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Corcovado National Park
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About Corcovado National Park & Osa Peninsula,
compliments of Lapa Rios EcoLodge
The Osa Peninsula is one of Costa Ricas last frontiers and ideal for a unique and authentic nature and wildlife experience . It is located in the south west of Costa Rica close to the border of Panama. It is one of the last places in Costa Rica to be settled - it is only within the last 10 years that it has had road access - and consequently much of the Peninsula is still covered in majestic, pristine rainforest. At least half of the Osa's extensive tracts of rainforest and swamps are protected by Corcovado National Park, and Private Reserves. Its forests are home to endangered species such as Baird's tapir, the white-lipped peccary, the jaguars the America crocodiles, and the harpy eagle (only recently been re-sighted). It boasts the largest population of the endangered scarlet macaws in the country, and is the center of the very restricted distribution of the endangered Central American squirrel monkey. This small peninsula is host to almost half of Costa Rica's 860 species of birds (that is almost 5% of the worlds species!), 140 species of mammals, and 117 species of reptiles and amphibians. Almost 750 species of trees have been catalogued in the area, more trees than in all of the North temperate regions of the world combined. Impressive credentials indeed!
Per unit area, the Osa Peninsula holds possibly the highest natural diversity on earth. The National Geographic magazine described the Osa Peninsula as the most biologically intense place on earth. This description is a reference to the incredible abundance of wildlife on the Osa Peninsula -not only in it's rainforests, but in it's surrounding marine environment as well. Botanically, the Osa Peninsula has strong affinities with that of the Amazon and Orinoco basins, and its unique forests contain more endemic plants and animals than in any other area of Central America.
Corcovado National Park was established in 1975 and extended in 1980, this 43.735-hectare Park encompasses 13 major ecosystems, ranging from sea level to 745 metres. Its rainforests are by far the most exuberant in Central America, and its trees are comparable in grandeur to the best that the Amazon Basin and the South East Asian forests have to offer. Indeed, Corcovado Park holds the largest tree in Central America, a giant Silk Cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra) 77 metres tall. The Park embraces the largest remaining tract of Pacific Tropical Wet Forest in Central America.
Corcovado is patrolled from six ranger stations, four of which host visitors to the Park: La Leona on the southern coastal boundary of the Park; San Pedrillo on the northern coastal boundary; Los Patos to the east. La Sirena is the largest Rangers Station and is the nucleus of Corcovado. It is also a research station.
This park protects 41,788 hectares of rainforests, swamps, rivers, lagoons, marshes and paradisiacal beaches. Because of its isolated location, Corcovado protects animals that are scarce in other areas, such as the tapir, the crocodile, the ocelot, the jaguar, the giant anteater and the harpy eagle. Marine turtles such as the leatherback, the olive ridley and the green turtles arrive to nest at Llorona Beach, which is fortunately included in the park.
There are at least 500 species of trees, 140 of mammals, 40 of freshwater fish, 117 of amphibians and reptiles and 367 of birds. Fortunately for the ecosystem, but unfortunately for some hikers, there are over 6,000 species of insects. There are also deposits of gold, which proves to be a terrible ecological threat to the area, since oreros (gold miners) invade the parks boundaries in search for the precious mineral.