Golfito & Golfo Dulce »
Home to several eco-friendly resorts, a tax-free shopping mall and some of the best surf in Costa Rica.
The Osa Peninsula is a Costa Rica vacation mecca for eco tours and adventure travel, with world-class surfing, hiking, sport fishing, diving, and cycling. But you don't have to be a triathalete to appreciate it's natural wonders. A Costa Rica vacation favorite, the Southern Pacific is home to three of Costa Rica's most remarkable national parks. No wonder The Nature Conservancy calls this amazing area "Costa Rica's last wild frontier."
Marino Ballena National Marine Park
Named for the Humpback whales that migrate there, Marino Ballena stretches from Playa Hermosa just north of Uvita, down to Playa Pinuela and spans about 9 miles into the Pacific Ocean. Thousands come to Costa Rica on vacation to catch a glimpse of a Humpback whale. But when you come, be on the look out for Olive Ridley and Hawksbill turtles, dolphins, green marine iguanas, countless species of tropical birds.
Corcovado National Park
This is the crown jewel of Costa Rica's national parks. This vast and lush park has the largest remaining primary forest on any Pacific coast and covers practically the entire southern tip of the peninsula. National Geographic dubbed Corcovado, “the most biologically intense place on earth” and once you visit you will know why!
The beauty of all this wildlife, and of the lodges that service the area, is that you can experience it all at your own level. You can camp within the park at various ranger stations, or stay in the rustic, but luxurious comfort of an eco-lodge.
There are advantages to visiting the Pacific side of the Osa Peninsula. For one, you have easy access to experience Caño Island (a great day boat trip for snorkeling, diving and siteseeing). And of course you get to see as the whales, dolphins and other marine life that's so abundant in the area.
The third national park in the Osa is Piedras Blancas, on the east side of the peninsula near Golfito. The terrain changes as the rainforest meets the mellow inlet gulf called Gulfo Dulce. Between Corcovado and Piedras Blancas is the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve. This preserved area is a viital corridor for wildlife between Corcovado and Piedras Blancas. Really the entire southern part of the peninsula is made up of wildlife refuges, wetlands, forest reserves, and national parks that are all connected. Thus the incredible density of wildlife. The beauty of this area is the calm gulf and its secluded beaches and lazy rivers, all surrounded by dramatic tall evergreen rain forest. It is a stunning overall experience.
Getting to Costa Rica's South Pacific
Before the Costa Rican government began perserving large tracks of land as national parks in the 70s, the best kept natural habitats owed their survival to being out of the reach of human development. Today, the eight hour drive from Costa Rica's capital of San Jose to most South Pacific destinations, makes air travel the ideal method of reaching the remote region. Nature Air offers flights to Palmar Sur, Drake Bay, Puerto Jimenez and Golfito, all about 45 minutes in duration, and offering breathtaking views of virgin coastline.