Camping in Corcovado National Park

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
10
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
1
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
8
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
7
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
2
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
7
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
80 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
North America
country
Costa Rica
Length of time
1-2 days
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 220
Time of year visited
April
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
40th/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 20% SUMMARY RATING: World Class

Summary

Even in a country that prides itself for its abundance of wildlife, Corcovado National Park stands out in Costa Rica as the premier wilderness experience.  The park’s sheer size, remoteness and restricted number of visitors means that your group will often feel like you have the park to yourself to go adventuring.  And with the the diversity, concentration of wildlife and stunning views, you’re unlikely to be disappointed

A word of warning though – this is walking and camping in a remote rainforest.  Getting there alone takes the best part of a day from the more connected parts of the country and, although the campsites are clean and the guides incredibly helpful, the facilities are basic.  So, get yourself ready for . . . well . . . camping in the jungle ie hot, wet, muddy . . . but a fantastic experience and, in my opinion, the highlight of Costa Rica

highlights

#1 Seeing some of the very cute local wildlife, such as the coaties that tend to wander around in big families with young ones in tow

#2 Camping and watching the sunset by the gorgeous Playa Liorona

#3 Being surrounded by the last large chunk of virgin tropical rainforest on the Pacific side of Central America

#4 Following the trails of exotic animals over jungles and beaches, and to see where they take you

#5 Being lucky enough to see sightings of some of the rare species, such as Baird's Tapir

#6 Swimming in the wonderfully refreshing waterfalls after a long day of hiking in the jungle

Rough itinerary

  • You’ll typically leave from Agujitas in Bahia Drake by speedboat early in the morning to be dropped of at the entrance to the National Park on the beach
  • Spend the day exploring the park and having lunch at one of the ranger stations
  • Towards the middle of the afternoon (if you are not sleeping in the Sirena Ranger Station) you’ll jump back on a speedboat to the Playa Liorona to check out the waterfall, crocodiles and any other wildlife your guide spots
  • Camp on the stunning beach
  • Wake up very early to check out some more of the wildlife
  • Leave by speedboat around midday to head back to Agujitas

Travel Tips

  • Booking and where to stay – you’ll read that you have to book way in advance, and indeed this will help.  But my main tip is that if you haven’t thought so far ahead and are unable to get a spot for the night in the Sirena Ranger Station, the Corcovado National Park Ranger station by Playa Liorona is also a fantastic experience.  You’re not in the heart of the park, but the beach is beautiful there and, in this part of Costa Rica, there is still wildlife absolutely everywhere around you.  Just in that spot we saw crocodiles (whilst camping . . . . hmmmm), Spider Monkeys, Harpey Eagles, Sacrlet Macaws, Coatis and a heap of others.  There is also a very cool waterfall nearby that you can go swimming in – gorgeous after the day of hiking!
  • You must have a guide for entering the National Park – whilst some may see this as restrictive, it really isn’t.  In reality you are going to need someone to show you round (it would need a fair bit of experience to head off on your own); organise your accommodation and food etc.  But the biggest thing is having someone trained to spot and show the wildlife to you – genuinely amazing what they are able to spot
  • Activities nearby – the National Park really is amazing and represents the clear highlight, but also be sure to check out the canopy zip-lining and night time creepy crawleys walk near Agujitas (see Zip-lining and night-time creepy crawly tours in Bahia Drake (near Corcovado National Park) for more details).  The chances are you will probably need to spend the night in Agujitas before heading into the park anyway and both activities are a different way to see yet more of the wildlife

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone

One thought on “Helicopter trip to El Mirador in the heart of the Guatemalan jungle”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.