The day has arrived for my family to gear up for our greatest expedition to date: Jungle exploring in Corcovado National Park. Corcovado was named “most biodvierse” place left on planter earth and it is the reason we came to Costa Rica.
I hired a private guide to take us through he park. One cannot enter the park without a professional park guide. Caesar was recommended to me. He meets us a 7a.m. at our boat dock.
*To follow our entire jungle adventures to date link here: Jungle Adventures!
I researched what to wear and what to bring on a jungle hike. Caesar is impressed that we’re carrying our rubber boots. He’s wearing some as well. He says most travellers bring expensive hiking boots that are useless in the park. There are jungle streams and rivers to cross and the boots will get soaked. We were warned to wear tall socks that reach above the boots to prevent blisters. Our overall jungle attire appears more Roxy-Roller than safari but Caesar says we’re well suited for the day.
Caesar tells me we’ve chosen the perfect time of year to visit Corcovado–at the first start of wet (rainy) season. The streams have returned to the coastal trails along with the animals yet they are still streams and not dangerous jungle rivers yet.
The trip to Corcovado requires a 2 1/2 + hour boat ride along the rugged and uninhabited South Pacific coast of Costa Rica. We’re heading to Sirena Ranger Station as the area is extremely remote and tops for animal sightings. For the first hour we take a boat ride down the Sierpe River past huge crocodiles (sleeping in the morning sun) that vanish as soon as the boat gets near. We cruise past a couple of howler moneys sitting in trees on the river’s edge. They are quiet as we pass.
Finally, the moment arrives when our teeny-tiny boat must attempt to leave the wide, seemingly calm waters of the Sierpe River and enter the South Pacific Ocean. The life jackets are ancient and Pippi’s doesn’t fit properly (the belt is missing). The boat is on the small side to ride the ocean waves. Caesar says it is relatively calm compared to later in the rainy season. He says they’ll use a bigger boat in few month’s time. I’m thinking NOW would be a good time to bring out the big boats! The mother in me is nervous for us all.The currents are mighty and unpredictable as the small boat charges through the wide mouth of the river and enters the strong chopping currents of the vast South Pacific Ocean. I feel the bump of every wave as we’re tossed about in the currents.
Here we are, our small human bodies crammed into a small boat, heading towards the unknown through the vast South Pacific Ocean. I am both thrilled and partially incredulous to find myself on such a journey. It is a dream come true. At 15 I wanted to be a National Geographic photographer; the thirst for adventure has never left me and at this moment on the wild South Pacific Ocean, it is as though I am living a story out of National Geographic.
Suddenly the driver slows. We’ve passed the area were Bahai Drake resides. We’re too far off shore to see anything but jungle coastline but this is the place where Sir Francis Drake came ashore in the late 1600s.
Brown Boobies hover over the water, racing along with the boat. Dolphins are near. Boobies hunt fish along with the dolphins. Where boobies are, dolphins are near…
We part ways with the dolphins and continue our journey south. There are periods of serious choppiness and then a tropical rain storm soaks us all to our skin as we sit in the boat braving the wind, waves and rain. The rugged coast is like nothing I expected to see in my life time, no human habitation, only miles and miles of deep jungle meeting the ocean. An occasional waterfall drops from the jagged rocks into the sea.
The sky clears just as the boat slows. We have arrived at the jungle entrance point for hiking to Sirena Ranger Station: wet, relieved and exhillerated. This is Corcovado. I can’t believe we are actually here.
There is no dock. It will be a wet drop off. The boat gets as near to shore as possible in the strong current and we take turns jumping off the back. We’ve worn water shoes and bathing suits to get to shore and are carrying the rest of our supplies in back packs.
Stay tuned for Part II CORCOVADO coming to this blog next. You won’t believe the variety of exotic animals we spy in the jungle!