Jutting into the ocean on the southern finish of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, the Osa Peninsula stays one of many nation’s most distant locations.
This wild area is well worth the journey: to discover the huge rainforest that shelters Costa Rica‘s largest remaining inhabitants of jaguars and tapirs, to surf the cerulean waves alongside the peninsula’s southern level and to take a ship experience by means of its monumental expanse of mangroves.
The Osa Peninsula can also be an amazing place to get a glimpse into Costa Rica’s previous. Former gold mining villages introduce guests to rural Tico life and large pre-Columbian stone spheres proceed to baffle archaeologists. Regardless of the vastly improved entry street to the peninsula’s fundamental city, different components of Osa stay off the grid, however do not let that intimidate you. The rewards for tackling the tough roads, mountaineering trails and river crossings are many.
Corcovado Nationwide Park
Parque Nacional Corcovado, considered one of Costa Rica’s star sights, takes up virtually half of the Osa Peninsula and is house to an astoundingly numerous vary of wildlife, together with the extremely endangered big anteater, tapir, harpy eagle and all of Costa Rica’s massive cats. Whether or not you entry the center of the park by way of a grueling day hike alongside considered one of its two fundamental jungle trails, the coastal La Leona to Sirena or the mountainous Sirena to Los Patos, or arrive by boat to discover the shorter trails across the Sirena and San Pedrillo ranger stations, wildlife sightings are nearly assured. There’s additionally a brief path loop from Dos Brazos that offers guests a fast style of the park.
You may mix a Sirena–Los Patos hike with a keep at La Tarde, an inviting property simply exterior the park that gives nightly excursions to see snakes and frogs. Visits to Corcovado are permitted solely with licensed guides, so arrange your jungle journey in Puerto Jiménez with Osa Wild, Surcos Tours or Osa Aventura, or in Bahía Drake with Corcovado Expeditions or Pacheco Tours.
Reachable by way of an exhilarating speedboat experience by means of the mangroves from Sierpe, by airplane or by way of a 4WD-only street that requires driving by means of rivers, Bahía Drake consists of a sprawling village and a stunning 10.5-mile (17km) coastal path that results in the San Pedrillo entrance of Parque Nacional Corcovado. Drake Bay appeals each to upmarket vacationers who come to remain within the high-end jungle lodges comparable to Copa de Arbol and the Drake Bay Getaway Resort, and backpackers, as an growing variety of finances guesthouses and tour operators make it simple to go to Corcovado on a day journey, go diving, kayak within the mangroves or go wildlife-spotting within the rainforest.
The closest that the Osa Peninsula will get to a bustling capital, Puerto Jiménez‘s compact grid of dusty streets is the popular finances traveler jump-off level for visiting Corcovado, due to its proliferation of inexpensive digs comparable to Osa Jungle Hostel and Cabinas Back Packer, a well-stocked grocery store and quite a few tour businesses. After your jungle journey, you possibly can unwind on the Playa Platanares, kayak on the Golfo Dulce, go abseiling down waterfalls with Psycho Tours, or dig into among the Osa Peninsula’s greatest culinary choices at La Perla de Osa or Cafetería Monka.
Cabo Matapalo and Carate
South of Puerto Jiménez, the tough street crosses a number of shallow rivers because it makes its bumpy solution to the seaside settlement of Cabo Matapalo, the “toe” of the Osa Peninsula “boot,” the place surfers within the know hit the nearly empty waves from surf-and-yoga retreats comparable to Ojo del Mar and Encanta La Vida. Persevering with on to Carate, the place to begin for hikes in Corcovado, this tough street is lined with a few of Costa Rica’s greatest all-inclusive wilderness lodges, comparable to Lapa Ríos, El Remanso Lodge and Luna Lodge. These properties supply gourmand delicacies, all method of creature comforts in addition to nature adventures. Knowledgeable guides lead walks into the enveloping jungle, a terrific place to identify monkeys, sloths, birds and different creatures.
A part of the brand new Caminos de Osa initiative that goals to develop extra mountaineering trails throughout the Osa Peninsula and enhance rural tourism in native communities, the 2 former gold mining villages of Rancho Quemado and Dos Brazos welcome guests with a variety of sights. See how cane sugar is made at Trapiche Don Carmen in Rancho Quemado, or go gold panning, wildlife watching or horseback using in Dos Brazos with guides organized by means of the Dos Brazos Oficina de Turismo. In Dos Brazos, you may also sleep on the Los Mineros Guesthouse within the former goldminers’ brothel and jail, or go utterly off the grid on the Bolita Rainforest Hostel, a country farmhouse with no electrical energy or operating water. In case you don’t know the place your scorching chocolate comes from, an illuminating tour of the natural cacao farm at Finca Köbö, off the principle street from Puerto Jiménez, is simply the ticket.
Humedal Nacional Terrába-Sierpe
The again finish of the Osa “boot” dissolves right into a community of channels and waterways that weave across the Humedal Nacional Térraba-Sierpe, the nation’s largest mangrove swamp. Its 127 sq miles (330 sq km) of wetland, house to purple, black and tea mangrove species, protects a plethora of birdlife – particularly water birds comparable to herons, egrets and cormorants – in addition to bigger denizens of the murky waters, comparable to caimans and boas. An exploration of this watery world by boat with Bahía Aventuras in Uvita or Corcovado Expeditions in Bahía Drake offers you a novel perception into this particular and fragile ecosystem.
Isla del Caño
A 40-minute boat experience from Bahía Drake brings you to the uninhabited island of Isla del Caño, the centerpiece of considered one of Costa Rica’s most vital marine reserves and a high diving and snorkeling vacation spot. Mind corals, sea plumes, followers and different coral species shelter the threatened Panulirus lobster and the enormous conch, whereas the large colleges of tropical fish entice dolphins and whales. High dive websites embrace the Satan’s Pinnacle, a spot continuously visited by reef sharks, manta rays and barracudas, and Paraside, the place you’ll see hammerhead sharks and sea turtles should you’re fortunate. The one solution to attain the island is on a snorkeling or diving tour, organized by most lodging in Bahía Drake, in addition to operators comparable to Drake Divers.
Sitio Arqueológico Finca 6
The superb museum at Sitio Arqueológico Finca 6, midway between the Costanera Sur and Sierpe, presents the perfect alternative to view the pre-Columbian stone spheres which are Costa Rica’s most vital archaeological finds. Included on Unesco’s listing of World Heritage websites, these stones are just about the one traces left behind by the mysterious Diquís civilization that populated the Diquís Delta. Between 300 BC and 1500 AD, the Diquís invested large efforts within the creation of those completely spherical stone globes, with the most important measuring 8 ft (2.5m) throughout and weighing a staggering 24 tons. Whereas their goal is unclear, historians consider that some had been standing symbols whereas others had been aligned in teams for ceremonial functions or as photo voltaic calendars.
This text was initially revealed in April 2016.