Costa Rica
Osa Peninsula Itinerary

Discover Costa Rica off the beaten path

Duration: at least one week

Budget: $ 130 per day

Stay: Poor Man’s Paradise Lodge or Corcovado Guest House

Most people who visit Costa Rica end up at places like Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio. Those places are stunning and absolutely should be visited! However, there’s an off-the-beaten-path that is one of Costa Rica’s best-kept secrets. This destination is the Osa Peninsula. It holds an astounding 2.5% of the WORLD’S biodiversity within its 700 square miles of land, and National Geographic named it the “most biologically intense place on earth.” The area is well-preserved and teeming with natural beauty and wildlife.

Sustainable travel at its finest

The Osa Peninsula is on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast. It takes six hours to get there by car or a short 45-minute propeller plane ride to its tiny regional airport. There are a few small towns on the peninsula, but it is relatively undeveloped. The tour companies, hotels, and locals who live there are highly committed to sustainability, making it a model for eco-travel. The Osa Peninsula is a fantastic travel destination that you can feel good about visiting.

Why is it a secret? The truth is, most people don’t have the time or want to make an effort to visit.
The pristine flora and fauna that make it so unique also make it difficult to reach. If you decide to make the journey there, you’ll experience one of the most beautiful places in the world without too many tourists.

Visit Corcovado National Park

This nature preserve makes up 1/3 of the Osa Peninsula and is Costa Rica’s crowning jewel. The park is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, toucans, and iguanas. I was fascinated by the capuchin monkeys that inhabit the park, and I also saw plenty of other animals during my three-day tour. The experience of observing such a wide range of creatures in their natural habitat was truly unforgettable. The park is also outstanding, with lush rainforest and pristine beaches.

Some exciting places to see in the Corcovado National Park:

· La Sirena: a place where you can see bull sharks and alligators
· Leona: the best place to see turtle births
· El Tigre: some of the park’s best viewpoints
· Los Patos: Rincón River, waterfalls, and tall trees

Granada, Nicaragua: market

Stay at an Eco Lodge

The Osa Peninsula is a prime sustainable tourism destination with outstanding eco-lodges. These places seemingly blend into the jungles surrounding them (or have private jungles). One of our favorite places to stay on the peninsula is the Playa Cativo Lodge because it’s an all-inclusive experience perched between the water and wilderness. It’s an outstanding Osa Peninsula eco-lodge that checks all the boxes.

Surf some of Costa Rica's best waves

Local Ticos (Costa Ricans) know that the country’s best surf spots are on the Osa Peninsula. There are consistent breaks that are ideal for surfers of all skill levels. Playa Matapalo, in the Cabo Matapalo, is the best surfing spot in the Osa Peninsula. Some Ticos claim that you can ride up to 1,000 feet on a single wave on a good day!

Granada, Nicaragua: colorful houses
Granada, Nicaragua: dani in front of church

Hang out in Puerto Jimenez

Puerto Jimenez is the starting point for many Osa Peninsula tours, but it is also worth checking out. It is one of the few developed places in the area but still blends seamlessly into nature. There is a fantastic wildlife sanctuary, delicious local restaurants, and intriguing shops there. If you’re looking
for something exciting to do in the evenings, the town has the area’s best nightlife.

Go on a canopy tour

Canopy tours are a popular activity on the Osa Peninsula. You can explore the lush rainforest up close and personal by zooming through the trees. Tours typically have ziplines, suspension bridges, and Tarzan swings that provide unique vantage points. On the ground, tours typically provide local snacks and beverages. Canopy tours use eco-friendly technology that doesn’t disturb the surrounding ecology.

Granada, Nicaragua: Lauri in Parque Colon

Practical travel tips for Osa Peninsula

What is the best time to visit the Osa Peninsula?


The climate on the Osa Peninsula is tropical, with lots of heat and humidity. The best season to visit is from December to May during the dry season because hurricanes often pass through during the rainy season.

Is Osa Peninsula safe for travelers?


Costa Rica, as a country, is generally one of the safest places in Latin America. The biggest threat to tourists on the Osa Peninsula is Mother Nature. It is a very humid location, so reef-safe sunscreen and lots of water are essential. As with any destination, being aware of your surroundings and belongings is beneficial.

How can I protect myself from sandflies?


Buy some handmade coconut oil to protect yourself from sandfly bites! They are especially active during morning and evening hours.

How to get to the Osa Peninsula


Two main ways to reach the Osa Peninsula from San José are driving and taking a propeller plane. If you're driving, you'll want a four-wheel vehicle because there are many dirt roads and streams (with no bridges). The journey can take up to 8 hours, and you should not attempt this in one sitting.
Driving is an excellent option if you plan on visiting other areas, such as Manuel Antonio, Uvita, and Dominical.

The most popular way to get to the peninsula is by plane. Sansa Air is a domestic airline that makes the hour-long trip between San José and Puerto Jimenez.

Can I drink tap water in Costa Rica?


In Costa Rica, 92.5% of the population, has access to drinking water. The quality of tap water is safe to drink. If you still feel uneasy, bring your self-cleaning bottle. The bottles will keep your water fresh and cool, too!

What's the biggest challenge for the conscious traveler?


Trash: bring your collapsable food container & Lifestraw Pro with you to avoid causing plastic pollution.

Sunscreen: Protect Costa Rica's marine life and wear reef-save sunscreen.

tanzania travel Zanzibar beaches

Packing Central America

Central America is super diverse and offers plenty of things to do. Check out our packing list, and get ready for an incredible adventure!

Find everything from eco-friendly toiletries to the only travel shoes you’ll ever want to exciting travel gadgets!

Places to visit in Costa Rica