Caletas Bay & Corcovado National Park

Dec 07, 2019 - National Geographic Quest

The last day of the trip found us anchored in front of the outer side of the Osa Peninsula. First thing in the morning, we were summoned early to disembark onto the privately owned Playa Caleta’s Wildlife Refuge.  We had many plans, five to be exact, and we could choose from anyone of them. Horseback riding, power or long forest hikes, the premises walk and finally the traditional “stationary hike” at the landing spot. We knew it was going to rain, but many were not prepared for the hard pouring rain under which we walked; and walk we did. Mud, sand, sweat, and pouring rain did not deter us from our outing; in fact, this morning’s hike is probably going to be the most memorable one of all. It is not a rainforest experience if there is not at least some rain.

Back on board to warm up and have lunch; and two hours later, we were ready to start again, this time exploring the trails in the San Pedrillo Park Ranger’s station, one of the five within the Corcovado National Park. Anybody that was not lucky in the morning changed their luck this afternoon with great sightings of at least one species of monkey, great curassows, black cheeked ant tanagers, and many more. Whether we chose to walk the Pargo Trail parallel to the beach or the San Pedrillo Trail to the waterfall this afternoon was the perfect way to end our trip. The best kept piece of tropical rainforest in the country bid us farewell while we reclined in the clear, cool swimming hole and Central American spider monkeys bounded over our heads in the limbs above.

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About the Author

Isabel Salas Vindas


Isa Salas is a Costa Rica born biologist, who loves her country and teaching about it.  Known for her professionalism and experience in the field of animal behavior, Isa earned her master's degree in biology from the University of Costa Rica, where she also engaged in research for the chemistry and biology departments. Isa has carried out specialized projects on mantled howler monkeys for Costa Rica’s National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio), and is one of the country’s experts on howler monkey sexual and social behavior.

About the Photographer

José Calvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

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