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North America > Central America > Costa Rica > South Pacific Costa Rica > Osa Peninsula

Osa Peninsula

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The Osa Peninsula is part of the South Costa Rica.

Understand[edit]

The Osa Peninsula is a wondrous, magical, and untouched place for nature-lovers and adventurers.

Cities[edit]

Map of Osa Peninsula
  • 1 Drake Bay - is a bay that is often regarded as a town. The village in Drake Bay is called Agutijas. The bay is named after Sir Francis Drake, the British pirate who, as the story goes, buried treasure on its beaches in 1579. Besides Agutijas, Drake Bay holds beautiful beaches and birds, along with expensive resorts and lodges.
  • 2 Puerto Jiménez (PJ) - is a small, convenient town with its own airport. It can get crazy at night. It offers easy access to the beach villages of Carate and Cabo Matapalo. Puerto Jiménez is a funky old gold mine town, and the only small town with restaurants, bank, ATM, gas station, shops, internet cafés, airstrip, car rentals, grocery stores and night life.

Villages[edit]

All towns south of PJ (see below) are on a bumpy, unpaved road with no bridges over rivers. Many rivers become unpassable for periods of time during heavy rains - plan accordingly. There are only a handful of places to stay north of Puerto Jimenez - mostly rental homes, on the grid, and easy to get to from town. There are lots of fun eco tours near Puerto Jimenez, zip lines, kayaking, quiet beaches, horse-back riding, swimminy with dolphins, and chocolate tours. Between May and November, a 4x4 vehicle is recommended because of the road conditions.

Wildlife and rainforest is the attraction of the Osa and you are in for a surprise. Corcovado National Park headquarters is in PJ. Reservations are necessary no more than 36 hours in advance and there is a daily limit of 50 people. The park is not the only place to see wildlife. There is lots of wildlife in the rainforest of the towns of Bambu, Sandalo, Agujas, Canaza - all about 10 minutes from Puerto Jiménez. There are easy 2-hour hikes up the rivers (take a guide) into Corcovado where most tourists never see - these areas are remote, pristine & teeming with wildlife. If you have a week or less on the Osa Peninsula consider staying at lodges or vacation home rentals north of Puerto Jiménez about 10–15 minutes, in towns such as Bambu, Sandalo, Agujas, Canaza.

While all beaches on the Osa are uncrowded, those north of town have no eco lodges, motel style or cabinas directly on the beach and so are completely private. You can easily take a day trip to surf Matapalo or go see real isolation in Carate.

  • 3 Cabo Matapalo - great for surfers: it gets three amazing surf breaks. Waves are inconsistent but big when swells hit. Pristine beaches. Secluded, yet close to Corcovado National Park and Isla del Caño.
  • 4 Carate - has a local airport with regular flights to San José. Surrounded by tropical rain forest on east end of Corcovado National Park. Nice accommodations. Largely unknown to tourists.

Other destinations[edit]

  • 1 Corcovado National Park - possibly the most biodiverse place on earth, with not a few gorgeous tropical white sand beaches on the periphery.

Get in[edit]

You can fly to Puerto Jiménez or cross the Golfo Dulce from Golfito in a launch (ferryboat) to reach the Osa Peninsula. Golfito is directly across from Puerto Jiménez, the main city near the tip of the Osa Peninsula. You will need a passport and money, but no vaccinations are required.

Get around[edit]

Drake Bay and Corcovado National Park can be reached by charter planes from Pavas and San José. A boat trip with a duration of 1½ hours from the Sierpe River is another possible method of reaching these destinations. In Puerto Jiménez, taxis are readily available, and you can also rent a car there. To reach Cabo Matapalo, fly to Puerto Jiménez and drive (45 minutes) to the village. Bumpy travel by bus is possible throughout the peninsula.

Osa Peninsula, where you will find Costa Rica’s jewel of the National Park System, Corcovado National Park. Osa continues to provide adventure travellers with great photos of monkeys, tapirs, cats, dolphins, whales and exotic birds. On Hwy 245, it’s a 5-hr drive from San José.

See[edit]

Mysterious stone spheres made by unknown people have been discovered in the Valle de Diquis area around Sierpe. See them first-hand to develop your own theory about their history.

Gold nuggets were discovered on Isla Violin of the Sierpe River. Go to see where a gold rush began.

Do[edit]

There are plenty of things to do on the Osa Peninsula, from birdwatching to horseback rides through the jungle. The sea, of course, offers various activities such as snorkeling, swimming, SCUBA diving, and fishing.

In Puerto Jimenez, the main town on the tip of the peninsula, you can shop and see the local culture. If you are lucky, you just might catch one of their many festivals. Some great restaurants are there for you to discover. The people are friendly and helpful.

The Osa Peninsula is partly covered by the Corcovado National Park, which offers an exciting day-trip for travelers. The land of the peninsula is covered in white sand beaches and virgin tropical rain forest. With four species of monkeys, exotic birds, and countless amphibians and reptiles, the Osa Peninsula is also an ideal place for nature-watching. Rappelling, (waterfall or otherwise) mountain biking, surfing, hiking, and kayaking are a few other adventures for visitors to the Osa Peninsula.

Holidays[edit]

These fun and religious holidays are celebrated uniquely in Costa Rica and should be watched for on the Osa Peninsula.

  • Fiesta de Los Diablitos
  • Festival/Carnival del Mar
  • Fiesta Palmares
  • Fiesta Santa Cruz
  • Día de Santo Cristo de Esquipulas
  • Dia de los Boyeros
  • Dia de San Jose
  • Semana Santa
  • Dia de Juan Santamaria
  • Dia de los Trabajadores
  • Fiestas Patronales Trinidad de Moravia, San Pedro de Montes de Oca, Leon Cortes, and San Jeronimo
  • Fiesta San Juan de Tibas

Wild nature[edit]

Animals are the main thing to see. The Osa Peninsula is home to at least half of all of the species that live in Costa Rica. Costa Rican wildlife includes:

  • Scarlet Macaws
  • Tayras
  • Peccaries
  • Monkeys
  • Blue morpho butterflies
  • Frogs
  • Snakes
  • Anteaters
  • Armadillos
  • Bats
  • Wild cats
  • Crocodiles
  • Deer
  • Manatees
  • Fish
  • Exotic squirrels
  • Exotic raccoons
  • Agoutis
  • Coatis
  • Sloths
  • Tapirs
  • Exotic weasels

Sleep[edit]

There are many eco-lodges around the peninsula, and budget options in Puerto Jiménez. See local articles for listings.

Stay safe[edit]

The Osa Peninsula is a relatively safe area, and Costa Rica is much, much more stable than the surrounding Central American countries. However, it is recommended that you watch your pockets to make sure your wallet and passport do not get picked out. Also, lock your valuables in a hotel safe or lockable closet if possible. Do not wear flashy jewelry or fancy clothes, as they attract attention and may allow criminals to target you as a wealthy tourist.

No shots are needed to get into Costa Rica, but you should bring bug-repellent to keep away mosquitoes and other biting insects and prevent malaria and other similar diseases. Try to get a hat or bed with mosquito nets for extra protection. Be sure to drink lots of bottled water. Most restaurants have reliable food and water, but stay on the safe side with well-established restaurants and bottled water. All fruits and vegetables, such as cabbage or mangoes, should be thoroughly washed.

It may seem obvious, but many people forget: wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn and skin cancer! Make sure that has a high SPF (Sun Protectant Factor) and blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

Do not allow small children to swim in the ocean alone, as always. No matter who you are, do not travel alone at night. It is dangerous.


This region travel guide to Osa Peninsula is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!