Searching for a Slice of Paradise

The Corcovado National Park has been described by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on earth”. Gilly and I had visited it 18 years ago when we were in Costa Rica and were keen to go again or at least to get close to it on the Osa Peninsular. However in the nature of keeping it really wild it is not that easy to access. It is possible to hike in but it’s a 20km hike which is not reasonably feasible with the kids. Or you can take a
boat or even a plane, neither of which are feasible with the truck. We had heard it might be possible to drive to a beach on the doorstep of the park with great nature all around.

So we decided to explore this option together with the Dutchies and Petra. The drive to the Osa Peninsular from Dominical was straight forward and the first part of the drive on the peninsular was also good on a tar road. For the last 40 kms though the road turned to gravel and twisted its way up and down a number of steep hills.

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There were also a number of streams and rivers to cross. We needed to drive through the streams as the bridges across were too small for us. However we all had to drive through some of the rivers as there were no bridges.

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Even with a rough road some people still manage to have a nap.

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Fortunately the road was in a fairly good state as it was the dry season. After 30km we reached the small village of Aguitas on Bahia Drake where we stopped for lunch. There were Scarlet Macaws everywhere in the trees in the village. We wanted to push on though to a beach we had heard about, Playa San Josecito right on the edge of Corcorvado National Park. This meant a further 10km drive including driving through a number of additional rivers. We arrived at the beach only to discover we were still a couple of hundred metres above it and there was a steep hill to drive down. Engaging low gear we drove down and just before pulling on to the grassy field in front of the beach we were stopped by concrete bollards. So close!

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The 40 Km drive had taken 3 hours. We asked at the house next to the end of the road and they said there was no problem parking in the road or in the field beyond as long as we did not drive on the beach which we were not intending to do anyway. The Dutchies were able to squeeze through the bollards and Petra was allowed to drive through their field to get close to the beach but we were too big. Anyway we decided we were close enough as the beach was less than 100m away.

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The beach was gorgeous. Almost deserted with the tropical rainforest coming right down to the sea. When the sun set we knew the drive had been worth it.

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The next morning we set out to hike into the rainforest keeping close to the beach. The trail was hot, sticky and slippy but beautiful. We did not see a lot of wildlife except for lots of crabs and some beautiful butterflies.

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When we came back a group of Scarlet Macaws were squabbling in the nearby tree. They are magnificent birds with beautiful plumage but frustratingly difficult to photograph.

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When I came across some more much closer on an afternoon walk with Michel I did not have my camera with me.

As there was a group of us on the beach we thought this would be a great time to try and bake bread in our Dutch oven. So Gilly, Erika and the girls got out the flour and the yeast and set to kneading the dough.

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There was abundant driftwood on the beach so it was easy to make a fire. The final result was pretty good and went down well with the lasagne which we also cooked on the fire.

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The next day the Dutchies and Petra decided to leave, we hope we will catch up with them again in Panama. As it was so lovely we decided to stay another day. We went on another walk the other way up the beach. This was not rainforest but instead had palm trees all along the beach.

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As there was an abundance of driftwood on the beach we had another beach campfire. It was really beautiful cooking baked potatoes, sweet corn and steak on the beach as the sun set. It was just a shame there were loads of biting black flies.

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The next morning before first light the rain started coming down. This had me worried as I did not want the road up the hill to be slippy. Anyway it shortly eased off and just after dawn we set off back. The drive out did not take so long but we did not fancy pushing on to the border so instead camped at the Tropenstation La Gamba which is a research station on the edge of the rainforest. It was very hot here and we did not get the benefit of the sea breezes.

They had a network of trails through the rainforest and despite the heat we decided to explore. It was a hot and sticky hike on the steep slippy trails but we thought we should do one last hike in the rainforest before we left Costa Rica. Whilst it was very green we did not see much wildlife but we did see this bird at a water hole.

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