Corcovado national park
26.02.2011 - 02.03.2011 28 °C
Driving into Peninsula de Osa was already something else, crossing rivers on tiny wooden bridges in an old bus, so we were happy to arrive safe and sound in the little town of Puerto Jimenez. After such a strenuous and long ride to this remote place we couldn’t believe our ears when the first couple of hotels we tried were all booked out. After crossing the town for the fourth time we finally found a place to stay...
After installing ourselves we went into town for a drink and a bite and already met up with our tourguide Erick (a.k.a Fuerte!) for the 3day hike in Corcovado. Malka got some ‘cold feet’ after hearing about the long hike for the first day (22km) and after hearing of the wild peccaries (wild pigs) which in groups are known to be biting people that have not been able to climb into a tree...
Since in town there is not a lot to do we didn't do much the following day except for packing our bags and relaxing a bit. Actually, after all the preparations of the last week we were happy that the tour would start soon (apart from the fact that soon also meant getting up at 4:00 in the morning...).
We hoped to be able to sleep some more in the taxi ride up till the first ranger station, but this was a true 4x4 ride, with about 10 (deep!) river crossings and heavy bumps all over the dirt road. But we did arrive at Los Patos as the first group and were soon greeted by the first wild animal of the day, a young puppy. Look how happy (and bit sleepy) Malka is here:
The first part of the track was the most difficult since we had to climb up quite some time. Soon our guide amazingly spotted the first animal, a spectacle owl, which are nighthunters and rarely seen during the day. Unfortunately he flew off before I could reach my camera. This was a real promising start, but as our guide Erick (from Surcostours) kept saying: “Lucky is lucky, you know, I can never promise you what we will see!”. The next thing we saw were the footprints of the illustrious jaguar in the mud, and they were big… Then we walked quite a bit without seeing much animals, I mean 22km is still a fair walk, but surely enjoying the wonderful jungle scenery. And then all of a sudden we walked over a little hill and surprised a tapir (which is a weird animal we saw later again) who instantly ran away into the forest, then another tapir, then monkeys, then a baby fer-de-lance snake (extremely poisonous), then parrots, then monkeys again (different types) and then also a group of wild pigs (the peccaries that Malka was still scared of and she didn't join us when we sneaked up on them a bit closer). Well, I think you get the picture, we saw so much and so many different animals that we hadn't seen before, and it was one wonderful day!
We arrived at the ranger station called La Sirena earlier than expected but still quite tired. So we threw off our shoes, installed ourselves on the seats of the porch and watched the other groups coming in for the night. There was much talk over dinner of different groups that had spotted a puma chasing some spider monkeys, so we knew where we wanted to go the next day! After dinner, the electricity went on for an hour or so, and we prepared our beds and packs for the next day and went to bed early, another 4 o’clock rise ahead of us...
Sleeping was slightly difficult in the heat, and at the time it cooled a bit we got up again to go for our sunrise hike. We went to the spot of the puma sightings, but found nothing, and went back for breakfast a bit disappointed. After breakfast we set off for some trails around the ranger station and quickly ran into some wild turkey and wild chicken (which both can fly really high up!). Then, Erick stopped us suddenly and showed us the goosebumps on his arm because he had spotted a puma that was just about to cross our track. We didn't see it right then although it was only 5meters away from us, but Erick showed the location and yes, we did see it! The puma saw all of us, turned away and ran into the forest, we could only see it for maybe 10 seconds and then it was gone again. Such a majestic animal...we wanted more!
After this encounter we walked on over the track until we hit a big river where we made a stop. The funniest thing here, a crocodile came out of the water and literally posed for our cameras. Another guide stopped by and told us of a tapir sleeping at a place close by, so we went over to have a look! We had a nice long chance to inspect it and found that tapirs are the weirdest animals. They are actually closest related to horses and have the hoofs and backs of horses, however their heads look more like those of hippos and they have noses like anteaters. This partcular one was snoring away and did not let himself interrupt by us...
We went back to the station just for some lunch but finally found us stuck there because some heavy showers kept us from returning to the forest the entire afternoon. We could use the rest, and just played some ´regenwormen´ and removed the ticks from our legs (nasty!) until it was time for dinner and going to bed. Another early rise, because we would be walking over the beach which would get really hot in the afternoon. So we left in the dark, still on the lookout for more animals. We ran into a guide who said he saw a cat, and we waited until it was light enough for our eyes to be able to see something. We were actually standing only about 15 meters away from a huge puma eating his night snack. But since he was eating the didn't go anywhere soon, and we could watch him really well. It was a real magical moment to stand so close and watch such a big cat (one of the biggest pumas our guide had ever seen). And yes, we were lucky, and very happy!
ASK US FOR THE MOVIE WHEN WE GET HOME!!!
Afterwards, we had a long walk left, but a really nice one in a totally different scenary than before. All of a sudden we were walking out of the rainforest that grows on all the way onto some pristine beaches. Just beautiful.
Actually just the night before we set out on that hike, hundreds of colourful crabs had come to the beaches to lay their eggs in little holes. They were everywhere!
And we also found some baby lobsters...
Some 18 kilometers futher we made it to the La Leona ranger station, and then to the end of our hikes, Carate town.
Tired and extremely happy!!!