The Osa Peninsula is considered the last great unexplored border of Costa Rica and contains one of the largest remaining lowland rainforests in the world. This remote corner of the country hosts 2.5% of the biodiversity of the entire planet, in less than one millionth of one percent of its total area. The peninsula is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and Golfo Dulce in the East, and its coastal waters are a refuge for marine life.
The largest city on the peninsula is Puerto Jimenez, which lies to the south at the end of Highway 245 on the Golfo Dulce coast. It is an unpaved road that continues south and west of Matapalo, Carate and La Leona. Drake Bay is located northwest of the Pacific coast at the end of an unpaved road that begins at Rincon de Osa. Traditionally it was established for high level adventure trips, with several luxury hostels that are among the most recognized hotels in the area. Drake Bay is developing rapidly and is very accessible to backpacker travelers. The region is now the most important tourism point of the Osa Peninsula and has unparalleled access between the three protected areas on the peninsula. It is also the only region that remains along the Pacific coast where ‘ecotourism’ remains predominant.
Corcovado National Park
Considered as the jewel of the national parks system of the country; Corcovado National Park covers a third of the landmass of the Osa Peninsula – an area of 425 km² – and protects a series of endemic species. National Geographic recognizes it as “the most biologically intense place on earth”. The park is home to the four species of Costa Rican monkeys, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, tapirs, crocodiles, spectacled alligators, bull sharks, two- and three-fingered sloths, agoutis, giant anteaters, large peacocks, black hawks, spectacled owls, the harpy eagle, hummingbirds, golden orb spiders, otters, raccoons, white collar and peccary, tamandúas, silky anteaters, poison dart frogs, various species of snakes (including velvet and matabuey or bocaraca), plus more than 8,000 species of insects, including at least 220 species of butterflies. There are also four species of marine turtles (parrot, pacific green, hawksbill and leatherback) that also nest on the beaches of the park. This protected area has at least 13 different vegetation types, including montane forest, cloud forest, prairie forest, alluvial plains forest, swamp forest, palm swamp, freshwater herbaceous swamp and mangroves, which hosts more than 2,000 species of plants, including more than 500 different types of trees. The park can be accessed through four entrances of the guard station, San Pedrillo in the Northwest, Los Patos in the northeast, El Tigre also in the northeast and La Leona, in the southeast of the park. While the Sirena Biological Station, located in the coastal area, in the heart of the park, can be accessed on foot from Los Patos or by boat from Drake Bay (1 hour 10 minutes).
Isla del Caño Biological Reserve
Once the home of indigenous tribes in pre-Columbian times, and later used as a haven for pirates, the Isla del Caño Biological Reserve is best known for its scuba diving or deep-sea diving and snorkeling . Located about 20 kilometers from the coast, this island of 3.3 km² is a marine reserve located 45 minutes by boat from Drake Bay. The waters of the island offer excellent visibility, a large amount of coral and underwater rock formations, and numerous marine species, make it a diving point of first quality and the best in the entire Costa Rican continental area. Among the species that frequent its waters, giant stingrays, tuna, marlin, barracudas, snappers, sharks, white tip reef sharks, three species of sea turtles, moray eels, dolphins, and humpback and pilot whales, among others, can be observed Marine species.
The Térraba Sierpe National Wetland
The Térraba Sierpe National Wetlands cover 307 km² and has the largest continuous extension of mangrove forest on the Pacific coast of Central America. The visit to the wetlands is a tour of important nature and hosts a habitat of many species of birds, fish, mollusks, mammals and reptiles. There are resident and migratory bird species that are frequently found in Térraba-Sierpe, including: herons, egrets, cotingas, and the fisherman eagle. The most common mammals include otters, and coatis; The reptiles found are alligators, crocodiles and boas. Many of these species depend on this ecosystem to complete their life cycle; reproduction, growth and feeding. The reserve can be explored by boat from Drake Bay (45 minutes).