For me, the Osa Peninsula is one of the most worthwhile places to visit in Costa Rica. The small stretch of remote rugged jungle in the southwestern corner of the country, bounded by the deep blue Pacific Ocean to the west and the placid Golfo Dulce to the east, is renowned by scientists, explorers and nature lovers as an astounding paradise.
Covering an area of 700 square miles, this last remaining stretch of tropical humid rainforest in Costa Rica is estimated to hold 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity. The natural report card is impressive:
* More than 700 species of trees, with close to 80 being endemic
* 463 types of birds, including the largest population of Scarlet Macaws in the country
* 140 species of mammals, including the exotic tapirs and jaguars
* 117 kinds of reptiles and amphibians
* More than 25 kinds of dolphins and whales
* 4 types of sea turtles
The southern Pacific Ocean, and especially Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf), are vital breeding and reproducing areas for endangered hammerhead sharks and the world’s migrating Pacific Humpback Whales. Activists have begun a campaign to create a “Multiple Use Marine Protected Area” for the waters along the entire coast of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, to safeguard the abundant yet threatened marine life.
The Osa Peninsula protects more than 366,000 acres of land and sea in at least 13 national parks, wildlife refuges and private reserves – the largest being the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve (149,593 acres), Corcovado National Park (104,900 acres), Terraba Sierpe National Wetlands (66,850 acres), and Piedras Blancas National Park (34,642 acres).
This is the spot that spawned Costa Rica’s eco-lodges and gave rise to the burgeoning industry of sustainable travel in Costa Rica.
What to do on the Osa Peninsula:
* Hike in one of the national parks and wildlife refuges
* Go snorkeling at the Caño Island Biological Reserve
* Go dolphin and whale watching in Golfo Dulce
* Kayaking on Golfo Dulce
* Surfing at Matapalo Beach
* Fishing in Golfo Dulce, or deep sea fishing
Where to stay by the Osa Peninsula
For a real jungle experience, you want to stay at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, an award-winning sustainable eco-lodge by the Osa Peninsula. Accommodations and facilities are very comfortable, well done, and best of all you don’t miss out on the beach because the Costa Rica lodge is located on the beautiful coast of the Golfo Dulce. Its 165-acre private preserve joins with the Piedras Blancas National Park and Osa Conservation Area.
The area is very remote and well worth it to experience real Costa Rica nature. Go for family vacations, honeymoon trips, nature and adventure vacations, and yoga classes and retreats.
Article by Shannon Farley
Shannon Farley is a travel blog writer for Enchanting Costa Rica and Profimercadeo in San Jose, Costa Rica.