Costa RicaCosta Rica

A Day in a Remote Tropical Paradise

Destination: Drake Bay

After a peaceful night's sleep, occasionally waking to the sound of crashing waves and howler monkeys who howled this morning at the first break of dawn, I am ready for whatever adventures the day may bring. I am scheduled for a full day hike in the Corcovado National Park.

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Coffee and made to order breakfast are available every morning here at the Lodge. I don't usually eat breakfast, but knowing I'd be walking lots today, I fueled up with eggs, bacon, fresh fruit and granola with yogurt.

My guide, Michi and I embark for the trails with our boxed lunch and plenty of water around 8am. The La Leona ranger station is 10 minutes up from the Lodge along the beach. The Rio Madrigal Trail changes names several times as you head north towards the Sirena Ranger Station. It begins here and follows the beach, eventually reaching the Sirena Ranger Station, 16km away from La Leona. The trail is shaded and flat. Bananas planted 30+ years ago remain as indication of the gold miners who once lived here before the area became a National Park.

Although Corcovado is home to large populations of mammals and birds, it is often difficult to spot them because the park is so large. The scarlet macaws are plentiful along the beach, and I have already seen more then 20 this morning. Michi and I walk at a leisurely pace for a few hours, seeing only a few small birds, two common black hawks and two Red Brocket Deer. Other than that, the forest is very quiet. Not even the monkeys appear active today in our section of the forest.

We pass many large golden orb spider webs; fortunately they are located off to the side of the trail. Some webs have caught large insects still wiggling, but doomed to certain death, while other webs have only the crusty remains of what was a tasty snack.

At the Madrigal River, we remove our boots for crossing and take a rest after wading through the cool, fresh water. After crossing the River, we visit the gold miners' cemetery and then hike for two more hours. It is hot and humid and I am soaked with perspiration. It's a good thing I brought lots of water. We stop for lunch after crossing the Rio Edionda. The beach is deserted and only the plethora of hermit crabs seems to move in the heat of the day.

We continue along the trail, now called the El Barco trail and spot a tamandua (collared anteater) foraging in a tree. He is small with a long nose and very cute. A little further up the trail we take a short side trail leading the beach where there is an old boat engine lodged in the sand just off shore, hence the name of the trail.

Michi and I walk until about 2pm, when we take a short rest on the beach under the shade of a beach almond tree and then begin our journey home. Walking a bit faster on the return trip, we are blessed with a refreshing afternoon shower and spot another tamandua. This one is on the ground right next to the trail and seems to pay no attention to us. We also pass a salmon bellied racer (non-venomous snake) slithering in the underbrush.

We pass by the ranger station and hear that there was a puma sighting today along the beach, but it was not our luck to see it. We arrive back at the camp after 4pm. I feel peaceful and lucky to have spent my day in such a remote and extraordinary place.

Another cool shower and a refreshing beer prepare me to welcome the evening. Sunset from the bar at Corcovado Lodge is peaceful as I sit in a hammock in the upper loft of the bar.

New guests have arrived today and we sit family style at a large picnic table and enjoy our gourmet dinner in the jungle. Homemade soup and freshly grilled tuna fill my tummy. We all enjoy lively dinner conversation and turn in early in anticipation of tomorrow's escapades.

Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp is an exceptional place. You come here to enjoy its remoteness, tranquility and closeness to nature while having the basic amenities like comfortable beds, fresh showers, guided hikes and gourmet food. There are no air conditioners humming in the background, only the sounds of the forest to lull you to sleep.

The large tents at Corcovado Lodge are on a raised wooden platforms and have mesh sides, with curtains on the inside available for more privacy. I leave mine open for stargazing and to allow the breeze to keep me cool at night. A sheet or light blanket is all you need here. There is no electricity in the tents, only candles. When it's dark here, it's dark. You cannot even see your hand in front of your face when there is no moonlight.

The sounds of the ocean and the numerous trees frogs fill the silence, while the Camp falls dark and still. Sea turtles come ashore during the night to lay their eggs and because there is no light pollution from the Lodge, the turtles have been unaffected by this lodges presence.

The staff here is extremely accommodating and friendly. The other guests are friendly and interesting people from around the world. I feel lucky to be surrounded by such good people and to be in such an amazing place. Ahhh, the beauty of the world and its mystical places; they never cease to amaze and humble me.

A Day in a Remote Tropical Paradise in Pictures

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