Corcovado National Park, located on Costa Rica's remote Osa Peninsula, is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. It's the perfect spot for jungle exploration, and this six-day itinerary mixes rugged adventure with culture and luxury. It's designed for those who want an off-the-beaten-path nature experience featuring windswept Pacific beaches and trails that meander through virgin rainforest abounding with wildlife.

Highlights

  • Spot exotic wildlife on the Osa Peninsula 
  • Hike through virgin rainforest in Corcovado National Park
  • Snorkel or dive off the coast of Isla del Caño Nature Reserve
  • View wildlife from monkeys to macaws—and maybe even a jaguar

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Costa Rica - Experience San José's Culture and History San Jose
Day 2 Fly to Osa Peninsula - Explore Puerto Jiménez Puerto Jiménez
Day 3 Los Patos to La Sirena Station Corcovado National Park
Day 4 Full Day at La Sirena Ranger Station Corcovado National Park
Day 5 Sirena to La Leona Corcovado National Park
Day 6 Scuba Diving Isla del Caño Corcovado National Park
Day 7 Transfer from Puerto Jiménez to San José - Depart Costa Rica  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Costa Rica - Experience San José's Culture and History

The central dome of Catedral Metropolitan
The central dome of Catedral Metropolitan

Welcome to Costa Rica, the land of pura vida! Upon arrival in the capital of San José, a local representative will meet you and escort you to your luxury hotel. The rest of the day you'll have free to explore the city at your own pace. One idea is to visit the Mercado Central (Central Market), which boasts over 200 shops, food stalls, and sodas (traditional restaurants). Then you could visit the Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Church), whose interior combines Greek Orthodox, Neoclassical, and Baroque styles,  and features wood carvings and stained-glass windows.

Be sure to explore Barrio Amón, a historic neighborhood home to cafetalero (coffee grower) mansions built during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of this area’s historic buildings have been converted into hotels, restaurants, and galleries, making Amón a popular bohemian district. For dinner, you might want to opt for a gourmet restaurant in the hills of Escazú. This elevated region on the western edge of the city offers panoramic views of the valley below. No matter where you go, though, the whole city is filled with delectable, high-end restaurants serving everything from traditional local to forward-thinking fusion cuisine.

Day 2: Fly to Osa Peninsula - Explore Puerto Jiménez

Beach near Puerto Jiménez
Beach near Puerto Jiménez

Today you'll board a flight to Puerto Jiménez, the main transport hub on the secluded Osa Peninsula. It's the perfect base of operations as Jiménez is flanked on the west side by Corcovado National Park and the blue waters of the Golfo Dulce ("Sweet Gulf") to the east. The beaches in this area are remote and many offer excellent surfing. The Golfo Dulce is also a favorite playground for pods of spinner dolphins, so keep an eye out and your camera ready.

You'll have the rest of the day to relax and laze on the beaches until your heart's content. At night, it's time to head out. Don't be intimidated by the remoteness—Puerto Jiménez is one of the largest towns on the Osa Peninsula. It thus offers several gourmet dining options guaranteed to sate your appetite. Many of these restaurants feature world-class seafood and oceanfront tables.

Day 3: Los Patos to La Sirena Station

All four types of monkeys in Costa Rica, including howler monkeys, exist in Corcovado
All four types of monkeys in Costa Rica, including howler monkeys, exist in Corcovado

Awake early and enjoy breakfast at your luxury eco-lodge. You'll need the energy, as today you'll be hiking nearly 13 miles (21 km) through the heart of Corcovado. You'll begin at Los Patos Ranger Station, in the northeast of the park, and finish at La Sirena Biological Station in the southwest, where you'll overnight.

Along the way, the trail leads through the protected rainforest, so you'll want to keep a sharp eye out for exotic flora and fauna. You likely won't have to wait long—Corcovado is home to a staggering 5% of the world's biodiversity. Common animals spotted here include monkeys, agoutis, tropical birds, and reptiles. Do be aware of the white-lipped peccaries, as these pig-like animals travel in packs of up to fifty and can be aggressive. 

Day 4: Full Day at La Sirena Ranger Station

Scarlet macaw
Scarlet macaw

You'll have a full day free to explore the trails in and around La Sirena Station, located in the heart of Corcovado. This is the largest outpost and the main contact point for all visitors to Corcovado National Park due to its proximity to the coast. That means it's accessible by foot, plane, or boat, so you'll likely run into other visitors.

You'll also encounter local inhabitants in the form of various exotic wildlife. Maybe you'll spot leatherback turtles just offshore, or curious coatis scavenging near the coast. There are always ample birding opportunities in Corcovado, and common species include scarlet macaws and tiger herons.

Day 5: Sirena to La Leona

Beach in Corcovado
Beach in Corcovado

You'll awake early in order to depart for the last station on your Corcovado hike: the La Leona Ranger Station. The coastal trail leading there is 10 miles (16 km) long and follows the scenic coastline along the southern edge of the park. This path takes you through coastal forest and along deserted beaches where you might encounter tapirs, red brocket deer, opossums, and, yes, even pumas. After reaching the station, you will then exit the park and continue a short way to your next lodging, an upscale hotel located right on the beach.

Day 6: Scuba Diving Isla del Caño

Scuba dive or snorkel in the waters of Isla del Caño
Scuba dive or snorkel in the waters of Isla del Caño

Today, you'll have the pleasure of exploring the waters of the Caño Island Biological Reserve on a scuba diving excursion. This protected marine area is located just off the northern tip of the Osa Peninsula, by Bahia Drake (Drake Bay). The area is home to an abundance of marine life including reef sharks, sea turtles, parrot fish, eels, manta rays, puffer fish, snappers, sea cucumbers, octopus, and many more. There's also a wide variety of coral-building organisms and 19 different species of coral, such as fan, head, and brain coral. 

To arrive there, you'll board a 30-foot Island Hopper and an expert will offer a safety lesson geared for all ages and experience levels. Then it's time to plunge into the water. Visibility is 30-100 feet throughout the year, making Caño Island a perfect site for underwater photography.

Day 7: Transfer from Puerto Jiménez to San José - Depart Costa Rica

Take a sunrise beach walk before your flight
Take a sunrise beach walk before your flight

It's time to say goodbye to Costa Rica! Wake up early and enjoy the sunrise over the beach. It will give you ample time to snap some photos and take a final dip in the ocean. After breakfast, a driver will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to the airport, where you'll catch a short flight back to the capital of San José. From here, you'll connect to your flight home. Adios!

Map

Map of Osa Peninsula: Luxury Getaway and Jungle Adventure - 7 Days
Map of Osa Peninsula: Luxury Getaway and Jungle Adventure - 7 Days
Yenyi
Published by Yenyi Fu, updated May 4, 2019