We investigate collocation methods for the efficient solution of singular boundary value problems with an essential singularity. We give numerical evidence that this approach indeed yields high order solutions. Moreover, we discuss the issue of a posteriori error estimation for the collocation solution. An estimate based on the defect correction principle, which has been successfully applied to problems with a singularity of the first kind, is less robust with respect to an essential singularity than a classical strategy based on mesh halving.