Corcovado National Park

The Corcovado National Park has an extension of 41.788 Hectares and is one of the rainiest regions in the country with records of up to 5500 mm. of rainfall per year.

The park is mainly covered with mountain forest, which covers over half of the parkland and has the greatest variety of plant and animal life in the area. The cloud forest, which grows in the upper reaches of the park and has a wealth of oak trees and tree ferns. The alluvial plains forest, which covers the lowlands and is composed of a series of species associated with the soil and water of the park. The swamp forest which is covered with water almost all year round. The freshwater herbaceous swamp. also known as Corcovado Lagoon which covers approximately 1.000 Ha. and provides a vast refuge for the wildlife of the park's mangrove swamp.

There are 500 species of trees in the entire park. which is a fourth of all the tree species that exist in Costa Rica. Some of the largest trees grow to 40 and 50 meters high like the Purple Heart or Nazareno tree (Peltogyne purpurea). the Poponjoche tree (Huberodendron allenii), the Nargusta (Terminalla chiriquensis), the banak (Virola kos'chnyl). the Cow tree (Brosirn urn terra ban urn), the Espavel Anacardium excelsum). and the crabwood (Carapa guianensis). In the lowlands stands what is probably the tallest tree in the country; an enormous silk cotton soaring to a height of over 70 meters.

The wildlife in Corcovado is as abundant and varied as its plant life. The park protects several species that are in danger of extinction both in Costa Rica and in the greater part of the American tropics such as large felines and reptiles.

The park is also the home of several bird species that are either endemic or of limited range. In general it is known that there are 140 species of mammals, 367 of birds, 117 of amphibians and reptiles and 40 of freshwater fish, and it is estimated that approximately 6.000 insects live in the park including the 123 butterflies discovered so far.

Some of the Corcovado mammals that are in danger of extinction are the tapir (Tapirus bairdii), which is very numerous in the holillo forest and the swampy areas that border Corcovado Lagoon. The jaguar (Felis onca), cougar (Felis concolor), ocelot (Felis pardalis). and the giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla).

It is important to point out that large herds of white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari), a species that has almost disappeared from the Dry Pacific are frequently found in the park.

The four species of monkeys that live in Costa Rica are all present in Corcovado. The howler monkey (Alouatta palliata), the white-faced capuchin monkey (Cebus capucinus), spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) and squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii).

The park also protects the largest population of scarlet macaws (Ara macao) in the country. Other bird species that live here are the king vulture (Sarcoramphus papa), white hawk (Leucopternis albicollis). which is easy to identify as it perches in the very top Of the trees and is almost completely white, short-billed pigeon (Columba nigrirostris). tovi parakeet (Brotogeris jugularis). bronze-tailed sicklebill (Eutoxeres aquila). keel -billed toucan (Ramphastos swainsonhi), prevost cacique (Amblycercus holosericeus). which is completely black with a light yellow beak, plush tanager (Ramphocelus passerinil), great tinamou (Tinamus major). Mexican tiger-bittern (Tigrisoma mexicanum) and northern jacana Uacana spinosa). Sightings have been made in the park of the harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja). which is the largest bird of prey in the world, but its status is not well known.

The herpetological fauna is not far behind in terms of variety and number. Studies carried out in the park have recorded 20 species of saurians, 33 of ophidians or snakes. 48 of toads and frogs. and 7 of turtles, besides salamanders, crocodiles and caimans. The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) in particular. which is frequently seen in certain areas of the park such as Corcovado Lagoon. is a reptile that is in danger of extinction. Three species of amphibians that are especially noteworthy are the glass frogs, which are so transparent that their internal organs can be seen through their skin, and the poison dart frog (Dendrobates granuliferus), which is a specie endemic to Costa Rica. The wide beach at Llorona is a frequently used nesting site for marine turtles.

The main conservation problem that faces this national park is preventing the entrance of illegal gold miners who sneak into the southern and southeastern sectors where this prized metal is found in rivers and their banks.

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Corcovado National Park beach
Leatherback turtle baby heading for the sea

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Corcovado National Park beach
Rio Sirena Park House

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Corcovado National Park beach
Corcovado Shoreline