Located in the southwest corner of Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula offers lush primary rain forests and a complex system of freshwater and marine resources. It is one of the hottest areas of Costa Rica with the highest amounts of rain at the same time.
The most parts of the peninsula are protected with the Corcovado National Park, which is one of the regions with the highest biodiversity worldwide.
With an assisted land acquisition of 86,485 acres in 1975, The Nature Conservancy helped the Costa Rican government create the more than 100,000 acre Corcovado National Park on the western part of the peninsula. In 2000, The Nature Conservancy renewed efforts in the Osa Peninsula after identifying the region as a priority site in the Central America eco-regional portfolio.
Corcovado National Park
Distance from San José: 395 km (247 miles) / about 11-12 hours (car) and 1 hour (domestic flight)
Opening hours: 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (entry via the ranger stations San Pedrillo, La Leona and Los Patos)
Date of foundation: October 24, 1975
Size: 54.500 hectares
Hiking trails: Hiking paths between the ranger stations
- La Leona – Sirena: Mainly along the beach (16 km (10 miles), 6-7 hours)
- Los Patos – Sirena: Hike through the rainforest (20 km (12.5 miles), 8-10 hours)
The biodiversity of the Corcovado National Park in the western part of the Osa Peninsula – an area that mainly offers dense lowland rainforest, premontane mountain rainforest and mangroves – is absolutely stunning and almost no other place in the world is as intense as this one:
There are more than 500 different tree species, about 140 species of mammals and 370 species of birds, as well as about 150 types of orchids, 120 species of reptiles and amphibians and more than 6000 types of insects.
During hiking trips that can take several days, numerous animals can be spotted, including all four species of monkeys that can be found in Costa Rica, numerous Red Macaws and different types of toucans, guans (large game fowl), coatis and tolomucos (black type of weasel), pecaris (wild boars) and with a bit of luck sometimes a tapir or a large Boa Constrictor. Wild cats are also numerous but very timid and difficult to spot.
Starting point for hikes in the national park is the village of Puerto Jimenez which offers guesthouses and hotels of different categories in the town center and surroundings. Also the park management can be found there. A visit with an overnight stay in one of the ranger stations needs to be planned in advance and reserved in a timely manner. Puerto Jimenez can be reached using the national airline company NATURE AIR from San José. Per car, Puerto Jimenez can be reached within a 7 hour drive from San José.
The most important ranger stations inside the park are Los Patos (northern side of the Gulf), San Pedrillo in the south of Drake Bay, La Sirena (largest station, southern Pacific side) as well as La Leona at the southern park entrance of the Pacific side.
The path network inside the Corcovado National Park is well developed. Trails lead from Los Patos to Sirena (about 20 km/12.5 miles – 6-7 hours), from Sirena to La Leona (about 13 km/8 miles, partly along the beach), and from Sirena to San Pedrillo (about 26 km/16.25 miles). Around the Sirena station several paths have been developed which are suitable for easy walks without disturbing luggage for watching animals.
Accommodations in the ranger stations are offered in the newly constructed station of Los Patos, as well as in La Sirena and La Leona (bunk beds, dorm rooms), mosquito nets and light sleeping bags have to be brought along. All stations offer the possibility to sleep in tents (have to be brought by the visitors), bathroom facilities are available.
How to get to Puerto Jimenez:
By plane with Sansa or Nature Air from San Jose.
By car: about 11-12 hours drive from San Jose.
Tour Unit: T8h
- Hiking Corcovado National Park
Carate without doubt is one of the most secluded villages of Costa Rica. The city is the southern entrance to the Corcovado National Park and is located about 40 walking minutes along the beach from the Leona ranger station. From here, virgin Pacific coast stretches for miles with the steep mountains forming the backdrop. The region offers countless waterfalls and a rich diversity of wild animals.
29 km (18 miles) south of Puerto Jimenéz, Cabo Matapalo offers great surfing conditions, marvelous beach and rocky landscapes and primary rainforest turned Matapalo into one of the more famous areas of the region,
This small village only counts a view thousand inhabitants and has been founded in 1914. Puerto Jimenéz is a good starting point for trips into the Corcovado National Park and offers everything you would expect from a tourist village: restaurants, hotels, internet cafes, a harbor and even a small airfield; not forgetting the tropical beaches of the region.
La Palma is the second largest community of the peninsula and is located north of Puerto Jimenéz offering a good starting point for activities like boat tours, kayak tours and horseback riding trips.