Corcovado National Park Tours are a must when in Costa Rica, we LOVED ours so allow us to help you find the right tour for you!
It is no secret that Costa Rica is absolutely bursting with nature and wildlife and this is what made us totally fall in love with it. But there is one place in particular that blew our minds with how much wildlife we were able to see… Corcovado National Park!
In this post, I will give you a rundown of all of the best Corcovado National Park tours because it really is an incredible place and I want you to experience it for yourself (that and you have to go with a tour so you might as well pick the best one for you).
There are so many tours out there that I know it can get a little overwhelming. I researched for days before picking ours and knowing what I know now, there are a few others I would also LOVE to go on.
Our Top 3 Corcovado National Park Tours
If you are short on time, here are our top 3 of the best Corcovado National Park tours. I will go into detail as to why these are our favourites in this post.
Why Should You Visit Corcovado National Park
It is true that you can see wildlife all over Costa Rica but trust me when I say that nowhere else compares to Corcovado National Park. We spent around 3 weeks in Costa Rica and this tour was the highlight of our trip!
Thanks to its large size, more remote location and the fact that it is still highly protected, it is one of the BEST places to see many different species of wildlife, all in a relatively small area.
Yes, it can be a little more effort to get to but in my opinion that only made it all the more of an adventure and far more satisfying to visit. They only allow a very small amount of people to visit each day so you aren’t overrun by crowds of tourists, which also means the wildlife doesn’t run and hide as much.
When we were there in just one day we saw squirrel monkeys, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, Tapirs, Snakes, Crocodiles, Agoutis, Coatis, iguanas, deer and countless species of birds.
Where is Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park is located on the southwestern coast of Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula. Being on a Peninsula is largely what helps this National Park remain untouched and a haven for wildlife.
You can see on the map below the exact location of the park.
How To Visit Corcovado National Park
Here are a few really important bits of information that you should know before you book your tour to Corcovado;
Having a Guide
The only way to visit Corcovado National Park is with a guided Tour. This is because the park is still incredibly protected and there are only certain areas we are allowed to visit.
Having a guide not only allows the park to remain in its prime but also allows us to get the most out of our visit. Honestly, the local guides must have a sixth sense for finding wildlife and without them, we would’ve missed so much.
Book in advance
It is important to book your tour as far in advance as you can, especially during peak season because they only allow 330 people to enter the park each day. Including the guides! It is also possible to do overnight or even multi-day tours within the park so you will need to decide how long you want to visit for.
Keep in mind that the tours are not particularly cheap, but we found Costa Rica to be a pretty expensive travel destination in general compared to the rest of Latin America.
(all prices I will share in this post are correct as of Feb 2024 but may well change so always double-check before you book)
The different ranger stations
The park is split over 5 ranger stations: San Pedrillo, Sirena, La Leona, Los Patos and El Tigre. The most remote is Sirena and this is the one we visited. it was AMAZING! So the next step is working out which ranger station you want to visit. They all have facilities such as water and toilets for visitors to use.
This is a great site to use if you want to know more details on the individual ranger stations.
Where to visit from
You can also visit Corcovado National Park from multiple places in Costa Rica including Drake Bay, Uvita, Manuel Antonio or Puerto Jimenez. So I am going to divide the best tours up according to which town you will be coming from.
Let’s get stuck in!
Best Corcovado National Park Tours From Drake Bay
Drake Bay is where we did our Corcovado National Park Tour from. If you can, I would really recommend spending a few days here. It was quiet, there were no big resorts or high-rise buildings, only dirt roads and small local restaurants. We loved it here!
✔️ Full day tour to Sirena Station (with lunch)
This is the exact tour we did when we visited Drake Bay on our trip and we LOVED it!
You begin the tour at the meeting point in Drake Bay where everyone then gets onto the boat and you head to Sirena Station by sea. This takes around 45 minutes and the sea can get rough so if you get seasick like Guido then remember to take something to help with this.
We then had to queue at the entrance to the station to have our bags searched and our passports checked. This is just part of the process of making sure only people who have booked can enter the park.
We then spent around 5/6 hours hiking along flat trails in the jungle, following the coastline in search of wildlife and we found loads! Our guide was incredible, spoke perfect English and managed to spot so many different species for us. The guides all also have telescopes to show the animals up close.
This tour includes lunch which you get when you get back to Drake Bay so it is quite a late lunch but still a great way to finish the tour.
- Start point – Rancho Corcovado Lodge, Drake Bay
- End Point – Rancho Corcovado Lodge, Drake Bay
- Duration of tour – 7-8 hours
- Cost per person – from $110
✔️ Full day hiking adventure tour from Los Planes Station
This tour is a fully packed hiking adventure starting with pick up in a 4×4 you will drive to Los Planes station where the 18km hike begins.
This tour is ideal for the more active travellers among us who want to get deep into nature, away from the disturbance of people and even get the chance to spot some wildlife.
You will get to see some impressive waterfalls on this hike too, so if you love nature and you’re serious about hiking then this would be the tour for you!
- Start point – Your hotel in Drake Bay
- End Point – Your hotel in Drake Bay
- Duration of tour – 10 hours
- Cost per person – from $125
✔️ 3 hour night hike into the jungle from Drake Bay
This 3-hour tour starts at 6:30 pm and takes you and a small group into a local farm in the park where many nocturnal species can be found. With the help of your guide’s local knowledge, you will get the chance to see animals such as snakes, kinkajou, frogs and if you’re lucky an ocelot or puma.
- Start point – Your hotel in Drake Bay
- End Point – Your hotel in Drake Bay
- Duration of tour – 3 hours
- Cost per person – from $50
✔️ Overnight tour to Sirena Station
One thing I wish we had done when we did our Corcovado National Park tour was to stay overnight at Sirena Station. Which is precisely what you will do on this tour.
we visited the ranger station and saw the accommodation you would stay in. It is pretty special. The station is fully open with no walls just dorm-style bunks with nets over them so you get to fall asleep to the sound and smells of the jungle…wow!
On this tour not only will you get to hike through the jungle during the day but you will be the very first people in the park in the morning giving you the best chances of seeing some of the even rarer species such as the elusive Pumas.
As rare as they are it is still pretty common to get to see them if you are in the park early enough, I can only imagine how special that would be.
- Start point – Osa Great Adventure, Next to Las Delicias Restaurant, Drake Bay
- End Point – Osa Great Adventure, Next to Las Delicias Restaurant, Drake Bay
- Duration of tour – 2 days
- Cost per person – from $582
5 Day ULTIMATE wildlife adventure to Corcovado & Cano Island
Now let me tell you that this tour sounds EPIC! In fact, we did all of the things in this tour independently or as separate tours and the prices work out about the same so if I were to go back and do it all again then this would be FAR easier.
On this tour, you will begin in Sierpe, explore the rivers in search of crocodiles and get the chance to go star gazing away from all the light pollution. You will visit Drake Bay before heading to the Sirena Station in search of wildlife. You will get to spend the nights in remote locations in the national park where it is just you and the jungle!
You also get to visit Cano Island, another well-protected nature reserve out to sea. We visited on a separate tour to go diving and it was amazing. We saw turtles and sharks and so many fish and all of this can be seen while snorkelling too. Which is exactly what you get the chance to do on this tour!
In the cost of the tour, you get all entry fees to the national parks, accommodation and meals.
- Start point – Sierpe (airport pick up from Drake Bay airport is possible)
- End Point – Back at Sierpe
- Duration of tour – 5 days
- Cost per person – from $1150
How to get to Drake Bay
Getting to Drake Bay is not as difficult as we had read it was. The first thing you will need to do is take a bus or shuttle to Sierpe. You can either travel by public buses or choose the option we did and book a shuttle.
All of the shuttles are organised so that they arrive in Sierpe about an hour before the boats leave because that is the next step in the journey. A speed boat ride through the jungle!
We booked our shuttle with Easy Ride Costa Rica and it was super straightforward. Our pick-up was at 8:30 am and the driver dropped us off right in front of the river where all the boats were waiting. We came from Uvita and paid $45 each for the shuttle.
The Boats to Drake Bay all leave once in the morning around 11 am and again late afternoon around 4 pm. I highly recommend taking the morning boat. The guys at the pier will take the payment of $22 each and will ask for the name of your accommodation in Drake Bay.
When it’s time for the boats to start leaving it will get a little hectic as they ALL start shouting names of accommodations and trying to get the right people on their boats. Listen out for yours and if you don’t hear it all you need to do is ask and they will put you on a boat.
Once everyone is on board you will speed down the river at an exciting pace so hold on tight! The boat takes around 30 minutes to get to Drake Bay, including a stretch of open ocean which can get a little rough.
I strongly recommend wearing sandals or water shoes because there are no piers and you will be disembarking the boats directly onto the beach or into the shallows so you WILL get wet.
It’s all part of the fun though, am I right?
Best Corcovado National Park Tours From Puerto Jimenez
Puerto Jimenez is another spot on the Osa peninsula where Corcovado National Park is located so it may well be that you find yourself there and wanting to explore the park. In that case, you’re in Luck;
✔️ Corcovado wildlife tour to Sirena Station from Puerto Jimenez
This tour is very similar to the one we did at Sirena station, the only difference is that it starts and ends in Puerto Jimenez instead of Drake Bay.
On this tour, you will start by boat with a roughly 1.5-hour journey to Sirena station. Once there you will get roughly 5 hours to hike with your guide and search for all the wonderful wildlife in the area.
- Start point – Panaderia Monar, Puerto Jimenez
- End Point – Panaderia Monar, Puerto Jimenez
- Duration of tour – 8 hours
- Cost per person – from $180
Best Corcovado National Park Tours From Manuel Antonio
It may be the case that you are super short on time and are planning to stay in the area around San Jose and the airport. Well, not to worry because you can still do a day trip to Corcovado National Park from Manuel Antonio.
Nothing shall get between you and a day well spent in nature!
✔️ Full Day Tour to San Pedrillo Station from Manuel Antonio
Starting at the crack of dawn, you will be picked up and will head to Sierpe. From there you will jump in a speed boat to get to San Pedrillo ranger station.
You will spend the day hiking through the jungle in search of wildlife and soaking up all the unspoilt nature. You will get to enjoy lunch in the heart of the park before heading to a beautiful waterfall where it is even possible to go for a dip.
It can be really hot and sticky in the jungle so I can’t think of a better way to end a day of hiking.
- Start point – Your hotel in Manuel Antonio
- End Point – Your hotel in Manuel Antonio
- Duration of tour – 11 hours
- Cost per person – from $270
Other Great Tours From Drakes Bay
If you do decide to head to Drake Bay then here are a few other really great tours that you can do from there.
✔️ Snorkelling Tour to Cano Island (with lunch)
We can highly recommend a day trip to Cano Island if you have the time. We visited to go diving and saw so much sea life but of course, it is possible to snorkel too.
In this snorkelling tour, you will get to visit one of the most protected national parks in Costa Rica. It is so protected that many tours can’t even land on the island, you will just explore the marine life from the water and the boat.
During the tour, you will get to explore 2 separate areas to maximise the chances of seeing a bigger range of sea life. Once back in Drake Bay, you will get to enjoy lunch with the group.
- Start point – Drake Bay main beach
- End Point – Drake Bay
- Duration of tour – 6 hours or half a day
- Cost per person – from $113
✔️ Dolphin and Whale watching tour
This tour is particularly special because they have even been featured on National Geographic! Each year Humpback whales from both North and South America migrate to the waters of Drake Bay making it one of the best places in the world to see them.
The bay is also home to pods of thousands of dolphins. This tour is special because they have marine biologists who join to share about the conservation work they are doing as well as a pretty cool hydrophone that allows you to listen to the whale songs happening below the surface.
- Start point – Drake Bay main beach
- End Point – Drake Bay main beach
- Duration of tour – 6 hours
- Cost per person – from $133
What to bring with you to Corcovado National Park
No matter what tour you do, it is best to pack light because the last thing you want is to be carrying a big heavy bag around with you.
I recommend wearing light, loose clothing, wearing comfy shoes and packing just these essentials;
- Waterproof bag for valuables
- Reusable water bottle
- Money to buy food at the stations but don’t take your own into the park
- a small towel if your tour includes swimming
- Binoculars if you have any
Corcovado National Park Tours FAQ
Here are a few more useful things you might like to know before you go.
When is the best time of year to visit Corcovado National Park?
The dry season from December to April i considered the best time to visit Corcovado National Park. November and May will be much quieter and less crowded.
If the main purpose of your visit is to see Humpback whales then August and September are the best months to visit.
What is the best way to visit Corcovado National Park?
The best way to visit Corcovado National Park in my opinion is to go to Sirena Ranger Station and do an overnight tour.
Can you go to Corcovado without a guide?
No, it is not possible to visit the park without an official guide.
Can you swim in Corcovado National Park?
You can swim in certain areas such as some waterfalls. Your guide will let you know where it is possible and safe to swim. Keep in mind some of the beaches have strong currents so always listen to the advice of your guide.
Can you hike Corcovado?
You certainly can. You can either choose a guided you that is primarily about hiking through the jungle or one of the wildlife-focused tours which still involve moderate hiking.
Best Corcovado National Park Tours – Final Thoughts
So there you have it! All of the best Corcovado National Park tours in one place ready for you to pick your favourite and have an amazing adventure.
I’m 1000% sure that no matter which tour you pick you will have an amazing time but I will always recommend spending time in Drake Bay and going to Sirena Station. You won’t regret it.
If you are looking for more inspiration for your time in Costa Rica then we also really enjoyed Monteverde. We also finished our time in Costa Rica in Puerto Viejo before heading to Bocas Del Toro, if you have time then these 2 destinations are also awesome.