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Great Adventure to Corcovado (Costa Rica)

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My adult son and I returned from Costa Rica on Monday (5/02/11) and had the most amazing experience in general and during our backpacking adventure through Corcovado specifically. We both enjoy hiking and adventure and wanted to explore all that Costa Rica has to offer. I found only snippets of information on Corcovado in Fodors, Frommers and the Lonely Planet. Through entries in TripAdvisor and Fodors, I realized that a visit to Corcovado was a must. It was only with the assistance of our new friend Nito (Dionisio Paniagua) who served as our guide and advisor that we identified and planned the most amazing adventure of my life. For folks who are reasonably fit and interested in a bit of adventure, the best way to experience Corcovado is by hiking from the Los Patos Station to the Sirena Station (Day 1); spend the next day exploring the area around the Sirena Station (Day 2), and hike out through the La Leona Station / Carate (Day 3). We saw an amazing amount of wildlife – all kinds of monkeys, birds, tapirs, reptiles (lizards, snakes and crocodiles), sharks and insects. It was an amazing adventure that I highly recommend.

A few notes:

You need a great guide. Nito was perfect for us as he helped with planning and coordination in advance and assisted us every step through the adventure. Nito has the uncanny ability to spot all sorts of wildlife, even at great distances (a VERY SMALL fraction of which I could have found on my own). We found Nito by reading posts on Trip Advisor. Many thanks to those who shared their experiences with Nito and provided references. There are some crummy guides out there so do your homework.
You need to spend some time getting in shape before the adventure and be able to carry 20-25 lbs in your own pack.
Accommodations (Tent camping vs. “Dorms”) – You absolutely must have a tent or mosquito net to keep the bugs away while you sleep. Nito arranged for a tent and light sleeping bags at Sirena so we didn’t need to carry the extra weight.
Meals – There is an area for cooking your own meals as well as a table for eating. Alternatively, you can arrange to eat in the mess hall by making advanced arrangements. The prepared food was excellent and hearty and highly recommended.
You’ll need a good walking stick – Have your guide make one for you from the bamboo near the Los Patos Station as you begin your hike.

We had a fabulous time and I’m happy to answer any questions.

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