Costa Rica has no shortage of beautiful destinations. From the beaches along the Pacific Coast, and the jungle-clad Caribbean Coast, to volcano peaks, and cloud forests, there are many ways to get close to nature.
But our recent trip to the southern end of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast has us convinced. Osa Peninsula is a destination that beats them all!
We think everyone should visit the Osa Peninsula Costa Rica at least once in their lifetime. These are the reasons why.
1. IT’S COSTA RICA’S MOST INTREPID CORNER
Getting to the Osa Peninsula is an adventure in an of itself. The region is located some 400km south of San Jose. Requiring a 6-hour car journey or a short, but nerve-wracking, propeller plane ride to one of its small regional airports. In the rainy season, the small dirt roads leading to Drake Bay and other small towns on the Peninsula are often impassable.
The trip works out to be just a bit too long and challenging for the average tourist, reserving the beauty of the Osa Peninsula Costa Rica only to those willing to go the extra mile.
Fewer tourists = less development = more animals, more untouched jungle, and a more authentic travel experience. It’s worth spending a little extra research time to discover the best time to visit Costa Rica, especially with gems like the Osa Peninsula on your itinerary.
2. IT’S ONE OF THE MOST BIODIVERSE PLACES ON EARTH
Thanks to many miles of the unspoiled rainforest and the unique ecosystem that surrounds the peninsula, Osa is often regarded as one of the most environmentally rich and ecologically diverse places in the world.
Named by the National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on earth,”, this small patch of land that covers only 700 square miles, but is home to 2.5% of the biodiversity of the entire world.
Over 100 species of reptiles and amphibians, over 300 species of birds, and over 120 species of mammals (many of them endemic) can be found in 13 major ecosystems, ranging from mangroves to beaches, and primary forests.
And while you can’t possibly see them all, the Naturalist Guides here will tell you that in just a few days on the peninsula, you can spot more wildlife than you would over the course of a few weeks in the Amazon.
3. YOU CAN TAKE A GLIMPSE INTO COSTA RICA’S PAST
What most people don’t know is that between 1930-1975, the small town of Puerto Jimenez, that today serves as a base for exploring Osa Peninsula, used to be gold-mining town, built to support the gold mining operations in the region.
Commercial mining operations dominated the region for almost 40 years, but along with prosperity to the mining community, they gave rise to deforestation and other negative impacts on the local wildlife and ecosystems.
In 1975, the area around the Osa Peninsula Costa Rica was declared a protected zone which banned mining in the region. Many miners left the region, but some remained, continuing to run artisanal mining operations for many years to come.
Today, the gold has run out and the rural communities that once relied on mining as a source of income, now run Gold Mining Tours (which you can book through Osa Wild) and welcome visitors to the former gold mining villages.
4. YOU CAN MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT THROUGH RURAL TOURISM
It’s not just the gold miners that are benefiting from the rural tourism trend in Osa. In this remote region of Costa Rica, tourism has given many local families an opportunity to earn a living. Rural tours are offered all throughout the region, giving travelers an opportunity to experience Costa Rica through family farm and indigenous reserve visits, history, and medicinal plants talks, handcraft workshops and more, all putting their dollars back into the community.
5. YOU CAN WITNESS A MODEL FOR SUSTAINABILITY IN ACTION
When it comes to Sustainable Tourism, Costa Rica is often regarded as a success story. Over the years, the country has proven the vast economic and environmental benefits that tourism can have on the country. If there is one place to see sustainability in action in Costa Rica, it’s the Osa Peninsula.
The Peninsula is home to an active community who are committed to sustainability and conservation efforts in the area. They work to support the protected areas, including Corcovado National Park (the star attraction of the region). Along with smaller reserves and local communities.
Osa Peninsula Hotels and Tour Companies Commitment to Sustainability
But it’s not just the locals that play a role in ensuring a bright future for this biodiverse region, as travelers we do too, and here in Osa, in particular, our tourism dollars can make a big difference. Many Osa Peninsula hotels and tour companies here adhere to standards set out by the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism, so playing our role is easier here than anywhere else in Costa Rica.
Choose an Osa Peninsula Eco Lodge
The Osa Peninsula is home to the highest concentration of sustainable eco-lodges in Costa Rica. Places which offer an opportunity to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the region.
Consider an Osa Peninsula eco-lodge from the list below:
Lapa Rios is considered the most sustainable hotel in Costa Rica and is part of the National Geographic unique lodges family. The luxurious lodge is close to Puerto Jimenez and set on 1000 acres of pristine beachfront rainforest. They offer beautiful modern rooms and great facilities to boot.
Aguila del Osa is an Osa Peninsula ecolodge which combines environmentally friendly operations with community outreach. They are located in Drake Bay, one of the gateways to Corcovado National Park, and offer stylish accommodation just a minute from the beach.
Luna Lodge is located just 5km from Corcovado National Park but is a world unto itself. The Osa Peninsula eco-lodge has a spa and retreat center onsite and is surrounded by pristine tropical rainforest.
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What would motivate you to make a trip to Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica?
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