Osa peninsula,Costa Rica is home to the largest rain forest in the Pacific Central America, Corcovado National Park. This park is so diverse and is celebrated as “the most biologically intense place on Earth”.
To get to Osa peninsula from San Jose, I flew a small 10-seater plane. It was a $250 for the round-trip. The airport at Puerto Jimenez is just a big muddy land with a small runway. It is funny that the airport is actually right next to a cemetery.
I stayed one night at Puerto Jimenez near the airport and met our guide Nito (nitolaparios at gmail dot com),at the guest house that evening to plan the trek.
If you decide to hike it, be ready for a challenging way ahead. The trail we took is called La Leona – Sirena – La Leona. My original plan was to attempt La Patos – Sirena – La Leona. However, my guide strongly discouraged me from that trail, due to the fact that I went in November and La Patos area was muddy to knee level at certain places, making it hard to cross.
So, we ended up shortening the hike and completed La Leona to Sirena and back in 2 full days.
We started at 4 AM in the morning from Puerto Jimenez and took a taxi to Carate (town at the entrance of the park). At around 6AM we reached our hotel Finca Exotica,where we would be staying after the hike. Dropped off the bags that we didn’t need for the hike and started hiking towards our end point, Sirena camp.
It was a really hot day. Of the 9 hours we took to get to the camp site, at least a 4-5 hours were on the beach. That means, you have to walk on the soft sand for 4-5 hours and directly under the blazing sun. I couldn’t drink enough to keep myself hydrated.
There are other trails in the national park, but this trail was really challenging. However, there are significant plus points to it. We spotted some of the best wild life on this trail. Saw almost every endangered-listed animals and lot of macaws, and toucans. Not every animal was willing to pose for a photograph.
Though one can potentially hike these trails without a guide, I decided to hire a guide given how difficult it was going to be. He kept me on a constant pace and got us to the camp site before sunset. Without him pushing me, I am sure I would have taken much longer. I remember paying him a very reasonable amount of money.
You have to request dinner and breakfast at Sirena camp ahead of time. Nito’s company helped me book the camp site, arrange for meal and transportation.
Sunset near the campsite is spectacular and worth pushing yourself hard to get there on time. I was completely wasted by the time I got there. However, the sunset and evening/night deep into the rainforest are well worth it.
I certainly wished that I spent an extra day at Sirena and did some local hikes instead of rushing back to Carate. It was intense. I strongly suggest giving an extra day for anyone attempting this trail.
Carate is the town at the entrance of national park. And there are only a very few hotels to stay and all of them fairly expensive for backpacker budget. But, they are all-inclusive. Especially after an intense hike, who wouldn’t like to be pampered ?!