Trekking to the heart of the jungle – Sirena Ranger station in Corcovado national park!
So far on the trip we had done several half day or full day treks in the jungle, with the Gibbon Experience in Laos being the most memorable. This was going to be very different as the Corcovado national park was wilder and more remote than anything I’ve ever seen before. If you want to experience what Costa Rica would have looked like if the wave of American tourists had never washed ashore, then check this park out. We experienced close encounters with crocodiles, sharks, monkeys and wild untouched nature.
We started off early in the morning from Puerto Jimenez and drove down to Carate where we left the car and was originally supposed to get some breakfast. It turned out that the people running the only little shack shop in that place had been drinking A LOT the night before, and it was just barely that we managed to get them to open the gates so we could park our car in there… Luckily enough we had bought some sandwiches in Puerto Jimenez so we had some food, not a lot but enough to get us going.
The first part of the trek is on sand along one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. It’s like it’s taken right out of Jurassic Park, which is kind of ironic as the island that Jurassic Park was filmed on is located right outside the Osa peninsula which Corcovado is situated on. I was halfway expecting dinosaurs to venture out from the thick jungle! Just after a few hundred metres my wish of seeing some macaws was fulfilled as we passed a tree with atleast ten of them squaking away. They’re truly majestc and beautiful birds and is still the bird I think about when somebody says parrot. I had been bitching about seeing a macaw for weeks so it was about time!
Our destination for the day was the Sirena ranger station, a gruelling 15 km away. The trek was long and hard but it was definently worth it as we saw some amazing things on the way. The trek to the Sirena ranger station has to be timed pretty good as part of the trek becomes impossible to cross when the tide is high. So the first part of the trek was a race against the clock as the tide was coming closer and closer. We made it safely and sat the tide out at a nice lagoon eating our last leftover food. Check out the pics below!
One of the last obstacles to cross before we got to the Sirena ranger station was the Rio Claro river. Our guide Felipe had told us a horror story about his last trek where they had to cross the river further up due to the tide and you had to wade up to your chest in water. As they had passed a log halfway over the river they discovered that a huge crocodile was hiding behind it! They waited untill the croc had passed and continued over the river unharmed, but hot damn.. a huge croc! So we were glad when we made it to the river and the tide was low enough for us to cross it down by the beach. It wasn’t wider than ten metres and we crossed it without a hitch. It was when we got to the other side and Gil was about to go and wash his shoes in the water that we spotted the crocodile about ten metres away from us, with it’s huge jaws wide open! Now that’s some scary shit!!
As we arrived at the ranger station having fought of armadas of mosquitos for the last couple of kilometres we were really happy at the thought of some relaxation and most of all the promise of a proper meal! The ranger station is really basic but has everything that you need out there. Alright food, plastic matresses to make the hard wood floor a bit more bearable and showers to take the worst of the grit of your body. The ranger station is also known to be a legendary place to spot Taipirs and you are supposedly almost guaranteed to see one if you go here. We looked for three days, but didn’t get the chance to spot one. There are on the other side plenty of other animals to keep you interested as the howler monkeys send out their spine chilling scream and throw nuts at he metal roof on the station to keep you awake as long as possible.
It was weird to wake up by myself at 5am in the morning and getting up without an alarm clock as I’ve never managed to get used to getting up this early. Somehow being at the ranger station and sleeping outdoors with all the sounds of nature up close made waking up early so much easier! I would still not recommed trying that in the Norwegian winter though..
The next day we trekked around the Sirena ranger station area and had a wicked wildlife experience as we watched the sharks in the water at the Sirena river. At high tide you could actually see the fins of the sharks swimming only metres away from the beach! The waves on these beaches looked great, but if there’s one place I wouldn’t surf it was right here.. the combination of sharks and crocodiles should be enough to put anyone off!
We spent the evening playing cards and as the darkness fell on the ranger station we sat gazing at the stars and using our headlights to spot eyes in the night. The place feels abuzz with acitivity at night as you could hear movement in the trees around the station. It was weird to think about how far into the jungle we actually were and the chance of animals walking up on the platforms were we slept was more than existant. It was one of the best experiences on the trip and I really recommend it!
The trip back turned out to be even harder than the way to the ranger station, with the last kilometres on sand being just torture.. but luckily at the end of the beach the little shack was open and sold coke and candy at inflated but more than justified prices. We would probably have paid her twice the amount..
It had been a adventure filled, tiresome, long, fantastic and utmost incredible trip that I would recommend to anyone. If you’re not sure about it then hire a guide and go, its that simple!