Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Southern Pacific
Land Area: 42,560 ha
Sea Area: 3,354 ha
Elevation: 782 m/2,565 ft

Capital City of Country
Gateway to Country

Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica Vacation Guide

The Corcovado National Park is located in the south of the Puntarenas province in Costa Rica. This conservation area has been declared as 'one of the most biologically intense places on earth' by the National Geographic Magazine for having one of the tallest rainforests in the world and for being the house of many of the country's rare and endangered mammal and bird species. Corcovado features thirteen major ecosystems that range from mangrove swamps, lagoons, beaches, freshwater swamps and primary rain forest. Over 41,000 hectares protect around 140 different mammal species and 400 bird species. Located in the Osa Peninsula, this national park is one of the remotest and largest parks in Costa Rica.

This park offers a wide variety of attractions and activities that involve beauty and nature.

Wildlife in Corcovado is just amazing; tapirs, macaws, tree-frogs, squirrel monkeys, eagles, and the elusive jaguar call this park their home. The best place to start your adventure is from Puerto Jimenez, which is at the entrance of the Park. Here tourists can find a variety of hotels, a Ranger's office and all the necessary information, advice and warnings about the park. Another highlight of the Corcovado National Park is to see the unique combination of marine and land ecosystems. The land in the park includes soft sand beaches, swamps, mangroves and tropical forest. Hikers spend most of their time on forest trails, around Drake bay and in proximity to the ocean. Drake Bay is famous for its wonderful marine life and for being the dipper bay in the country; ideal for snorkeling and diving.

Attractions and Activities

About Osa Peninsula
Osa Peninsula and Drake Bay are located in the south of the Puntarenas province in Costa Rica, close to the Panama border. These two amazing attractions had become the premier eco-tourism destination in the country. You will find the largest protected area in Costa Rica: the Corcovado National Park, which has been declared as ‘one of the most biologically intense places on earth’.

Drake Bay
Drake is one of the most remote and primal tourist destinations in Costa Rica. The town of Agujitas (Drake) has a population of about 1,000 residents, and tourism is the economic base of the community. Drake Bay offers lodges and hotels for regular tourists, divers, nature buffs and anyone looking for an adventure. Drake Bay is also the starting point for many other exciting excursions in the south Pacific area of Costa Rica.

Isla del Caño Biological Reserve
The small Isla del Caño Biological Reserve is situated near Drake Bay. Hiking in its interior is an unforgettable experience. But the surrounding waters of this island are a good option for snorkeling and diving. Underwater, is possible to appreciate its wonderful marine life including coral beds, manta rays, octopus and many more.

Other Attractions

Golfito is a banana port town situated in the southeast of the Golfo Dulce. This small town was founded in the late twenties by the United Brand Banana Company. Travelers are attracted to visit the nearby national parks, reserve areas and botanical gardens or to take boat trips in the pristine “Golfo Dulce” (Sweet Bay) and the river “Rio Coto”. This town also offers a duty free zone where mainly locals shop for imported appliances and other tax-free items.

Puerto Jimenez
Situated in the “Golfo Dulce”, the small town of Puerto Jimenez is the entrance to the Corcovado National Park. The area features some waterfalls, rivers, beaches and a good choice of hotels and resorts. In Puerto Jimenez there is also a domestic airport which is served by both Nature Air and Sansa Airlines. Five to six commercial flights land in Puerto Jimenez on a daily basis throughout the year.

Cabo Matapalo, Matapalo Beach
Cabo Matapalo is famous in the region for its awesome surf breaks. One of the best features of Cabo Matapalo is its privacy and awesome views.

Zancudo beach
This 6 km-long dark-sand beach is a good option for swimming. At the south, the waves get big enough for surfing. The surf is gentle, and at night the water is quiet and sometimes sparkles because of some tiny phosphorescent marine plants and plankton.

Pavones beach
Pavones is an excellent option for long-board surfing.

Location and Map

By bus

From San Jose, 2 buses leave daily to Puerto Jimenez (7th/9th Avenue, 12thstreet).

By car

From San Isidro del General take the Panamerican Highway south to Buenos Aires. After Buenos Aires continue the highway along the side of Terraba river until you reach Palmar Norte. Continue straight until you see the Puerto Jimenez sign on your right. Ask for the road to Carate, which is one of the entrances to the Corcovado National Park.

Rent a car

Driving yourself to Puerto Jimenez is easy, but takes a while! For the best service rental companies and rates, please fill out our car rental form, and we will find you some good options.


There are short local flights from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. Nature Air offers comfortable flights to Puerto Jimenez and many other destinations in the south of the country, and all other main tourist spots in Costa Rica.

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