Best Corcovado Hike

Surcos Tours: Choosing the Best Corcovado Hike

In Costa Rica, Hiking, Most Popular Posts 4, Tours, Wildlife by Erik @ DIY Travel HQ9 Comments

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 to visit one of the best places in Costa Rica.

* Don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before any trip to Costa Rica.We’ve been using World Nomads through 80+ countries over the past 12 years and have been really happy with their coverage and services.

La Leona Station

Signing in to Corcovado National Park with Surcos Tours

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.

We also recommend Lonely Planet’s Costa Rica guide book to help you plan your trip.

Surcos Tours Programa Corcovado Limpio

Planting coconut trees to help nature recover after a landslide during Hurricane Otto.

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:

Sirena Station

Sirena Station offers food & lodging in the heart of Corcovado National Park

#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.

Plane to Sirena Station

Arrive in style at Sirena Station!

#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.

Hiking trails Corcovado

We didn’t see the boat so here is one of the many hiking trails around Sirena Station!

#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.

La Leona Corcovado

La Leona Station is just a 16km hike to Sirena Station!

#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.

Coati & vultures

Coati digging up turtle eggs on the beach, watched over by vultures

Why You Should Visit Sirena Station

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.

Tapir sunset

A tapir in the water at sunset near Sirena Station

How Many Days to Spend in Corcovado?

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:

Corcovado Park

Corcovado National Park, where all your wildlife dreams come true!

#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.


Anteaters are easy to find in Corcovado National Park!

#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.

Corcovado beach

Walk across beautiful, wild beaches on the trail from Carate to Sirena Station

#3. Best Overall Value & Experience Surcos Tours

After visiting Corcovado National Park with Surcos Tours, we 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!

Sunrise at Sirena Station

Sunrise on the beach near Sirena Station

Hawk Corcovado

When are you flying to Costa Rica to experience Corcovado National Park?!

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

Contact Information:

Read Surcos Tours’ Tripadvisor reviews here

***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?

* Thank you to Niko & Surcos Tours for hosting us in Corcovado National Park. We only recommend fun, value for money activities & experiences that we believe our readers would enjoy. As always, all opinions are our own.

This post may contain affiliate links which means that we receive a small commission if you click on a link & purchase something that we’ve recommended, at no extra cost to you.

Visited in January 2017


  1. Beautiful post and the wildlife is precious and abundant. I’ve never been to visit there but definitely tempted. The ant eater is very cute. Thanks

  2. You have some incredible pictures! We are visiting Central America next year so I’ll definitely have to add this to the list – good to know there’s some alternatives for those who don’t want to do too much hiking.

  3. This looks amazing!! I want to go to Costa Rica in May and will put this on my list for sure. I love the jungle and would love to see the wildlife that lives there, like a Tapir.

  4. All the wildlife is awesome! I actually just taught my elementary students about Corcovado. Thank you for including so many details about cost. I always forget to do that! The contact details are really helpful too!

  5. Such a beautiful place with so much of diverse and amazing wildlife. When I started reading your post, I didn’t know where corcovado national park is exactly located. Then finally saw on the map. I can plan for it 🙂

  6. I am a big fan of wild life parks and this park worth visiting for that. Some more activities make this park more visit worthy for me.

  7. It’s a beautiful post! I haven’t heard of these places and they are oh-so-amazing. Especially the beach and wildlife are awesome. Thanks 🙂

  8. The pictures are really amazing. A true jungle experience would be fun and thrilling! And the beaches are so clean. The anteater looks adorable!. Not sure about the animal in the first picture.

  9. I’m still so unfamiliar with Central American attractions so its nice to be introduced to new things, especially in the world of travel blogging where things can get so saturated. I really really want to go to Costa Rica but I have this irrational phobia of most animals, especially anytime of lizard, so I think I might have to keep postponing before I muster up the courage…

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