A Guide to Visiting the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica

The Osa Peninsula on the south-west coast of Costa Rica is a hidden jewel for nature-lovers and adventurers alike. Off the beaten track, immerse yourself in tropical rainforest and pristine coastline with the chance to get up close to rare and exotic animals, go trekking through the rainforest, and enjoy a luminescent sunset kayak tour around the bay.

Costa Rica, Osa Peninsula
Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula from Flickr: Max Goldberg CC BY-NC 2.0

How to get to Osa Peninsula

From the San José International Airport, you have the option of traveling 5-6 hours by car to the Osa Peninsula; or alternatively catching a short regional flight to the local airport in Puerto Jimenez; the main hub for tourist accommodation and amenities on the peninsula. Once you arrive at your destination, a 4×4 rental car makes getting around and going on day trips so much easier, especially if you’re staying outside of Puerto Jimenez.

4x4 off road vehicle
The best way to get around the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica is a 4×4 vehicle.

Where To Stay

For accommodation, the main three places to stay are Puerto Jimenez, Drake Bay, and Matapalo. You have a choice of hotels, hostels, lodges, and eco-lodges. Check the amenities listed to see if air-conditioning is available, as you will find that many places only have ceiling fans to help you combat the tropical heat and humidity.

What To Eat

The Osa Peninsula boasts a number of restaurants which have been rated highly by tourists, including international and Latin fare and a focus on seafood. Soda Jimenez in Puerto Jimenez is one of the most popular restaurants on the peninsula. They serve international and Costa Rican food, and cater for vegetarians.

Costa Rican food
Seafood is a big part of Costa Rican cuisine, as are plantains, casado, gallo pinto and so much more.

Gringo Curt’s Seafood & Visitor Center in Drake Bay serves seafood and Costa Rican dishes and is also vegetarian-friendly. For Costan Rican and Central American cuisine, head to Drakes Kitchen, Casa El Tortugo in Drake Bay. They are particularly known for their fish and seafood; so check it out if you are a lover of fresh fish!

Things To Do

This is the area where the Osa Peninsula really shines. You have a veritable buffet of authentic rainforest, coast, and ocean experiences from which to choose, accompanied by knowledgeable guides and the enjoyment of a group dynamic if you book a tour.

Closest to the main centers of the peninsula, you will find tourist farms, wildlife parks, and the departure points for mountain treks and island tours. Corcovado National Park is a great place to visit on a day trip or as part of a longer hiking tour. If you take the day trip option, it’s an easy walk in nature with a guide; and you can see howler monkeys, spider monkeys, tapirs, snakes, butterflies, and a colorful array of birds.

Baird's tapir in Corcovado National Park
Baird’s tapir in Corcovado National Park – Flickr: Miguel Vieira / CC BY-NC 2.0

Caño Island offers snorkeling and scuba diving experiences, and take a family-friendly tour around Drake Bay to spot whales and get up close to the dolphins. For a fantastic range of day trips and tours, pop in to the Corcovado Info Center in Drake Bay.

Looking After Your Health and Safety on the Trip

With so much to explore and enjoy on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula; remember to look after your health and possessions as well. A comfortable travel pillow on the flight will help you to be ready for action as soon as you arrive, and personalized luggage tags on your bags could help to avoid problems at the baggage carousel or going through customs — enabling you to identify your bags quickly. You will also need a good hat, sun protection (please be kind to the wildlife by using a non-toxic sunscreen), and a non-toxic insect repellent.

Costa Rica Sunset
Take care of yourself and don’t forget to enjoy the sunset each evening!

Now you have everything you need to have an amazing time on the Osa Peninsula!

About Casey Pontrelli

Casey is a freelance writer and content strategist. Casey has collaborated with a variety of industry insiders, from independent boutique owners to leading fashion brands.

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