Osa Peninsula: Your Journey Off Costa Rica’s Beaten Path
Friday, April 26th, 2019
Ecotourists and nature lovers flock to Costa Rica, but relatively few make it to the Osa Peninsula on the southern Pacific coast. Dubbed “biologically intense” by National Geographic, the Osa Peninsula is the most biodiverse region of the country. Here you can relax on hidden beaches and test yourself against one of the world’s great untamed jungles, all while enjoying first-class tourist amenities.
Consider these destinations for an unforgettable trek off the beaten path in the Osa Peninsula:
Located on the northern side of the Osa Peninsula, this area is your gateway to exploring the Corcovado National Park, an essential experience for hikers and wildlife enthusiasts. Drake Bay also offers access to pristine beaches with endless opportunities for snorkeling, diving, kayaking, or any other water sport that entices you. A favorite among visitors is the jungle night tour, let the moon guide you as you explore the fascinating world of the rainforest.
CORCOVADO NATIONAL PARK
Corcovado National Park dominates nearly half of the peninsula and its entire western coast. The largest lowland rainforest in Central America, it provides habitat to harpy eagles and a massive population of scarlet macaws. All four local species of monkey and both species of sloth reside in the park. Jungle cats roam the area, they remain very elusive but on the right day you may spot a puma, ocelot or jaguar. The infamous fer-de-lance pit viper snake also makes its home in the jungle. Justifiably, since 2014, visitors to Corcovado must be accompanied by a professional guide as a way to share and protect this rare and treasured habitat. Nearly every lodge on the peninsula offers guided day tours.
Located twelve miles off the coast of Drake Bay, Caño Island is home to a biological reserve and some of the best snorkeling and diving in Costa Rica. The waters surrounding Caño island contain one of the most extensive coral reef systems in all of Costa Rica. One can regularly encounter whale sharks, sea turtles and stingrays.
Perhaps the most magical part of the island is the large collection of mysterious carved stone spheres, strange leftovers from a lost culture. Create your own theory on how these ancient spheres ended up on the shores of the island. The spheres range in size; some as small as a bowling ball and others weighing several tons. Very little information exists about the origin of these black granite spheres which are crafted from a material not native to this area.
Located on the Sierpe River Delta, Palmar Sur is also a gateway to the Osa, connecting visitors to the countless activities of the area such as Térraba-Sierpe National Wetlands, Corcovado National Park, and Caño Island. If you fly in to Palmar Sur, you can boat transfer down the Sierpe river to your luxury jungle eco-lodge. Adventure awaits with a one of a kind experience off the beaten path!!
Térraba-Sierpe National Wetlands is home to one of the largest mangrove reserves in Central America. If embarking from Palmar Sur or Sierpe, consider a boat tour of the mangroves to encounter crocodiles, fruit bats, howler monkeys, and a dizzying variety of birds. This area is a must for any avid wildlife enthusiast.
Located on the Golfo Dulce, Golfito is Costa Rica’s most southern port town. Golfito is truly a prime location. If your interest is in hiking and natural beauty, you will have access to the Piedras Blancas National Park to the north. If your interest is surfing, you will find the infamous waves of Pavones to the south. Read our blog post on surfing Central America for our rundown of all the best locations for beginners and families through seasoned experts. If you are an avid angler or just looking to experience the bountiful fishing in Costa Rica, Golfito offers year round sport sport-fishing, specifically the Pacific sailfish. While the fishing season is year round, the best months for sport fishing are from November to May.
PIEDRAS BLANCAS NATIONAL PARK
The Piedras Blancas National Park boasts nearly 30,000 acres of protected forest and biodiversity. With its wide array of flora and animal life to explore, one is easily entranced with the sheer beauty of the area. Piedras Blancas National Park is known for being a paradise for bird-watchers as it is a major gathering point for many rare species.
Its name means “Sweet Gulf,” and the Golfo Dulce earns it. Resembling a calm turquoise lake on the eastern shores of the peninsula, the Golfo Dulce is one of only three tropical fjords in the world. Unspoiled beaches dot the coastline. Interior trails whisk you firmly into the domain of Costa Rica’s four monkey species (howler, squirrel, spider, and white-faced), along with poison-dart frogs, ocelots, and margays. Dolphins leap playfully from the calm surf and seasonal whale species make frequent stops. A whale-watching boat tour of the Golfo Dulce is a priceless marine adventure.
This historic logging and mining town, population 3,000, offers modern comforts and upscale nightlife. Surrounded by pristine jungle, Puerto Jimenez is a perfect entry point to Corcovado National Park and Piedras Blancas National Park. Most adventure seekers will naturally make their way through Puerto Jimenez, as it hosts the best airstrip in the area with the best access to all destinations throughout the peninsula.
At the southern tip of the peninsula lies the Matapalo region, home of the most upscale lodges in the Osa Peninsula. Of interest to surfers, the beaches of Matapalo feature excellent wave breaks that are not yet well-known in the international surfing community. You could have those breaks all to yourself!
WHERE TO STAY
The eco-lodges of the Osa Peninsula are not your typical hotel. Surrounded by rainforest, you can enjoy the comforts of home in your cabana, villa, or treehouse while tuning into the wild rhythms of the habitat. Luxury jungle eco-lodges are sprinkled throughout, all engaging in sustainable travel practices. Our agents visit Costa Rica annually to stay up to date on hotels, destinations, and tours. This first-hand knowledge and experience allows us to plan travel itineraries that encompass your interests, needs, tastes and budget.
Let us guide you
The Osa Peninsula is one of the country’s wildest and most intriguing areas. Let our first-hand knowledge provide the support you need in planning the perfect adventure to the Osa Peninsula. We make travel dreams a reality by assisting our clients in planning creative travel itineraries that encompass their interests, passion, style and values. At Central America Journeys, we take the stress out of planning and make all necessary arrangements to get you to this remote and beautiful area safely and with the least amount of travel time.
If your wanderlust is calling, why not start by filling in our travel enquiry form or give us a call at (877)509-6033. We take the stress out of planning and deliver highly personalized travel packages and concierge service for individuals, families, and groups.
With an adventurous spirit,
Your friends at Central America Journeys