm trees on a slow and relaxing rhythm.
There are several ways to visit the park, all of them costly and quite complicated. We choose a two-day trekking from Carate to a shelter called La Serena, at the heart of the whole area. You walk 20 kilometres per day carrying all you need to drink and eat, sandals to ford the rivers, an anorak against the rain, a bag for the waste and everything else you might need on a trekking. You leave from Puerto Jimenez on a truck or a jeep, and after almost a couple of hours through dirt patch, fords and slopes you get at the landing strip in Carate, where you start walking.
The distance is big and the pace is fast. In about one hour, flanking the forest and walking along a limitless and deserted beach, you arrive at the entrance La Leona where you sign in, take a quick break, and then up again.
In the next six or seven hours there is much strain, the backpack gets more and more heavy, the path is difficult. But every struggle is well tolerated thanks to the beautiful panoramas, the funny little challenges and the constant roar of the Pacific Ocean.
Parrots, snakes, iguanas, ant eaters, frogs, monkeys and even huge tapirs surprise the visitors during the whole trek. Then comes the hardest part and you have to walk along the sea, among rocks, cliffs and sand sinking at every step under the torching sun.
The goal is near, but once back again in the jungle there is one last, big obstacle. You have to wade across a river, with the water at your waist: the habitat – but we luckily discovered it only later – of crocodiles and sharks.
In our case, it also started raining. We were somehow shaken, but also in a rush of adrenalin. We took the bags over our heads and in a straight line we entered into the dark water. A few minutes later the shelter was in front of us, and we rushed towards a cold shower and a camp fire. At 8’o clock in the evening the lights went out: goodnight Corcovado.
Before dawn the day starts with a small walk in search for nocturnal animals. At six you have to leave because the tide is not waiting for anyone and 20 more exciting kilometres, in the wildest nature, are in front of you.