Surcos Tours offers a variety of transportation & hiking options when visiting Corcovado National Park. Find out how to pick the tour that matches your ability, time frame & budget!
Choosing Surcos Tours
Choosing Surcos Tours was an easy decision once we realized you could no longer hike Corcovado National Park independently. Besides a wealth of information on their website & route flexibility, they were very fast to respond via email. This was crucial for us as they were still able to procure permits & make arrangements at the last minute! Normally, you should book at least one week in advance.
As we were hiking we learned a bit more about Surcos Tours from our guide, Pablo. He informed us that Surcos Tours is a family run business spread over southwest Costa Rica. Although the office & owner are in Puerto Jimenez, siblings & in-laws contribute via the internet. The original goal of the company was to create employment for rural residents where jobs were difficult to obtain.
In order to provide long term sustainability for Corcovado National Park, Surcos Tours teamed up with a handful of local companies to create Programa Corcovado Limpio. This program aims to keep the beaches clean from garbage that arrives from the ocean’s currents for a more pristine experience for park guests. A recent endeavor has been to plant coconut trees along a landslide that occurred during Hurricane Otto to give nature a jump start.
How to Get To & From Sirena Station
La Sirena is the hub of Corcovado National Park, & the home to much of the wildlife you will spot on your tour. Many people visit La Sirena with Surcos Tours as a day trip, but it is also possible to stay overnight to enjoy the surrounding trails more thoroughly.
Let’s look at the options for getting to & from La Sirena Station:
#1. Flying to Sirena Station
By far, the most exhilarating & fastest way to reach La Sirena Ranger Station in Corcovado National Park is by a small propeller airplane.
The flight whisks you to the other side of Osa Peninsula in 15 minutes, but seems worlds apart.
#2. Boat Ride from Bahia Drake to Sirena Station
The boat ride from Bahia Drake to Sirena Station is a great alternative if you want to limit your hiking & want a more affordable option compared to the flight.
This option costs $25 each way, & your personal luggage can be flown (pending existing flights) to Puerto Jimenez for $20 each piece. This prevents any backtracking to Bahia Drake if you planned on hiking out of Corcovado National Park with Surcos Tours.
#3. Carate & La Leona Station to Sirena Station
If you are going to hike in and/or out of Corcovado National Park with Surcos Tours, then the La Leona to Sirena trail is the one to hike. Outside of Sirena Station, this trail has the best variety & quantity of wildlife in Corcovado National Park.
Surcos Tours covers the Puerto Jimenez to Carate road by shuttle, followed by a 3.5 km hike (1 hr) to La Leona Station. It is then a further 16 km hike (5-6 hrs) inside Corcovado National Park along a level path in the secondary jungle next to the ocean & along the sweltering beach.
To find out more information about this section, visit our post Corcovado National Park: 3 Days Hiking with Surcos Tours.
#4. Los Patos Station to Sirena Station
The Los Patos Station to Sirena Station is for those that want a real jungle experience as you traverse through the interior of Corcovado National Park with Surcos Tours. You will still see a variety of monkeys & other wildlife, but numbers will be limited due to poachers having easier access to this side of Corcovado National Park. The animals have taken refuge around Sirena Station & on the trail to La Leona Station.
The elevation change is dramatic around Los Patos Station. Although it is easier to start rather than finish at Los Patos Station for this reason, you may want to take the harder way if you are also hiking the section from Carate & La Leona Station to Sirena Station. For some reason, there is more wildlife seen during the hike in with Surcos Tours, than when you hike out.
Why You Should Visit Sirena Station in Corcovado National Park
The reason everyone makes their way to Sirena Station in Corcovado National Park is to see an abundance of wildlife. Some of the noteworthy species that are difficult to find in other Costa Rican parks, but you are almost certain to see around Sirena Station are Tapirs, Spider Monkeys, & Peccaries.
You may also see an Anteater (more common on the La Leona Trail), Snake, Puma, Crocodile, or Caiman. Similar to other national parks in Costa Rica, you can find a variety of birdlife & monkeys, Coatis, & Agouti around.
Although you will see a lot of wildlife on a day trip with Surcos Tours to Corcovado National Park, you still only have a handful of hours during your visit. It is best to budget an extra day to explore the trails around Sirena Station at opportune wildlife spotting times such as sunrise & sunset.
How Many Days to Spend in Corcovado National Park
Unless you are short on time or on a tight budget, consider spending at least one night & preferably two at Sirena Station. This will allow you to see virtually everything on your wildlife wish list with the possible exception of jungle cats.
Here are some of the options with Surcos Tours for the following types of visitors:
#1. Keen on Wildlife, but Not Hiking
For those that love to witness animals in the wild but don’t like to hike, consider booking a roundtrip flight from Puerto Jimenez or taking a boat to & from Bahia Drake. This will minimize your time & energy getting to Sirena Station in Corcovado National Park.
The ideal timeframe for your visit would be two days, with one night at Sirena Station. This would allow you to arrive in the morning, explore the local trails that are mostly level the remainder of the day, finish exploring the following morning, & depart early afternoon.
#2. Keen on Hiking & Spotting Wildlife
If you are moderately fit & love to hike in addition to spotting wildlife, then consider hiking both in & out of Corcovado National Park with Surcos Tours. The best path is from Carate & La Leona Station to Sirena Station with a known Sloth hangout & plenty of Anteaters along the way.
You can then return the same way, or tackle the more rugged Sirena Station to Los Patos Station trail.
#3. Best Overall Value & Experience Surcos Tours
After visiting Corcovado National Park with Surcos Tours, we here at DIY Travel HQ feel that the best value option is to hike from Carate & La Leona Station to Sirena Station, & take the boat to Bahia Drake the following afternoon.
This allows you to see wildlife on the inbound hiking trail when they are more active, & increases your chances of seeing Sloths & Anteaters. The following morning can be spent exploring the trails around Sirena Station in depth starting at sunrise.
The additional cost of a water taxi ($25) & flying your bag ($20) is offset by not staying at the Sirena Station dorm ($30) & extra day of Corcovado National Park admission ($15). Further savings include the licensed guide fee for the return hike & any meals you may need to purchase at Sirena Station.
In our opinion, this is the best way to experience the highlights of Corcovado National Park on a budget!
Know Before You Go
Location: Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
Duration: 1-3 days
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Prices: Please contact Surcos Tours for pricing after selecting the tour you would like to take
Read Surcos Tours’ Tripadvisor reviews here
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***The Final Word – However you visit Corcovado National Park, don’t miss the trails surrounding Sirena Station & the hike to La Leona Station if possible ***
How would you visit Corcovado National Park?
* We received a complimentary tour in Corcovado National Park with Surcos Tours, thank you to Niko for hosting us. We only recommend fun, value for money activities & experiences that we believe our readers would enjoy. As always, all opinions are our own.
Visited in January 2017