Corcovado, Oh How Lovely
Quiet nights of quiet stars
Quiet chords from my guitar
Floating on the silence that surrounds us
Quiet thoughts and quiet dreams
Quiet rocks by quiet streams
And a window that looks out on Corcovado, oh how lovely
– Corcovado, Antonio Carlos Jobim
These lyrics refer to Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, the mountain on which Christ The Redeemer sits, but it also seems to be an appropriate description for Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica.
The park, situated in the southwest corner of Costa Rica, was anticipated to be the crown jewel of our trip and it did not disappoint. One of the most biodiverse regions in the world, with more than 400 species of birds, 100 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 100 mammals, it is located in the southwestern corner of Costa Rica.
Travellers either get to Corcovado via Carate or Bahia Drake. We opted for the former and flew with Nature Air, arriving at 9:30 in the morning. We were planning to take a collectivo to our lodge since it only cost about $10 each but when we realized we would have to wait 3 hours and have an additional 3 hour travel time on top of that, we hired a cab for about $40 each.
We stayed at Lookout Inn, a beautiful lodge in Carate right by the beach and the park, run by an American, Terry, and his wife Katya. We stayed in an open-air cabin called the Monkey House, named so because a family of monkeys often jump in front of the cabin every morning.
The cabin was beautifully constructed and overlooked the forest and the ocean; it felt like a mini piece of paradise. The meals were homemade and delicious and the entire staff was extremely hospitable and kind. Lookout Inn seems to care more about quality over quantity and I highly recommend this lodge.
Corcovado means hunchbacked in both Portuguese and Spanish and the mountain in Rio de Janeiro is named such because it resembles a hunchbacked man. However, when I enquired about the origin of the park name, no one knew the answer.
We did a day tour, which started with a tough walk on the beach during which we saw some beautiful ethereal skies.
Many travellers opt to do a multi-day tour and sleep inside the park because there are more opportunities to spot wildlife. It’s probably a good thing we did a day tour as I reacted badly to heat. As soon as I entered the park, I started breaking out in hives from the intense heat and the trees. We did not spot as much wildlife as we’d have liked but the park is beautiful: forest sitting right by the beach. We saw newly-hatched hummingbirds, a bat, a family of koatis, an anteater, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, pelicans, a woodpecker, pelicans, a jesus lizard (but unfortunately, not on the water), a jaguarundi and macaws.
There are other little hikes around the area and I wish we spent more time down around Corcovado since we were only there for about 3 days. However, I feel lucky to have experienced a little bit of this mini-paradise.