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“These forests are by far the most exuberant in Central America. In fact, the Corcovado forests are just as impressive in height as the best forests I have seen in the Amazon basin or the dipterocarp forests of Malaysia and Indonesia.” Gary Hartshorn, “Costa Rican Natural History”
Corcovado National Park preserves the last portion or fraction of the tropical rainforest in the Pacific of Central America.
The park has 45,914 hectares of land and 5,375 marine hectares, virgin forest practically envelops visitors as with the scents and the colors of the jungle.
Due to its geographical location, its climatic features, the condition of the soils and topography, this site is home to an amazing diversity of biological species.
In this region a third of the tree species of Costa Rica have been recorded and an estimated 4000 -5000 species of plants can be found.
Examples cited are garlic (Costa Rican Coryocar), the Ojoche (Brosimun Costaricanum) and Caracolito Cedar (Ruptiliocarpon Caracolito). This last one represents a scientific breakthrough tree dating back to November 1993 representing a new genus and species for the world and establishes a new botanical family for the neo tropics.
There is a good chance of spotting some of Costa Rica’s shyest and most endangered inhabitants here; Baird’s Tapirs, Jaguars, Scarlet Macaws, Harpy Eagles, all four of the monkey species (including the highly endangered Red-backed squirrel monkey) and all six of the feline species found in Costa Rica inhabit Corcovado. Other inhabitants include White-lipped Peccaries, over 100 species of butterflies, 8000 species of insects, 117 species of amphibians, 71 species of reptiles, 40 species of freshwater fish and 140 mammals. All four of the sea turtle species that nest in Costa Rica visit the beaches of Corcovado as well.
Endowed with such wealth, the area has attracted enormous interest among Costa Rican and foreign scientists and its resources are the subject of ongoing research projects. It is considered that the genetic potential that Corcovado houses in all living things could provide an invaluable benefit to agriculture, medicine and other fields of similar importance to the welfare of mankind.
History & Culture
There are indications that in recent pre-Hispanic times the area was inhabited by indigenous groups that were likely to have been attracted by the abundance of hunting and fishing. Some archaeologists believe that the importance of the site lies in the information that could be found about those cultures and how they maintained their relationship with nature and the manner in which they used their resources. Such expectations are unfounded on the evidence collected so far as it remains a virtually unexplored area.
The Peninsula lacked access by land until 1978. This led to the region remaining uninhabited in many of its sectors. However, in 1975, to establish the Corcovado National Park, its territory was already occupied by at least 300 farmers who had to be compensated and relocated to another area. Since then, the park has been designed exclusively for the purpose of conservation, scientific research, environmental education and tourism, typical of this type of wilderness.
“We have recently visited Corcovado Park. Very unique experience, breathtaking views, amazing flora and fauna. Saw many scarlet macaws, a toucan, 3 types of monkeys, a few anteaters. Incredible place!”
Ted Marras. Woodbridge, Canada
Visiting Corcovado is an experience in a primitive area devoid of the usual offerings of the tourist sites. The park is located about 368 km from San Jose along the Pan American Highway South and taking the detour to Puerto Jimenez in the community of Chacarita.
It is also possible to enter by boat from the town of Sierpe, located 15 km from Osa and Drake Bay.
Location: South East Sector of the Osa Peninsula, Puntarenas Province, on South Pacific Costa Rica.
Area: 45,914 hectares.
Maximum altitude: 782 meters above sea level.
Climate: Hot, rainy and very humid.
Dry season: From mid-December to mid-April, with sporadic rains.
Rainy season: From mid-April to mid-December.
Annual rainfall: With an average of 5,500 millimeters in the mountainous area. In the coastal area 9,500 millimeters.
Services: The park offers nature trails, drinking water, camping areas and ranger stations.