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What is the best full day hike in Corcovado in November?

chicago
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What is the best full day hike in Corcovado in November?

My husband and I are staying in Drake Bay and want to take a full day hike (8 hours) in the Corcovado National Park. I looked at a trail map and it looks like a couple trails are closed, and I read that the trail from San Pedrillo to Sirena is also closed during November. I read in a forum that the best trail to hike is from Los Platos Ranger Station to Sirena or Carate. How would we get to Los Platos from Drake Bay? I'm trying to do this on our own, the least expensive way possible. But also the most adventurous. How do you arrange to be picked up at a certain entrance/exit if you don't set up a guided tour? Any advice would be great... we are very flexible and just want the best cultural experience on our own.

Chicago, Illinois
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for Costa Rica
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1. Re: What is the best full day hike in Corcovado in November?

The best day trip, if you're staying in Drake Bay, is to take a boat trip and hike all day around the Sirena ranger station with a guide. You currently can't hike from Los Patos to Sirena without a guide, and you'd lose at least 1/2 day trying to get from Drake Bay to Los Patos. You can hike from LaLeona to Sirena or the reverse without a guide but are you prepared to cross rivers without a guide and potentially start your hike before the sun is up so you can cross at low tide?

IMO it's not worth visiting Corcovado on your own without a guide. We were there in June and would have missed most of the wildlife we encountered (including a mother and baby tapir) if it hadn't been for the guide. I'd suggest you contact your lodge and ask their costs for a full day tour of Sirena (Las Caletas was charging $95/pp in June).

Alternatively you should scratch Drake Bay from your plans and head for Puerto Jimenez/Carate instead. Hike in to Sirena from the southern LaLeona entrance. You can hike half way to Sirena, turn and come back the same day or you can hike to the ranger station for an overnight and then return hike on the same route the next day.

Edited: 09 August 2010, 23:47
Puerto Jimenez...
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2. Re: What is the best full day hike in Corcovado in November?

I have to agree with crsan and suggest scratching Drake in favor of entering Corcovado from the La Leona entrance. You can hike without a guide about half way to Sirena, turn around, and have a picnic lunch and swim at rio madrigal (depending on river level and weather).

Pura Vida,

Ballardo Diaz - Jungle Guide - Corcovado, Osa & La Amistad

San Jose, Costa Rica
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3. Re: What is the best full day hike in Corcovado in November?

Agree with crfan and Jaguardman...

roadadvisor

chicago
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4. Re: What is the best full day hike in Corcovado in November?

Thanks for all of your advice! I really appreciate that... the only thing I can't do is scratch Drake from our plans because we've already booked our plane ticket from Drake to San Jose, and also prepaid for our stay in Drake. I think we'll take a boat taxi to the La Leona entrance and hike to Sirena... I love the idea of staying there overnight and returning the next morning. I'm rethinking the guide and will go with one after what you said. Thanks for saving my life :)

I have a few questions for you guys if you wouldn't mind helping some more...

1. About how long of a boat ride would it be from Drake to the La Leona entrance? Is this doable?

2. Because the hike from La Leona to Sirena is along the beach, do you think we'll see much wildlife and rainforest since we won't be IN the park?

3. I learned that the hotels mark up the prices of all the toured activities, so I'm considering purchasing the tours online directly with the tour company before we go. What do you think about that? Would you not recommend it?

Thanks again!

Brooklyn, New York
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5. Re: What is the best full day hike in Corcovado in November?

Actually, a lot of the walk from La Leona to Sirena isn't on the beach proper, but on a trail off the beach. When I went with my guide, of the 8 hours that the hike took, I would say maybe two and a half hours were on the actual beach altogether -- in no more than 45 minutes periods at a time.

We saw lots of wildlife on that walk -- including three species of monkeys, an anteater, bats, etc. The two guys walking about an hour in front of us saw a puma just stretched out on the trail! So envious. I know others have seen tapirs along the trail too. So, yes, lots of opportunities.

If you end up being able to get a boat to La Leona from Drake (I don't know if it's possible or not), and hike to Sirena and stay the night, you should be able to arrange to have a boat pick you up the next day. Hopefully the boat can pick you up later in the day so you can hike some of the more inland trails around Sirena in the morning -- but, a lot will depend on the tides and water conditions. Sometimes it just isn't safe to boat in or out, I think.

Puerto Jimenez...
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6. Re: What is the best full day hike in Corcovado in November?

FYI - It's not possible to boat to La Leona from Drake. You can boat to Sirena, but not La Leona. The current/surf is uncooperative in the La Leona/Carate area...

Pura Vida,

Ballardo

Dos Brazos, Costa...
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7. Re: What is the best full day hike in Corcovado in November?

I'm not sure about the length of the boat ride but wanted to address the question about hiking to Sirena. First, the beach is in the park and the forest goes down to the beach. Secondly, you do NOT have to be in the PARK to see wildlife on the Osa. The Osa also has a large National Forest which adjoins the Park . There are plenty of areas to hike in the National Forest (Reserva Forestal Golfo Dulce) although there, also, you would want a guide not only to see the wildlife but because there are many more trails and it is possible to get lost. I do not know if any of these are easily accessed from Drakes Bay.

You may want to consider two nights in Sirena to rest after the all day hike and enjoy it. There is a really good concentration of wildlife right around the ranger station.

Guides: I own a business on the Osa so it would not be appropriate for me to make recommendations for a guide but I think a comment would be OK.

It's a matter of security and quality. Many lodges have in-house guides. There are few "Tour Companies" that have on staff guides and have good reputations. But there are many that do the same as travel agents (or a lodge without in-house guides) and just connect the traveler with the available guides. The advantage of asking your lodge to book a tour for you is that they know who is good and who is not. And there are many excellent guides that are much too small, or busy guiding to maintain an office and website. AND if they do maintain an office some of your guiding dollars will go for that office overhead as well. I do not think there is any special advantage of booking tours directly in most cases.

Good luck and enjoy your trip..........

8. Re: What is the best full day hike in Corcovado in November?

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