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Corcovado, Costa Rica: where everyone is a nature photographer

Our guest blogger Traveling Ted asks: Have you ever dreamed of being a nature photographer, but the thought of sitting in a humid, bug-infested jungle for months waiting for a bird to show up and dance does not appeal? Or maybe sleeping in grizzly country waiting for a wolverine is not your cup of tea?

If dealing with the hardships one must endure to photograph nature is not in your blood, yet you still want beautiful close-up shots of nature, then Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica is for you. It is not easy to get to as it is in the remote Osa Peninsula in the country’s far southwest coast, but once you are there you will think you are in a zoo.

National Geographic calls the jungle one of the most biologically intense places in the world. The heart of the park is the Sirena Ranger Station located on the coast in the middle of the park. 

One can hike in following the coast at either entry point in the park, hike inland from Los Patos, or enter via a plane or boat. Believe it or not, there is a remote airstrip in the middle of the jungle and for USD$50 it is possible to fly in. For those that do not have much time to stay in Corcovado, this option is highly recommended. The view coming into the park from the small plane is worth the money in itself.

Flying into Sirena saves a 6-8 hour hike, depending on which way you arrive. This is where the best animal and bird spotting occur, so you might as well fly in and save your time to hike the trail network in Sirena. If you have time, hiking into the Sirena is quite an adventure and worth the effort. 

On a recent trip, the nature sightings began slowly as the first 10-15 minutes only netted a termite hill and some lizards. Suddenly everything changed. We saw troops of spider, howler, and squirrel monkeys; we saw these amazing wild turkeys called currosows, several toucans and later on a Baird’s tapir with a baby. Tapirs are a distant relative to the rhinoceros and they are endangered, so not an animal one sees every day.

Corcovado also has anteaters, pumas, and jaguars. A sign at Sirena gives advice on what to do if a feline is encountered. We did not see any, but another guide had spotted a mother puma and a baby a couple of days before just outside of the park.

The birdlife is awesome as well. We saw tiger herons, hummingbirds, hawks, vultures, eagles, flycatchers, and various other pretty birds which I could not identify. Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica is a place where even a point and shoot digital photographer can take amazing shots of nature.

About the Author: Traveling Ted has been adventure traveling since he was ten years old. His first trip was a three day hiking trip in the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 1980. Since then he has hiked, canoed, and skied through the Midwest, the United States, and the world. His favorite places include Quetico Provincial Park in Canada, Everglades National park in Florida, and Khao Yai National Park in Thailand. Check out his blog, Traveling Ted or follow him on twitter.

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