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Osa Peninsula

Last Updated: Aug 19, 2011

  • osa peninsula beach palms
 - Costa Rica

Osa Peninsula Snapshot

Summary: One of the country's most remote locales; makes up much of the southern Pacific coastline.
Landscape: Beaches, Lowland Rainforest, Mountains, Rainforest
Attractions: Cano Island, Corcovado National Park
Activities: Bird & Wildlife Watching, Dolphin & Whale Watching, Nature Tours
Caters to: Couples/Honeymooners, Families, Luxury Travelers, Nature Lovers

The Osa Peninsula makes up much of the southern Pacific coastline of Costa Rica. Here, lowland rainforests merge with mountainous terrain and isolated beaches. This patchwork of greenery houses some of Costa Rica's most endangered plant and animal species, and is considered one of the most biologically intense places on earth.

Quick Facts

Location: 205 miles from San Jose
Average Temperature: 71-93°F
Altitude: Sea level

Photo Gallery

american crocodile osa peninsula

There is little development on the Osa Peninsula.  More than eighty percent of the peninsula is protected by Corcovado National Park or other reserves.  A majority of the few small towns that do exist  are reached by boat, plane or precarious roads that are often impassible during the wet season (May through November), and rough during the dry. The remoteness and the pure, simple beauty of the Osa Peninsula make it a place worth visiting.  It is not a destination for the unadventurous traveler, as even the nicest hotels are on the rustic side.

Drake Bay and Puerto Jimenez are two of the most popular destinations on the Osa Peninsula. Drake Bay is branded as the northern gateway to Corcovado National Park, and the small town of Carate, near Puerto Jimenez,  the southern gateway.  Sierpe is another popular launching point for Corcovado  trips.

The region is lush and green year-round. Even during the dry season months of December through April it still rains – just less than in the rest of the country. Generally speaking, the drier season runs from December until mid-April, with very little rain in January, February and March.  It is warm and humid all year, with daily  highs in the mid to upper-eighties.  March is typically the hottest month and September-October are the rainiest months. 

Main Towns on the Osa Peninsula:

Carate

Long stretches of undeveloped beaches with lush mountain backdrops make the Carate area one of Costa Rica’s hidden gems. Situated on the southern tip of Corcovado National Park, the tiny village of Carate is a nature-lover's paradise.

This remote part of the Osa Peninsula is known for its natural beauty, wildlife and the variety of activities available for the outdoor enthusiast.  Activities in the area include hiking, bird and wildlife watching, sport fishing, night walks for spotting turtles, dolphin and whale watching, and panning for gold.

Cabo Matapalo

Cabo Matapalo is tucked away at the southern tip of the Osa Peninsula, in one of the most secluded corners of the country. Named after the magnificent strangler figs that populate its forests, the cape is about an hour-long trip from Puerto Jimenez – preferably in a four-wheel drive vehicle. Guests come to Cabo Matapalo to experience raw nature, which is beautifully evidenced by the area’s lush vegetation and abundance of birds and mammals.

A trio of beaches cumulatively stretches for five miles along this part of the peninsula. The northern and most easily accessible shore is called Playa Pan Dulce, or Sweat Bread Beach. Calm waters and inviting sands make Pan Dulce the best place for swimming and sunbathing. 

Drake Bay

Cradled in the hills above verdant coastline, Drake Bay is one of the most remote and peaceful destinations in Costa Rica. The town, which is situated on the Osa Peninsula’s northern tip, is officially named Agujitas, but is commonly referred to as simply Drake, or Drake Bay. Celebrated for its wealth of natural beauty, diverse wildlife and unique ecology, the area is a must see for eco-travelers.

This tranquil village offers easy access to the staggering amount of wildlife inhabiting Corcovado National Park, which can be reached by boat via the Sirena or Pedrillo Stations in less than an hour. Nearby Cano Island is a biological treasure, located just 12 miles from the mainland. Visibility is almost always great, even on overcast days, allowing snorkelers and divers exciting encounters with sea turtles, large schools of jack and needle fish and white tip reef sharks.  

Puerto Jimenez

Located on the Golfo Dulce side of  the Osa Peninsula, the frontier town of Puerto Jimenez is a thriving town, transformed by gold mining and logging in the 1960's. Today, backpackers and eco-tourists are drawn to the amazing wildlife and quiet beaches of this coastal retreat. The area’s mangrove swamps and verdant rainforests are home to a myriad of fauna including scarlet macaws, white-faced monkeys, caiman and ocelots. Visitors can kayak in the estuaries of nearby Platanares River, an excellent spot for birding and wildlife watching.  Puerto Jimenez is also the gateway to the unspoiled beaches of Cabo Matapalo (also known as a hot spot for surfing), just ten miles south.  

Sierpe

Sierpe is the mainland gateway to the Osa Peninsula and all its jewels, including Cano Island Biological Reserve, Corcovado National Park and the Terraba-Sierpe Wetlands. The quaint fishing village is also a base for world-class sport fishing excursions into neighboring rivers and the Pacific Ocean.  Fantastic diving is just a two-hour boat ride away through the beautiful Terraba-Sierpe Wetlands, the largest mangrove forest in Central America.  For its size, Sierpe offers an impressive variety of activities for visitors. Sport fishing expeditions up the Sierpe River to Drake Bay almost always end with a cooler full of fish. Canopy tours, horseback riding and dolphin and whale watching can also be enjoyed in and around Drake Bay, which is about an hour away by boat.

Osa Peninsula Travel Guide

Osa Peninsula Weather

Current Conditions

Mostly cloudy
82°F (27°C)
Mostly cloudy
Humidity 77 %
Barometer 29.78 in/Hg
Visibility 7 mi
Wind 4 mph SW

» 15-Day Forecast

Today's Tides

Time High Low
12:28 a.m. 8.04 ft. (2.45 m.)
06:50 a.m. 1.67 ft. (0.51 m.)
01:01 p.m. 7.68 ft. (2.34 m.)
07:00 p.m. 2 ft. (0.61 m.)

» Two-Week Tide Forecast

Osa Peninsula Map

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