Getaway Compass

How to Visit Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Spider Monkey Corcovado National Park

The Osa Peninsula is known as the most biologically intense place on earth. Corcovado National Park, the largest national park in Costa Rica, is located on the Osa Peninsula and houses 3% of the world’s biodiversity. The park can be difficult to get to, so this guide will walk you through how to get to Corcovado National Park, things you need to bring with you, and how a day in the park will look like. It is important to note that the park is closed in October every year.

Corcovado National Park Guide: Contents

How to Get to Corcovado National Park

Boat Drake Bay

Corcovado National Park is a big park and how you get there depends on which part of the park you want to visit. Two of the most popular parts of the park are Sirena Station and Pedrillo Station. Sirena Station is the most popular area to visit as this is where more animals can be seen. If you have limited time or want to reach Corcovado National Park more easily, you can do a day trip from Uvita to San Pedrillo Station. All parts of Corcovado National Park can only be accessed with a guide.

Day Trip from Uvita to San Pedrillo Station (Corcovado National Park)

The easiest way to reach Corcovado National Park is with a day trip from Uvita to San Pedrillo Station. Uvita is located about an hour drive southeast from Manuel Antonio National Park or 5 hours from San Jose. The day trip to San Pedrillo Station from Uvita will take you on a 1.5 hour boat ride followed by a couple of guided hiking trails.

Drake Bay to Serena Station (Corcovado National Park)

Drake Bay Beach

Serena Station is a well known section of Corcovado National Park where you are more likely to spot Tapirs and a wider range of animals. In order to visit Serena Station you would need to stay in Drake Bay at least the night before and after visiting Corcovado National Park. From Drake Bay you can do a guided day tour to Corcovado National Park.

How to Get to Drake Bay:
There are boats from Sierpe to Drake Bay twice a day. In Sierpe you will be able to park your car overnight for a fee and take a boat to Drake Bay. There are two boats a day to Drake Bay, one at 11:30 AM ($15 per person) and the second at 4:00 PM ($20 per person). I recommend arriving at least 20 minutes early in order to have time to park and load the boat with your belongings. Make sure you have enough cash to pay for the boat both ways.
Contact your accommodation in Drake Bay ahead of time to get the most updated boat times and prices.

The boat leaves from La Perla Del Sur and guides you through the Sierpe River to the Pacific Ocean and to Drake Bay. If you are staying at a hotel further away from Drake Bay you can let the captain know before boarding the boat and they will drop you off closer to your hotel, with an extra fee. Drake Bay is very small so if you booked a place to stay in the town you should be able to walk to your hotel within 10 minutes from the beach the boat drops you off at.

Serena Station Tour from Drake Bay:
There are both day and overnight tours available from Drake Bay to Serena Station. The day tour starts with an hour boat ride from Drake Bay to Serena Station followed by time to explore the national park with your guide. You can book a day tour to Corcovado National Park ahead of time on Viator or through your accommodation. 

Where to Stay When Visiting Corcovado National Park

View From Drake Bay Hotel

The best place to stay in order to visit Serena Station at Corcovado National Park is Drake BayDrake Bay has a picturesque beach and some restaurants and shops. Choose from these top 4 hotels depending on your budget:

Budget: Corcovado & Drake Inn
A short walk from Playa Colorada, pool, terrace, and on-site restaurant.

Just Right: Las Cotingas Ocean View
Your own bungalow with a balcony that has a sea view. On-site restaurant with breakfast options.

Splurge: Aguila De Osa Rainforest Lodge
Features a private terrace with sea views, a restaurant serving gourmet food, and a bar

Special Occasion Kind of Splurge: Drake Bay Green Leaf
Honeymoon-worthy stay in your own luxurious bungalow with a sea view

 

Although visiting Corcovado National Park is the main reason people stay in Drake Bay, there are more things to do while you are there. Exciting activities to do from Drake Bay are a diving tour or snorkeling tour on Caño Island.

Corcovado National Park Tour from Drake Bay

Tapir Corcovado National Park
Tapir in Corcovado National Park

To visit Corcovado National Park you are required to go with a guide. You can book a day tour to Corcovado National Park ahead of time on Viator or contact your hotel to book. If you book through your hotel, make sure to contact them before reserving a room to ensure they have spots available on a day tour to Corcovado National Park.

The tour starts around 6 am with an hour boat ride to Serena Station at Corcovado National Park. You will spend about 5 hours exploring the park with your guide and small group. At Corcovado National Park you will have the chance to see Tapirs, Squirrel Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, and more. The Sirena Station section has many animals close by so you won’t have to walk far to spot animals. 

After your time in the park you will take a one hour boat ride back to Drake Bay. At Drake Bay you will eat lunch with your group, served at a local restaurant. This is a great chance to enjoy Costa Rican cuisine and learn about other people’s experiences in Costa Rica so far.

Spider Monkey in Corcovado
Spider Monkey in Corcovado National Park
Coati Corcovado National Park
Coati in Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park Animals
Coati in Corcovado National Park

If you want to spend more time at Corcovado National Park there are 2-day guided tours which you can book ahead of time or enquire about through your hotel. These overnight tours allow you to see more animals as you explore the park for 2 days.

What to Pack for Corcovado National Park

  • Camera: Make sure to bring your best camera to capture your memories in Corcovado National Park. We got to see spider monkeys and Tapirs and I am so glad I had my Sony A7RIII camera with Tamron 28-75 mm lens with me to photograph the experience.
  • Backpack: You will want a backpack to carry everything you need on your day exploring Corcovado National Park. This REI backpack is the perfect size for a day trip to hold your sunscreen, sunglasses, camera gear, water bottle, and more.
  • Hiking Shoes: Hiking shoes are preferred to explore Corcovado National Park as it can be muddy.
  • Water Sandals: When the boats arrive to the beach at Corcovado National Park there is no dock so you have to get off the boat onto the beach. They try to get close enough to the beach so that the water is less than knee-high but your feet will get wet. When you arrive you will then have a chance to change into your hiking shoes to explore the park with your group.
  • Rain Jacket: You will want to bring a rain jacket as this is one of the rainiest areas in Costa Rica. The jacket will also help with the wind on the boat so you can enjoy the boat ride comfortably. 
  • Beach Towel: This light beach towel is perfect to bring with you for the day to sit on the beach or use for the boat ride.

Tips for Visiting Corcovado National Park

  • If you get sea sick make sure to take sea sickness medication before the boat ride. The ocean conditions vary and the ride can be bumpy.
  • There are ticks in Corcovado National Park so make sure to check for ticks after your day exploring the park.
  • Visiting Corcovado National Park, especially Serena Station, takes a lot of time an effort. If you want to visit the park make sure to keep that in mind.
  • Some tours will provide you with coffee and snacks before going on the boat but it is still recommended to eat breakfast before.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Reut and Zack Elopement-5

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