Things to Do In the Osa Peninsula
The Osa Peninsula is Costa Rica’s crown jewel of eco-tourism, a remote and stunningly beautiful wilderness of pristine rainforest and tropical beaches where green jungle crashes into blue Pacific. Home to the famous Corcovado National Park, the Osa offers visitors a true taste of the wild.
Getting to the Osa Peninsula in the first place isn't easy - you need to fly or come in by boat, and either way is part of the adventure, an exploration in itself. But once here, the fun really starts for anyone who loves nature, hiking, and being outdoors in the wilderness.
Does your eco-lodge include any tours?
When you're staying anywhere on the Osa Peninsula, the overwhelming chances are that you're staying in a boutique eco-lodge, especially geared for nature lovers and eco-tourists.
After all, the opportunity to explore nature is the main reason to come to this remote place. The Osa Peninsula isn't for resort-style vacationing and nightlife.
Because of its remoteness, many of the eco-lodges down here offer packages that include at least one tour as part of the stay - usually a guided rainforest hike in Corcovado or a boat/snorkeling trip to Caño Island. When you contact us, your travel consultant will fill you in for more info on this.
Corcovado National Park
If the Osa Peninsula represents the glorious crown of Costa Rica, then Corcovado National Park is the glittering jewel in that crown.
Corcovado is Costa Rica's largest national park and about a third of the entire Osa Peninsula lies within its boundaries, offering protection to a myriad of animals, birds, and other species. Pumas, jaguars, and tapirs live here, amid the dense virgin rainforest that prompted National Geographic to label Corcovado "the most biologically intense place on earth".
Corcovado is the main reason most travelers come to the Osa in the first place, and most of the activities on the peninsula revolve around exploring and learning about the park. Put simply, if you've made the effort to come all the way to the Osa Peninsula, you're going to explore the park!
Due to the size, remoteness, and sheer wildness of Corcovado, It's illegal to enter the park alone, without a guide. This is not a place you want to get lost in. So guided hikes - accompanied by expert naturalists who know their way around - are the only way to go here, and as mentioned, this is often part of the deal at your eco-lodge. There are numerous trails to explore from any of the main ranger stations in the park, where you'll explore rainforests, beaches, and more natural treasures.
If you're staying north of the park, in Drake Bay, you'll enter through the San Pedrillo ranger station. Visitors staying in the eco-lodges south of the park, near Puerto Jimenez, will enter the park through the La Leona station near Carate.
Other ways to get into Corcovado and explore involve private plane tours into remote jungle airstrips that offer both a birds-eye view of the park and wider peninsula plus the chance to hike parts of this pristine wilderness where few ever venture.
Caño Island (Isla del Caño)
Isla del Caño is the other big reason to come to the Osa Peninsula, especially if you're a scuba diving enthusiast or love snorkeling. The ocean around this island, which lies an hour's boat ride off the coast from Drake Bay, teems with marine life of all kinds and diving experts consider them among the world's best.
If you're into diving, Isla del Caño is a no-brainer for you, and you should aim to stay in one of the Drake Bay eco-lodges that we offer.
Non-scuba divers will also love a day trip out into the Pacific to explore this uninhabited island and enjoy some amazing snorkeling. If you come during the right time, you might also see humpback whales! Again, ask us if your hotel offers this tour as part of the stay.
Just like with Corcovado, it's also possible to arrange a private flight out to Isla del Caño to check out the island from the air.
The Golfo Dulce
The Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf) is the body of water - a tropical fjord, in fact - that separates the Osa Peninsula from the mainland. If you're staying in the southern part of the peninsula, near Puerto Jimenez, you have easy access to these beautiful waters.
Humpback whales come to the Golfo Dulce to breed and nurse their calves before migrating back to colder waters when ready. This makes the Golfo Dulce a prime place for whale and dolphin-watching tours.
Other activities in the Golfo Dulce include fishing and kayaking in the calm waters.
Other Osa Activities to Enjoy
We've already said that if you're traveling down to the Osa Peninsula, you're most likely coming as an eco-tourist to explore the park, experience nature, and learn about the biodiversity of this unique and remote part of Costa Rica.
But that doesn't mean there's nothing else to do apart from hike, dive, snorkel, and explore.
Surfers, for example, will find powerful barreling rights at Cabo Matapalo on the southern tip of the peninsula. And then there are the beaches themselves. Sometimes you don't need an adventure activity... sometimes all you need is a tropical, jungle-backed beach to relax on while scarlet macaws fly around you. That's as important activity as any on the Osa Peninsula!
Contact us for more info on what to do and see when you visit this pristine part of Costa Rica. Our travel consultants love the Osa and will be happy to share their experiences and tips on this stunning area.
FAQs About Things to Do in Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Is the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica, worth visiting?
If you're a nature lover who doesn't mind getting well off the beaten path and into the rainforest to hike and enjoy outdoor activities, then the Osa Peninsula is well worth visiting.
What is the Osa Peninsula known for?
The Osa Peninsula is known for its pristine rainforests and Corcovado National Park. National Geographic called this area the most biologically intense place in the world.
How many days do you need in the Osa Peninsula?
We would recommend at least three days in the Osa Peninsula. It's a remote part of Costa Rica, and not the easiest place to reach - you need to fly here, or come in by boat. That alone merits giving the place some time.
Are there sloths and monkeys in the Osa Peninsula?
There are certainly sloths and monkeys in the Osa Peninsula, and much, much more. The peninsula is home to all four species of monkey in Costa Rica, and also a range of other mammals including jaguars, pumas, and tapirs.