Costa Rica’s South pacific region is the country’s greenest and most virgin territory. The always green jungle, small and isolated villages, the spectacular unexplored beaches make this region one of the most captivating frontiers.
This is a marvelous place where miles of solitary beaches and rainforest capture the imagination of those who take this path.
The Marino Ballena National Park is the departure point of an incredible adventure. With 270 acres of land (110 terrestrial hectares) and 13,300 acres of ocean (5,400 marine hectares, the park contains the largest coral reef on the Pacific side of Central America. The parks waters are also great vantage points for viewing the humpback whale as it migrates (Dec. to April) from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii down to Cano Island, just off of the Osa Peninsula.
At the north end of the park is Uvita, a small community with gorgeous beaches and incredibly clear-blue water. Playa Uvita is a good place to ride horseback, scuba dive, swim or just go for a walk on its clean sandy beach. The beach is inside the protected area of the park, so hunting any of the marine life is strictly prohibited. Snorkeling and scuba diving are favorite activities as are visits to the mangroves where green marine iguanas, Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles gather.
Ventanas Beach is an amazing site with deep caves and rock arches above the water.
Corcovado National Park, one of Costa Rica’s star attractions, takes up almost half of the Osa Peninsula and is home to an astoundingly diverse range of wildlife, including the highly endangered giant anteater, tapir, harpy eagle and all of Costa Rica’s big cats.
The 54,539 hectares Corcovado National Park has astonishing biological diversity that attracts the attention of ecologists who study the intricate rainforest.
The park was established in 1975, and has two sections. Most of it is in the southwestern corner of the Península de Osa and protects at least eight distinct types of habitat.
This assemblage is considered unique, being the best remaining Pacific Coastal Rainforest in Central America. Later, 12751 hectares were added on the northeastern side of the Golfo Dulce.
Many important species are protected here: tapirs, crocodiles, peccaries, giant anteaters, All four of the monkey species (including the highly endangered Red-backed squirrel monkey), sloths, the rare harpy eagle, More than 400 species of birds including 16 different hummingbirds and the largest number of scarlet macaws anywhere in Central America140 mammals and over 500 species of trees. Over 40 species of frogs including red-eyed tree, dozens of snakes including a variety of Boas and the dreaded bushmaster, as well as 28 species of lizards. More than 100 species of butterflies and at least 10,000 other insects.
Towns near the park: Agujitas in Bahía Drake, Puerto Jiménez, Chacarita and Golfito.
Reachable via an exhilarating speedboat ride through the mangroves from Sierpe, by plane or via a 4WD-only road that requires driving through rivers, Bahía Drake consists of a sprawling village and a gorgeous 17 km coastal trail that leads to the San Pedrillo entrance of Parque Nacional Corcovado. Bahía Drake appeals both to upmarket travelers who come to stay in the high-end jungle lodges such as Copa de Arbol hotel, and backpackers, as an increasing number of budget guesthouses and tour operators make it easy to visit Corcovado on a day trip, go diving, kayak in the mangroves or go wildlife-spotting in the rainforest.
The closest that the Osa Peninsula gets to a bustling capital, Puerto Jiménez’s compact grid of dusty streets is the preferred budget traveler jump-off point for visiting Corcovado, thanks to its proliferation of affordable, a well-stocked supermarket, and numerous tour agencies. After your jungle adventure you can unwind on the Playa Platanares, kayak on the Golfo Dulce, go abseiling down waterfalls, or tuck into some of the Osa Peninsula’s best culinary offerings.
Isla del Caño Biological Reserve is located 20 km offshore from Drake Bay on the Osa Peninsula – is an important island both archeologically and environmentally. The waters surrounding this biological reserve are swarming with marine creatures, while the island itself protects several artifacts that date back to pre-Columbian times.
Turquoise water rings Isla del Caño, with excellent visibility and a great number of coral reefs where you are able to spot manta rays, tuna, needlefish, barracuda, snapper, white-tipped reef sharks, olive ridley sea turtles, moray eels, and above the waters dolphins, and both humpback and pilot whales. In fact, the waters that surrounded the island contain the largest number of coral-building organisms along the Pacific side of Costa Rica—there is brain coral, head coral and sea fans, to name just a few. Considering all of this, it’s not surprising that many people declares Isla del Caño as the best scuba diving spot in the entire country.
The area’s inhabitants including indigenous groups such as the Boruca Community who grew up around the forest are very protective of their natural resource and know that their protection is to human life.The lasrgest Boruca community is nestled on the outskirts of the Talamanca mountain range. Every year the local celebrate nature with colorful parades and daces using wooden masks that have traditional meaning
Activities to do around: Whales and dolphins Watching Tour, Marino Ballena National Park, Surf Lessons, Sportfishing, Cano Island full day ( snorkeling or diving), Mangrove Kayaking, Sea Kayaking, Sierpe Mangrove Boat Tour, Nauyaca Waterfalls, Canyoning, Nocturnal Hikes, ATV Tours, Canopy Tour, White Water Rafting, Stand up Paddle, mangrove Walk, Bird watching tour among others.
The back end of the Osa ‘boot’ dissolves into a network of channels and waterways that weave around the Humedal Nacional Térraba-Sierpe, the country’s largest mangrove swamp. Its 330 sq km of wetland, home to red, black and tea mangrove species, protects a plethora of bird life – especially water birds such as herons, egrets and cormorants – as well as larger denizens of the murky waters such as caimans and boas. An exploration of this watery world by boat with in Bahía Drake gives you a unique insight into this very special and fragile ecosystem.
The excellent museum at Sitio Arqueológico Finca 6, halfway between the Costanera Sur and Sierpe, offers the best opportunity to view the pre-Columbian stone spheres that are Costa Rica’s most important archaeological finds. Included on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites, these stones are pretty much the only traces left behind by the mysterious Diquís civilization that populated the Diquís Delta; between 300 B.C. and 1500 A.D., the Diquís invested huge efforts in the creation of these perfectly spherical stone globes, with the largest measuring 2.5 meters across and weighing a staggering 24 tons. While their purpose is unclear, historians believe that some were status symbols while others were aligned in groups for ceremonial purposes or as solar calendars.
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