Osa Peninsula & Dulce Gulf Attractions Península de Osa & Golfo Dulce
The Osa Peninsula is found at the southwest corner of Costa Rica and is the country's second largest peninsula. The Dulce Gulf separates the peninsula from the rest of the Puntarenas province. Some of Central America's best stretches of coastal rainforest are found on the Osa Peninsula, and are protected in Corcovado National Park.The Osa Peninsula features several beaches and is a very popular area with surfers. Other popular activities in the region are diving, snorkelling and fishing. Puerto Jiménez is the area's largest town, and several fine lodges are found in the Drake Bay area.Historically, the Osa Peninsula was one of Costa Rica's most remote areas. Gold mining and logging in the 1960s resulted in a lot of ecological destruction. However, the creation of Corcovado National Park in 1975 as well as the work of the internationally funded BOSCOSA organization have served to protect the region's natural wealth.
Corcovado National Park lies in the far south of Costa Rica, on the Osa Peninsula. The park protects an area of rainforest with important habitat, and is home to hundreds of species of trees, birds, and mammals.
Lapa Ríos Wilderness Resort
Lapa Ríos is an award winning wilderness resort in a 400ha/988ac private nature reserve, 80% of which is virgin rainforest. Lapa Ríos features an extensive trail system and the favorite activity at the resort is nature observation while hiking. Waterfalls and a beach are also found on the grounds and there is good birding in the area.Swimming, snorkelling, boogie boarding and horseback riding are also popular activities. Local guides are available at the resort, including an indigenous shaman who shares knowledge of medicinal plants and the spiritual value of the rainforest. Local natural history is a common theme of guided hikes.Several excursions are offered from Lapa Ríos, including fishing trips and guided natural history cruises up the Esquinas River estuary and mangroves. The impressive lodge offers a swimming pool and reading room. Excellent vistas can be seen from an observation deck. Lapa Ríos won the British Airways 1995 Tourism for Tomorrow Award for the Americas.
Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
Puerto Jiménez is the largest town on the Osa Peninsula with a growing population of 7,000. The gold rush and logging of the 1960s made the town the most important on the peninsula, and this remains true today. Relatively easy access to the town makes Puerto Jiménez an important base for travellers wishing to explore the natural attractions of the Osa Peninsula.Good white sand beaches are found just south of town, and popular activities in the area include sea kayaking, rainforest hiking, fishing, snorkelling and wildlife-watching. Puerto Jiménez has a burgeoning tourist industry, and several outfitters and tour operators are available offering organized excursions. Legend claims the town's first inhabitants were prisoners sent away from the mainland.
Cano Island Biological Reserve
Caño Island is a 300ha/741ac biological reserve approximately 20km/12.4mi west of Drake Bay. Administered by Corcovado National Park, the reserve also includes 5,800ha/14,326ac of the ocean surrounding Caño Island. The island features a tropical beach and hiking trails through an evergreen rainforest leading to a ridge 110m/360ft above sea level.The warm waters around Caño Island offer excellent snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities. Marine life ranging from sea cucumbers to several species of fish can be spotted, and the clear water offers better visibility here than in any other spot on the Pacific coast. Four dive sites feature coral reefs, abundant marine life and underwater rock formations.
Almost near the top of the 110m/360ft ridge is an archaeological site where stone spheres have been discovered. Pre-Columbian indigenous people made these rock spheres, however the exact group distinction of who made them is unknown. The function of the stone spheres remains a mystery.
Palmar Norte & Palmar Sur, Costa Rica
Palmar Norte and Palmar Sur are the same town on both the north and south sides of the Grande de Térraba River. Apart from being a transportation hub, this town is the center of the banana-growing industry of the Diquis Valley. Most of the services important to travellers are found in Palmar Norte.Archaeologists have made some interesting discoveries in the Palmar area, including pre-Columbian made stone spheres. Some of the almost perfect spheres reach up to 1.5m/5ft in diameter, and are found in various places in town such as banana plantations and resident's yards. Experts are still unsure of who exactly made the stones.
Corcovado Lodge Tent Camp
This comfortable tent camp is owned and operated by Costa Rica Expeditions, one of the most reputable tourist companies in the country. The grounds feature a beach and canopy platform within a 160ha/395ac private rainforest preserve.There are several hiking trails on the grounds and the canopy platform is found halfway up a 60m/196ft guapinol tree. Overnight stays on the canopy platform are available. Birding and wildlife observation are popular activities, as well as horseback riding. Several tours and activities are offered from the tent camp.
Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge
Situated at the very tip of the Osa Peninsula, this wilderness lodge covers 140ha/345ac, about half of which is virgin rainforest. Bosque del Cabo lodge is situated on a hilltop and offers scenic ocean vistas. The grounds feature several hiking trails through the forest, to the ocean, and to nearby rivers and a waterfall. Birding in the area is very good.