So you’ve decided you want to visit Costa Rica. You’ve heard the weather is warm, the locals are friendly and its one of the most biodiverse places on earth. It sounds like the holiday of your dreams. Only problem is that the more research you do, the harder it seems to make a decision about where to visit. Two popular destinations among visitors to this little country are Manuel Antonio and Corcovado. Two national parks, both on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. So what is the difference? How do you choose one over the other?
Here at Llama Travel, the Corcovado extension to Costa Rica holidays is a three-night stay in a jungle hotel on the edge of the reserve. We call it the Corcovado Coast extension.
The Corcovado National Park is one of Costa Rica’s most spectacular reserves, encompassing numerous biomes, and as a result, seemingly infinite species of wildlife. The park sits on the Osa Peninsula, a thumb of land jutting out of the south west coast. It boasts some of the most diverse ecosystems in the whole world, with everything from lowland rainforest, highland cloud forest and palm forest, to mangrove swamps and coastal marine and beach habitats. As you might imagine, there is A LOT of wildlife to spot here from howler monkeys and caimans to colourful bird species and sloths. Just off the coast there is a small island – Caño Island – where excellent snorkelling is to be had and sightings like parrot fish, turtles and barracudas are not unusual.
Why visit Corcovado Coast?
- Taking a flight and 40-minute boat ride to get there from San Jose, it feels like a real adventure
- Amazing opportunities to spot wildlife
- Organised walking trips to the national park with a knowledgeable guide (a guide is a requirement for anyone entering the park)
- A snorkelling trip to Caño Island is included in the itinerary
- Great for active travellers who like to keep busy on holiday
Our Manuel Antonio beach extension offers a three-night stay at a scenic hotel near the national park. We call it the Manuel Antonio Beach extension. Manuel Antonio National Park is perhaps Costa Rica’s smallest reserve, but it packs a powerful punch none-the-less. Situated on the central pacific coast, the park is renowned for its setting – gorgeous white-sand beaches wedged between the warm ocean and the jungle foliage. Animals that inhabit the jungle include howler monkeys, sloths and iguanas.
Why visit Manuel Antonio?
- There are numerous scenic beaches around with one a five-minute’s walk from the hotel and others slightly further afield within the park itself (the hotel offers a free shuttle to the park but excludes the entry fee)
- This itinerary is very flexible with no excursions included. Visitors can laze on the beaches, soaking in the sunshine and enjoying swimming in the warm ocean
- The park is small and accessible with numerous hiking trails zigzagging among the trees
- Multiple activities are available like kayaking, walking and white-water rafting, which can be organised when you’re there
If you’ve made it this far and you still can’t decide which coastal option will be best? There is good news – you can do them both! Combine both extensions with the Best of Costa Rica holiday and you’ll have yourself a comprehensive adventure in this small but impressive country.
See our Costa Rica holidays here.