Just 8 hours after landing in San Jose, and definitely short on sleep, Elena and I got on a Naturair aircraft to Puerto Jimenez. The flight is short and offers great views of the country, and it’s the best way to include the Osa Peninsula in your trip if you’re short on time, since the roads are bad.
We landed around 9am, and saw our guide Nito waiting for us at the tiny ‘airport’. We had hired him for the next two days based on raving reviews on several blogs (since then, he seems to be doing great: www.surcostours.com). They weren’t kidding; he’s knowledgeable, easy going and super passionate about animals, even though he’s probably seen them hundreds of times. Because we landed after the colectivo (a shared truck) had left, we had to hire our own taxi. He drove us to buy food and then ~1 hr to Carate and Playa Madrigal, where our hike would start. After about half hour walk, we hit La Leona, the official entrance of Corcovado National Park.
It’s hard to describe the following 6 hours. We hiked through some of the most captivating beaches, the most lively jungle, and saw wild animal, lots of them: red guacamayas, monkeys, peccaries, frogs, sloths, bats, pizotes,… and my favorite of the day: and anteater with a baby on its back 🙂
Most of the hike was flat. We had to cross a river with crocodiles and climb a couple of times when the tide was too high to continue by the beach. But the hike was strenuous because of the temperature, the humidity and the fact that both of us had done no physical activity whatsoever in a long time. We finally got to the ranger station of La Sirena, where we would camp. Right on time to spot an ocelot in the distance. We showered, ate a simple dinner and passed out.
Nito woke us up around 4:30am to go observe some night fauna. We did a short hike, where we saw mainly frogs and took a break at a small river, where we were hoping to see a tapir come out to drink. The sunrise was amazing, and we were entertained spotting sharks in the ocean. After about 1 hour, we gave up and started to walk back… but then Nito found tapir spurs on the sand, so we ran and found it hiding in the bush. I was super excited, because when I was a kid, the teacher gave us an assignment to pick an animal to write about, and I chose a tapir!
By the time we got back to the ranger station, we were tired and needed to hurry up to get back to civilization before dusk. As we were preparing our stuff, a small aircraft landed on the flat in front of the station, bringing in some travelers. Nito commented on the possibility of us taking the seats in that aircraft for a cheap price (as it would return empty otherwise), and said that we had been so lucky these two days that there wasn’t much reason to do the hike back… We jumped on the idea 😉
This put us back in Puerto Jimenez in time to get a basic hotel and chill by the “pool”, before exploring the town for dinner. The next day we took some bikes from the hostel and biked to the Carate beach, even saw some crocodiles and red guacamayas, before catching our flight back to San Jose.