Sloths. Tucans. Macaws. And spider monkeys!
San Pedrillo Station in Corcovado National Park is one of the best places to explore near Drake Bay.
But it’s definitely not the most popular – Sirena Station is.
Unfortunately, tours here are often booked out weeks in advance so travelers are left with few other options. One of those alternative tours is San Pedrillo Ranger Station.
It might be a second choice for many people, but it is not short of wildlife.
I spent a day on a San Pedrillo tour and here’s everything you need to know.
San Pedrillo Station Summary
- Distance from Drake Bay: 30-minute boat ride
- Tour time: 6am – 2pm
- Tour costs: $95 – $120 USD (includes lunch)
- Good to know: There are no overnight tours to San Pedrillo, Corcovado
San Pedrillo Corcovado Introduction
The Corcovado National Park is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. It’s located in the far south of Costa Rica, on the Osa Peninsula.
The journey to get here is a long one, meaning fewer tourists when compared to other parks in the country. And this, paired with the spectacular wildlife, makes it one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica.
San Pedrillo Station is one of 6 ranger stations in the Corcovado National Park. It’s close to Drake Bay which is the gateway to Corcovado.
How to get to San Pedrillo Ranger Station
San Pedrillo Station is the closest ranger station to Drake Bay. There are a few lodges within walking distance but for most travelers, it’s only accessible by boat.
The 30-minute boat journey starts in Drake Bay and follows the coast south to San Pedrillo Station, passing unspoiled beaches on the way.
You can only visit the Corcovado National Park with a licensed guide who will arrange your boat transfers and other logistics for visiting San Pedrillo Station.
San Pedrillo Station Hikes
There are several hiking trails from San Pedrillo Station. One of those meanders through lush forest, while the other hugs the coastline. Both of these have numerous shorter trails branching off them.
After signing in at the ranger station and crossing a small stream, the hiking begins.
The first section is mostly through a secondary forest but you’ll soon reach the primary forest which is identified by massive trees with long roots and wide trunks.
Halfway through the tour, you’ll reach a small waterfall and swimming hole where you can take a dip before making your way back along the trail.
Our tour started through the forest and returned following the beach trail.
Wildlife at San Pedrillo Station
Before departing on my San Pedrillo tour, I had read that the diversity and concentration of wildlife was not as high as that in Sirena Ranger Station.
Naturally, I didn’t have high hopes of seeing much.
After 20 minutes of hiking, we had only seen a few birds and spiders, but nothing too exciting.
This quickly changed.
After an hour, we saw spider monkeys jumping from tree to tree and a big group of Coati making their way from the treetops, down to the ground, and across the trail.
We watched an anteater for about 10 minutes and saw 6 sloths, including a baby high up in the canopies.
We also spotted toucans, macaws, tent-making bats, and more.
The guides know these trails extremely well and are trained to spot wildlife. I would not have seen any of these animals without one.
What we didn’t see
The only other animals we were hoping to see but didn’t were tapirs and jaguars.
Tapirs are common sightings in Sirena Station. However, you really have to get lucky to see jaguars as they are so elusive.
Tips for visiting San Pedrillo Station
- There’s an awesome swimming hole about halfway through the trail so bring swimwear and a towel.
- Apply lots of insect repellant.
- Check yourself for ticks when you get back to your accommodation. We found a few on us after the tour.
- Your feet will get wet. You’ll enter and depart the boat from the beach and you’ll need to cross a small stream after you’ve signed in at San Pedrillo Station. Some people wore water shoes but these aren’t necessary. We went barefoot instead and only put on our trainers after crossing the stream.
- Most tour groups have 8-12 people. The smaller, the better (Especially when you’re all viewing wildlife through the same telescope).
- We were told to bring an electronic version of our passport but were never required to show it. To be safe, have a copy saved on your phone.
- There are clean toilets at San Pedrillo station.
Are you wanting to visit San Pedrillo, Corcovado? Do you have any questions about your trip? Drop me a message in the comments section below.