The intensity of wildlife in the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica cannot be understated. On the country’s southwest Pacific coast, this miniature outpost packs 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity into just 0.001% of its surface area.
The Osa Peninsula can be characterised by its pristine rainforests tumbling downhill onto secluded wild beaches, and it is home to Costa Rica’s largest mangrove swamp. It is a place of raw beauty, so much so that Nat Geo deemed it “the most biologically intense place on Earth”.
Endangered pumas and jaguars shelter in the sanctuary of ancient trees, scarlet macaws cause a ruckus of noise and colour, and humpback whales return yearly for a deep dive in warm waters. The Osa Peninsula is likewise home to the giant anteater, tapir, and almost all of Costa Rica’s mammal species. Beneath the verdant foliage, is an underworld of reptiles and insects and, in the treetops above, live over 450 bird species.
The Osa Peninsula feels entirely separate from the mainland; from the deepest corner of Corcovado National Park to the sweeping shores of Drake Bay in the northwest. This is one of the most remote destinations in Costa Rica, and 80% of the peninsula is protected land.
Adventure travellers will adore a speedboat ride through miles of tangled mangroves, which is the best way to access Drake Bay. The calm waters are rich in marine life; it’s a haven for anchored yachts and a perfect base for snorkelling trips to Caño Island, where waters are alive with florescent coral beds, mantas, dolphins, and sea turtles. Back on shore, a 17km coastal trail leads to the San Pedrillo entrance of Corcovado.
Arriving on the shores of Corcovado National Park by boat is like transporting yourself back to a time before human existence. Take a brave step into the unknown and explore the trails around Sirena and San Pedrillo ranger stations by foot. With naturalist guidance, spot the camouflaged chaos as the jungle unfolds.
On the toe of the Osa Peninsula’s boot is Cabo Matapalo and Carate. This is where surfers hit empty wave breaks from boho retreats. Carate is the starting point for many hikes into Corcovado, and the rural road is dotted with Costa Rica’s top wilderness lodges, including Lapa Rios, El Remanso, and Luna Lodge. Expert guidance and the enveloping jungle mean it’s one of the best destinations in Costa Rica for seeing monkeys, sloths, and birds.