Costa Rica - Corcovado / Osa Peninsula
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Mar 27, 2013 11:00 AM Last Post By: racandee
Sep 23, 2012 11:53 AM
Costa Rica - Corcovado / Osa PeninsulaHi, my husband and I will have about 8 days to spend in Costa Rica in late December and have decided to head to the Osa Peninsula. We are thinking about spending a few days inside Corcovado Park and a few days outside the park, at one of the lodges between Carate and P. Jimenez. Does anyone have any feedback or suggestions about this plan? For example, if we spend a few days in the park first, will we be disappointed by the stay outside of the park? Any suggestions on lodges - is Carate, P.J. or Cabo Matapalo better? What about the Drake region to the north of the park? Are there other things/places in the Osa Peninsula that should not be missed? I would really appreciate any insight!! Thank you!!
Sep 24, 2012 11:50 AM
1The Osa Peninsula is the most expensive place in Costa Rica, by far. It's totally worth it though. Pretty much anywhere you stay you'll see tons of wildlife right from your hotel's window. I love Aguila de Osa, that is my favorite hotel there. Cabo Matapalo is one of the most gorgeous set of beaches I've ever seen. The sand is as white as snow. You could either:
Stay in Puerto Jimenez: (Iguana Lodge is the BEST in this area, and the food is phenomenal there.) Day trip to Cabo Matapalo. I highly recommend kayaking with the dolphin watching tour at sunset. There is phosphorescence in the water here that is magical at night.
Stay in Drake Bay: Day trip to Sirena Station of Corcovado National Park ( don't even bother with San Pedrillo, the one that is slightly cheaper, as the path is very trodden and there are hardly any animals compared to Sirena). Day trip to Isla Cano for snorkeling or scuba diving.
For either of these options, jot Ricardo an email at email@example.com. We used to work together and he gives great recommendations based on peoples' interests and is also well connected and can get way better rates than you'll be able to get on your own.
Sep 27, 2012 9:41 AM
2ChicaTica has some great feedback, but doesn't really address your question about Carate. Let me try.
In Carate, my top recommendation for lodging is La Leona Eco Lodge. It is Tico owned and operated, and the location is just outside of the park, a few minutes walk from the La Leona Ranger Station entrance into Corcovado. I've spoken to many people who have done the hike into the park for 3 days expeditions, and then spent a few days enjoying the peace and tranquility of Carate. In my experience, you will see more animals inside Corcovado park than around Carate, but that doesn't mean that you won't see animals in Carate. There are trails behind La Leona Eco Lodge for hiking. The most exciting animals I have seen in the area around La Leona Eco Lodge have been puma and tapir.
My suggestion: Head to Carate, overnight at La Leona Eco Lodge, leave your extra luggage with them while you are in the park. Enjoy two nights in Sirena, hike out and then relax at La Leona for another night or two before departing back to Puerto Jimenez. I don't think you would be disappointed.
Other lodges in the area include Luna Lodge, atop a nearby hill in Carate, Lookout Inn, ISEMI lodge, and a few others.
Hope this helps, pura vide, Ballardo
Edited by: jaguarman_corcovado
Sep 27, 2012 10:23 AM
3Agree with #2, head to Carate if you are not going to hike from Los Patos to Sirena, this is the best base for access to the park and the area is stunning and easy hiking. The other option for less long hikes is to go to Drake Bay, and boat to San Pedrillo or Sirena as day trips. You can access DB area vis boats from Sierrpe, get to Sierrpe via bus from/taxi fromPalmar Sur. You can fly to Palmar Sur from Quepos on Nature Air or from San Jose.
I can highly recommend Luna Lodge, not cheap but the BOMB...
Will you have a AWD? You will need a small SUV to get to Carate and up to Luna Lodge, or they can pick you at the beach in Carate, or the airport in Pt JImenez, 2 hours from Carate, There is a collectivo form PJ to Carate, a few times a day, you sit on the back of a covered pick up truck 4x4...
Oct 2, 2012 4:26 PM
4I'm also looking at a similar trip, though over NYE. Roughly 26 Dec - 2 Jan. I figured I wouldn't start another thread...I have some specific questions:
1. I assume flying into SJO and connected to PJ is the best (fastest) option for getting down to Osa? Will we end up wasting a lot of time in SJO, or do flights occur pretty frequently? We're flying in from either DFW or DEN.
2. Any specific activities that people recommend, or just a lot of hiking though the forest (sounds great to me!)? Wikitravel lists biking as an activity in PJ...can anyone elaborate on that?
3. Is there any good scuba diving in the area?
4. Are there any sample itineraries for "One Week in Osa" to give me some ideas? I seem to be having trouble finding anything like that.
Oct 2, 2012 4:58 PM
5It depends on what you want to do, or how much you can do, as far as physically challenging 8 hours hikes in the jungles heat and humidity.
If you want to visit Corocvado the park, you can access easiest from two areas, both require some travel and transport planning, more on that in a minute. If you want to hike to the ranger station Sirena, you need to plan on 3 days, and also have a permit, reservations, prepay for meals, and also a guide is highly recommended, not just for safety, but to learn about the most bio diverse park on the planet, otherwise you will miss an awful lot. I doubt this late date you can get the permits/reservations for overnight, on the peak time in the Osa. But you would fly into and out of Pt Jimenez, you can fly on Sansa from SJO, or on Nature Air from Pavas airport closer to downtown San Jose, as SJO is in Alajuela on the outskirts 30 minutes.
In PJ you would taxi 4x4 hire to Las Patos at about 430AM, then from the R.S to Sirena is a 20KM 8 hour hike, not easy and very challenging, but if your fit, no issues. You would then get your meals and sleep here the night, if you want to explore an entire day and stay another night, thats a great option too. Then when you leave, you need to time the hike with the tides as you have to cross a large river, then its 16Km or so and 6 hours to La Leona R.S, which is the south entrance, and more flat and downhill compared to going back to L.P and PJ, which is grueling. In L.L R.S. you then can hike to Carate 45 minutes on the beach, and stay there a night or two, or catch the 430 4x4 collectivo (pick up with wood bench in back) 2 hours back to PJ. Stay in PJ a night, then either fly out back to SJ, or, another option is for getting to/from PJ is to get a water taxi that runs between Golfito and PJ. In Golfito, you can fly back to SJ, or head down south in the Osa to Playa Pavones area, a famous surf break and village buried in the jungle. The boat ride alone is a good time, whales, rays, dolphins and turtles will be about on the crossing.
You also could get to PJ, then collectivo to Playa Carate 2 hours, and use this as a bas for day hikes into the park via La Leona.
The other option does not involve PJ at all, and that is Drake Bay. Getting to DB can be half the fun, you can fly or bus to Palmar Sur, then taxi hire to the river town of Sierrpe, once there by 1pm, get a boat down the Rio Sierrpe to the Pacific ocean, and then down the coast to DB, landing on beach. This really not a town, just a string of lodges along the coast connected by foot trails. The from your lodge, you can take day trips on a boat to either San Pedrillo R.S., arrange sleeping at S.P.R.S, or hire a boat to Sirena R.S, as a day trip or a overnight, both options require permits, and reservations if overnighting there. You could hike out from Sirena to La Leona, but you would need somewhere to put all your gear/backpack, as you do not want to hike Corcovado, and cross rivers, with all your gear. Travel as light as possible in these extreme conditions. When doing the Loop from PJ to Sirena to La Leon a to PJ, you can leave everything in PJ. You can get a taxi 4x4 hire from PJ to DB, but its not cheap.
From DB you can fly out back to SJ, or boat back the way you came to Sierrpe.
Other options are to fly from Quepos on Nature Air to Palmar Sur. Also there is Shuttle Osa, which you can take from Quepos to Sierrpe, and I presume back from Sierrpe to Quepos.
There is scuba diving off Isla Cano 7km off DB. Its pretty good, best on the Pacific side of CR. Its not cheap though, about $120 a dive. Like the lodging down here, with all meals included, as everything has to be brought in to DB via boat, from labor to supplies, and also gas is not cheap in CR, about $5 gallon.
The two PADI dive shops are Poormans Paradise Lodge (caters to gay clientele) and Jinetes de Osa Lodge. The lodges can arrange everything for you down there as well, for a fee of course, part of their excursion packages.
Oct 6, 2012 3:17 AM
Mar 26, 2013 8:07 AM
7I have read all the information in this thread and it has been extremely helpful. I am looking for help for our particular situation. I am traveling with my husband and two children, ages 13 and 15. We are planning on flying in to the Osa area from SJO and staying 3 days or so. We are big into adventure and want to see as much wildlife as possible. I'm not sure we can handle an 8 hour hike into the national park. Does anyone have any suggestions on accommodations and activities? What is the best itinerary for a family of four?
Mar 27, 2013 11:00 AM
If your budget is fairly expansive, I'd look at one of the lodges in the Matapalo area (e.g. Bosque del Cabo), accessible via Puerto Jimenez. If you're more value-oriented, I'd choose a reasonably priced place in Drake Bay and do a one-day tour of Sirena Ranger station.
The wildlife inside Sirena is about a half notch better than the Matapalo area, but it's much more difficult to access. While the best wildlife scenario is staying a few nights inside Sirena (which requires more than three nights in the Osa), with your time frame I'd go for 3 nights in Matapalo to maximize the wildlife sighting opportunities (you can see monkeys from your cabin there--we saw a puma on one hike), or get the best of the best in one shot at Sirena.
Coober PedyBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$170.26 per night
The WestBook now
(4 star Hotel)
From US$170.26 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$30.18 per night