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Cat 125 posts

The last area I stayed in was the Osa peninsula.

I highly recommend spending a few nights in Drake Bay (although I didn’t visit Puerto Jimenez, so I can’t compare the two), and unless you get seasick (it is pretty rough), I recommend taking the boat route from Sierpe, through the mangrove forests and out to sea. One bit of advice – this is a speedboat, so you will not be taking lovely photos of birds in the mangroves, and the waves get unbelievably rough as you go from river to ocean, so leave your camera in your bag, ideally packed away inside a dry bag!

There are many, many ecolodges just outside Drake Bay, bordering the Corcovado that are worth looking into. Some of them offer full board deals and two wildlife walks a day. I imagine they’re incredible. They are very expensive though, so I settled for two lovely nights in a room with my own private pool with incredible, sweeping views over Drake Bay, in Sunset Lodge. As it was a bit of a walk uphill, the rather lovely pool also had amazing views over several trees, where every morning green parrots (I’m not sure if they were mealy parrots or the red-lored Amazon), toucans, aracaris and spider monkeys would hang around, while scarlet macaws flew overhead. I spent 2 very happy days taking photos of the abundant wildlife that just came to me, while I lazed in my own pool. It was marvellous!

I then spent 4 nights at my favourite bargainous cheapie of the trip (to justify the two nights in Sirena station that followed) – Life for Life Hostel. This is actually a turtle project funded by the hostel, and various volunteers and wildlife enthusiasts that stay here. They dig up and protect turtle eggs in a hatchery before releasing them again (the reason this is necessary is that turtle eggs buried in the sand rarely survive until hatching, due to dogs, other predators, and even humans digging them up and eating them). Anyway, I paid $35/night to sleep in a hammock with mosquito net (I still got eaten alive by mossies and sandflies!), including 2 meals a day. The food was plentiful and the atmosphere was fun, but what I really liked were the stunning beaches with really not very many people (which is quite difficult to find in CR!). The sunsets were truly unbelievable, and one night we were treated to bioluminescence in the sea, swirling around our feet (apparently this is commonly seen in Puerto Jimenez). Anyway, I loved it, but it’s not definitely not the place for everyone! It’s about halfway between Drake Bay and Sirena ranger station. You can walk there from Drake Bay, if you like hiking, you can get the boat from Drake Bay, or you can pay $30 for someone to drive you over on a quad bike, if you like an adventure!

There were many trips available in both Drake Bay and at Life for Life, including tubing/messing about under waterfalls on the Rio Claro (the guy who ran this trip was sadly away when I visited), snorkelling off Cano island (I’d just recovered from yet another ear infection, making snorkelling ill-advised – bloody swimmers’ ear!) and whale and dolphin watching (I was running out of money at this point, and this trip was expensive, sadly!). I just contented myself with enjoying my pool and views in Drake Bay, and the glorious beaches around San Josecito

My final stop before returning home was Corcovado NP itself, staying in open-air dormitory style accommodation at Sirena ranger station. This is not cheap, as you’re not allowed into the NP without a guide, and paying for a guide overnight gets expensive, but it is, without a doubt, the best place to see wildlife in CR, and as day trips don’t arrive until about 8am, you miss what for most animals is the most active time of day if you just visit for the day. While the lovely ecolodges outside Drake Bay that border the NP are supposed to be amazing, they really are no substitute for staying in the park itself. Anyway, as I said, this is not cheap ($550 for 2 nights including plentiful food), and the fact you’re staying in a dorm, and the only thing separating you from the jungle is a mosquito net (make sure you tuck it in thoroughly – people who didn’t shared their bed with cicadas, as well as mossies!) is really not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me it was well worth it. Over the course of 3 days we had multiple sightings of all 4 types of monkey that you can find in CR (howler monkeys, white-faced capuchins, Godfrey’s spider monkeys and squirrel monkeys), we had 4 Baird’s tapir sightings (including one marvellous display of symbiosis, as a crested caracara bird hopped on the back of a heavily pregnant tapir lazing on the beach, and enjoyed an all-you-can-eat feast of the fleas on her back), we saw an anteater, two fer de lance snakes (don’t turn your back on them, they jump…) peccary families, coatis and sloths, as well as various anoles, hawks, falcons, motmots, herons, hummingbirds, tanagers, owls, ibis, woodpeckers and trogons, and last but definitely not least, we saw a puma on day 3, about 30 minutes before we got on the boat back to Drake Bay.

It was *amazing*!

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