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Osa Peninsula: Best Places to Visit

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Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula is a green treasure house of unspoilt rainforest. Swathed in green, Jaguars and Ocelots rule here, sharing their domain with Scarlet Macaws, Toucans, Howler Monkeys and ever-inquisitive Squirrel Monkeys. Osa Peninsula is a magical place where Tapirs body surf on Encanta La Vida and a rugged coastline swathed in untouched forest reaches out to thriving marine habitats.

5 Places to Visit in Osa Peninsula

Protruding into the ocean at the southern tip of Costa Rica’s Pacific coast, the Osa Peninsula shelters a vast rainforest and Costa Rica’s last jaguars and tapirs. Fringed by idyllic beaches and turquoise water, it is a laid-back spot for surfing, diving, whale and dolphin watching and relaxing on a deserted beach. A trip to Osa Peninsula makes for a great getaway to the most biologically intense place on earth. 

1. Parque Nacional Corcovado

Osa Peninsula's Corcovado is a habitat for a lot of rare animals.
The critically endangered Tapirs can be found in the Corcovado National Park.

One of Costa Rica’s preeminent attractions, the Parque Nacional Corcovado covers nearly half of the Osa Peninsula. Home to an astonishingly diverse ecology for wildlife in Osa Peninsula. This biodiversity includes Costa Rica’s big cats, the critically endangered tapir, giant anteater and harpy eagle. Access is possible by a challenging day hike along one of two primary jungle tracks, the coast-hugging La Leona to Sirena or the formidable rugged Sirena to Los Patos, or via a boat to experience the easier tracks around the Sirena and San Pedrillo ranger stations.

This tour in Costa Rica takes you through Corcovado National Park abd Osa Peninsula's highlights along with other popular destinations in Costa Rica.

2. Carate

Osa Peninsula is an ideal place to go fishing in Costa Rica
Carate's deserted beach has a perfect backdrop for photography.

South on the Osa Peninsula lies Carate, a starting point for hikes in the Corcovado National Park. Reaching Carate involves a drive high into the jungle-shrouded mountains. When you arrive, an exotic tropical lagoon greets you with sublime sunsets straight off a picture postcard. Carate's deserted beach fringed by lush forest trees is a phenomenal backdrop for photography and the perfect spot to catch a wave, enjoy an invigorating swim or simply spread your towel out on the beach and relax in the sun.

3. Pan Dulce, Backwash, And Matapalo Beach

If surfing is your passion the beaches in the Osa Peninsula are for you. Matapalo, a short 15-minute drive from Blue Osa is home to three gorgeous beaches. With a lush green jungle wall as their backdrop, these spectacular beaches are great spots to surf or simply chill out in the seductive sunshine. Their pristine turquoise waters are also home to countless dolphin pods.

4. Sitio Arqueológico Finca 6

Historical stone spheres of Costa Rica
These historical stone spheres ranging 20-30 meters in diameter are significant artifacts in the Costa Rican history.

Located halfway between Sierpe and the Costanera Sur this museum safeguards the precious pre-Columbian stone spheres that are Costa Rica’s most intriguing archaeological finds. Listed on UNESCO's World Heritage sites, these stones are the scant traces left behind by the enigmatic Diquís civilization that once roamed the Diquís Delta between 300 B.C. and 1500 A.D. The Diquís shaped perfectly spherical stone globes, the largest measuring in at 2.5 meters across and weighing a colossal 24 tons. Their purpose is as mysterious as ever. Some historians believe they were used as solar calendars or status symbols while others suspect they were ceremonial.

5. Isla del Caño

A pleasant forty-minute boat trip from Bahía Drake sees you arrive at the heart of one of Costa Rica’s most spectacular marine reserves, the Isla del Caño. Uninhabited, the island is a world-class diving destination populated by fans and brain coral, sea plumes, giant conchs and the endangered Panulirus lobster. Massive schools of tropical fish entice whales and dolphins into the area. At the Paraside dive site, you can see enchanting sea turtles and hammerhead sharks, while majestic manta rays, reef sharks and barracuda visit the Devil’s Pinnacle. Isla del Caño is only accessible by licensed dive tour operators such as Drake Divers and Osa Divers.

Visit the Corcovado National Park and Cano Island on this 14-day tour in Costa Rica

What to do in Osa Peninsula

  1. Kayaking: Explore the Golfo Dulce’s blue green waters with its backdrop of rainforest canopy, venture into a maze of mangroves, paddle along the coast spotting dolphins and wildlife, or test your skills against whitewater
  2. Go Horseback Riding: Explore the lush biodiversity of the beach and the rainforest ecosystems on horseback leaving from the Rancho Tropical
  3. Go Snorkeling Or Scuba Diving: Caños Island is surrounded by vibrant coral reefs making it Costa Rica’s most popular spots for water sport. You can find the mysterious ancient stone spheres from a vanished civilization on the island
  4. Surf Cabo Matapalo and Pavones: Experience surfing Costa Rican style at Cabo Matapalo or Pavones. When they are “going off”, get ready for the ride of your life!
  5. Go Birdwatching: Local guides will show you the best spots to watch the Osa Peninsula’s amazing range of local birdlife

How to get to Osa Peninsula

The sublime Osa Peninsula is some 364 kilometres from Costa Rica’s capital San Jose. By car, the trip takes approximately eight hours.

You can fly into the quaint city of Puerto Jimenez, the main city on the Osa Peninsula and home to a small airport by domestic flights. Flights generally run once or twice a day from Costa Rica’s capital San Jose and take approximately 50 minutes. You can also opt for charter flights. 

Alternatively, visitors can cross the Golfo Dulce from Golfito, Costa Rica’s most southerly port city by ferry to access the Osa Peninsula. Golfito is located directly across the river from Puerto Jimenez.

Little Costa Rica emerged in the 1990’s as one of the world’s premier ecotourism destinations. Its verdant Osa Peninsula remains one of the planet’s most intact tracts of rainforest, a green paradise bursting with endangered species of brilliant birdlife, majestic animals and exotic plants.

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