The Journal  

9 January 2006


Author: Jeremiah

Photographer: Holly


Rincón, Punta Arenas , Costa Rica

December 18-20

In Costa Rica 's southeast corner, the Península de Osa is separated from the mainland by the Golfo Dulce. The peninsula contains the Parque Nacional Corcovado, the last large tract of virgin rainforest in Central America .

  The Golfo Dulce is sheltered by the Península de Osa.

The town of Rincón sits on the edge of the gulf, where the peninsula breaks away from the mainland. The morning following the break, we decided to stay in Rincón and ride to Corcovado for the day. Our host provided breakfast in the dining room of her home, heaping plates of eggs, tortillas and sweet rolls. Holly readily traded her eggs for my tortillas.

As we headed onto the peninsula, no one could seem to tell us where the park's entrance was. The road continued to get worse until we finally stopped at a tourist lodge. We were greeted by an elderly man, whose sun-leathered face and well-worn work boots identified him as a farmer. He introduced himself as Juvenal Oviedo. Juvenal told us that the Corcovado National Park was closed. A mysterious disease had destroyed the fruit crop, resulting in the decimation of nearly half the area's bird and monkey population and the park was closed indefinitely until an investigation could determine the cause. Apparently, no one else along the way, including our host in Rincón, was aware of this fact.

With the park being closed, we had lucked onto the next best thing. The establishment where we had stopped was called the Danta Corcovado Lodge and had been established by Juvenal's son Merlyn. Merlyn had traveled to the U.S as a teenager for his education, remaining there to work as a welder before deciding to return to Costa Rica to convert his father's farm into an eco-tourism business. The beautiful farm house bore the mark of Merlyn's handiwork everywhere, from the hand-carved furniture to the tree branch handle faucets in the bathroom.

Hiking trails had been cut through the Oviedo 's land, which included a tract of primary rainforest. With a machete-wearing local teen as our guide, Holly and I hiked the trails up steep ridges, through heavy vegetation and around huge, towering trees. Although Juvenal had warned us that midday was the wrong time to see wildlife, we encountered insects, monkeys and a variety of birds.

  It was hard to tell what was tree and what was vine as the vines covered the surface of the huge trees in the rainforest.

  Our guide walked in a pair of rubber boots, basketball shorts and carried a machete tied around his waist.


Jeremiah spotted the skeleton of a snake buried among the leaves.

We used the faucet in Juvenal's yard to wash the mud from our boots before heading back to Rincón. While we waited for supper in our cabina, a pounding, late afternoon shower threatened to make the dirt roads back to the Pan-American impassable. I walked the roads at dusk, scouting our route towards the border, and the rain's effects seemed less as I went north. We decided to head for Panama the next morning.

  Using a screwdriver, Jeremiah tears into the hull of a coconut.

  Baby chickens wandered around outside our room in Rincón. The family we stayed with had birds and a couple of small dogs, which didn't care too much for Jeremiah.

  In Rincón, during the dry season, tourists come to watch whales and dolphins that swim into the Golfo Dulce from the Pacific Ocean.

All photographs © Holly Marcus / Page design by Robin Marcus