Cabo Matapalo

Cabo Matapalo is located in the Southern Pacific area of Costa Rica. Cabo Matapalo sits on the tip of the Osa Peninsula. This region is part of a lush, tropical area of the Costa Rican provinces. It is a paradise, hidden from the world in a complex matte of jungle and ocean. It is famous for its great surfing harbors its close proximity to the Corcovado National Park. It is also known for the large variety of exotic creatures that live in its jungles, from the Howler monkeys to the macaws that can be seen flying above the shoreline.

What makes Cabo Matapalo so unique is its seclusion from the rest of Costa Rica. Visiting Matapalo is like visiting a deserted island, untouched and well-preserved. The flora and the fauna are totally indigenous to the island, making it a must-see for anybody who appreciates the touches of mother nature.

Cabo Matapalo, Costa RicaThe climate of the island is generally at a tropical temperature all year long. The reason is because Costa Rica is so close to the equator, making it a very warm and humid place. This, in turn, makes it the ideal place for tropical plants to flourish. The seasons, like many other tropical locations in the world, are determined by the amount of rainfall that the island receives. The ‘rainy season,’ the ‘dry season,’ and so forth are what comprise the seasons here.

Interestingly enough, a province that is so naturally beautiful does not tout tourism as its main economic support. Instead, it relies heavily on pharmaceuticals, software development and to some degree, ecotourism. However, they do produce three main ‘cash crops.’ These crops are pineapple, bananas and coffee. Coffee production, as in Hawaii and other major tropical islands and provinces, has played a big part in the history of settlement. Matapalo’s time zone matches that of the Central United States.

Tourists who visit Cabo Matapalo come to surf the fantastic waves and catch glimpses of the exotic wildlife that lives in its lush jungles. There is a huge ecotourism rate in Cabo Matapalo, and all of Costa Rica, for that matter. One of the main attractions that is nearby Cabo Matapalo is the Paos Volcanic Crater. The crater is massive and now holds a large lake. Cabo Matapalo is part of Costa Rica, which means it contains about 5% of the world’s biodiversity. They are one of the only places in the world where they have managed to lower the percentage of deforestation to nearly zero.

Corcovado is extremely close to Cabo Matapalo. It is famous, as well, for its vast array of flora and wildlife, including big cats, tapirs, mantled howlers, spider monkeys, turtles, reptiles, sloths, many exotic birds and amphibians.

Cano Island

When one travels to Costa Rica, one should leave enough time to visit a special area there. This is Cano Island, which lies 12 miles off the western coast of Costa Rica in the Pacific Ocean. This beautiful island came into being approximately 40 to 50 million years ago, due to tectonic plates shifting beneath the sea. In 1978, Cano Island was designated as a Biological Reserve to help preserve the natural resources as well as the historic resources there.

Those who have been to Cano Island describe it as a large emerald in the blue sea. The cliffs edging the island end at the white sand beaches. There are many sites to explore on the island, as well as in the water surrounding it.

Cano Island, Southern Pacific, Costa RicaMany historical aspects of Cano Island are evident when one is exploring its surface. Scientists have discovered that this area used to be an Indian cemetery. They have found artifacts, pottery and sphere-like stone items near some of these burial sites. Many hiking trails lead to Indian burial sites on the island, and this is one reason why the island has become a biological reserve.

The Tropical Rain Forest covers most the land area with approximately 158 different types of trees, plants and ferns. Birds migrating to warmer areas from the north often visit this island. Although there is not a large amount of wildlife on the island, some of the common animals include bats, snakes, lizards and a small number of insects.

Although following the trails of Cano Island can lead one to many interesting sites, the true beauty of this island lies in the sea surrounding it. This area is known as one of the best in the world for swimming, snorkeling and diving. The water is a sparkling, clear blue background for various types of coral reefs, as well as other underwater fauna and flora existing here. Seven dive sites are available for the visitor to explore, including underwater caves and cliffs.

When diving, one will have the opportunity to view many animals in their natural habitat. Closer to the coral reefs, colorful fish, sponges and moray eels make their homes. A little further off shore one will find the larger marine life including dolphins, manta rays, sea turtles and sharks, just to name a few. At various times, one can view pilot and humpback whales swimming along with the other sea creatures in the area.

A trip To Cano Island is one that a visitor will remembered for a long time. By walking among the ancient graves and artifacts of the Indians buried there, one can take a step backwards in time to a completely different world. For those who are more interested in the wildlife, especially the sea life, there is nothing better than to swim with the aquatic inhabitants of the waters surrounding Cano Island. Whether one loves the land, the sea or both, he/she cannot go wrong by setting their sights on the Cano Biological Reserve on Cano Island, Costa Rica.

Getting to Cano Island visitors to Costa Rica have several departure options. From Drake Bay, a 40 minute boat ride. Farther up on the Osa Peninsula from the town of Sierpe the boat ride is about 1 1/2 hours. Farther up the Southern Pacific Coast visitors can take a 2 hour boat ride from Utiva and Dominical. And at Manuel Antonio and Quepos area it will take a 3 hour ride to get to Cano Island.

Southern Pacific/Osa Peninsula

Costa Rica’s southwestern shoreline extending from Dominical south to the Panama border is called the Southern Pacific and Osa Peninsula region. Rain soaked, humid and one of the most picturesque the Southern Pacific and Osa Peninsula region is sparsely uninhabited and some of the most remote sections of all of Costa Rica. From the steep mountains of the Fila Costena mountain range rising from the Pacific below, to the largest stretch of primitive rain forest found anywhere throughout Central America. The Southern Pacific region, with over 200 inches of rain a year, is known as one of the most biologically different and stunning locations in the world.

Ojochal Playa Ventanas Playa Dominical Manuel Antonio National Park

Osa Peninsula, Costa RicaUnlike other parts of Costa Rica, the Southern Pacific region has a rainy season lasting from April till December, yet the area still receives rain through out the months of January to March.

Traveling south along the Pan American highway from Dominical is Marino Ballena  National Park, named after the Humpback Wales that migrate to the area during the months of December till April. Farther south is the Bahia de Coronado with the beaches of Utiva, Playa Ventanas and Playa Tortuga also referred to by the locals as Ojochal. Miles and miles of long white sand beaches give way to the occasional coves with rock strewn beaches and lush tropical forest cascading into the Pacific waters. Swinging farther west, the Bahia de Coronado follows the shore line of the Valle de Diquisa, a large flat plain bisected by rivers and estuaries. To the north of the Valle de Diquisa are the towns of Palmer Norte and Palmer Sur, and to the south the large Peninsula de Osa.

Corcovado National Park with its large rainforest and its abundance of wildlife makes this area popular with the ecological minded tourist. The Oso Peninsula wraps around back to the north forming the Golfo Dulce. Continuing farther south along the Pan American highway the land gives way to the Valle de Coto Colorado. Large banana plantations extend through the two valleys from Palmer Norte south to Golfito. Farther south the region gives way to more tropical rain forest and the remote Peninsula Burica that Costa Rica shares with Panama.

The Southern Pacific region also is home to the isolated and volcanic Coco Islands and the Coco Island national Park, located some 300 miles southwest of the Osa Peninsula, the islands are a must see destination for scuba divers. Large and diversified marine species and schools of sharks, dolphins and sea rays make this a diver’s paradise.

Puerto Jimenez

Situated on the Pacific side of Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula and nestled in the Golfo Dulce, Puerto Jimenez is this area’s main town and is a truly unique place to visit. The peninsula is one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet and is home to more than half of all the species present in Costa Rica.

These features make it a prime spot for ecotourism. That is, the practice of bringing communities, sustainable travel and conservation together. In Puerto Jimenez you’ll find several lodgings which cater to the philosophy of ecotourism. A few are La Leona Eco Lodge, Selva Bananito Lodge and Preserve and the Lake Coter Eco-Lodge. Experiencing the local culture as well as the area’s natural wonders is part of ecotourism.

Puerto Jimenez sunset, Costa RicaOften times, visitors travel to this out of the way paradise as a stopping point before their trek through Corcovado National Park which is part of the Osa Conservation area and was established in the mid 1970s. Puerto Jimenez is seen as a last outpost separating it from points further south where supplies and access to electronic devices may not be as easily accessible.

Those planning to explore the dense jungle are encouraged to hire an experienced guide to lead them safely on their adventure. While hiking through the forests, visitors will be treated to sightings of a variety of animals from howler monkeys to rare Scarlet Macaws.
For those who aren’t planning on exploring the tropical rain forests of the park, there are activities such as kayaking, horseback riding and surfing. They’re all popular and are easily found close to the hotels and to the park. Sport fishing is another draw to the area with record fish being caught on a regular basis.

The Golfo Dulce is known for its lush green mountains that rise almost vertically out of the crystal-clear waters. Migrating whales are often spotted in the water as well as three species of dolphin—the bottlenose, the spinner and the black spotted.

In its previous life, Puerto Jimenez served as a place for gold mining and logging. Both are still performed in the area but on a much smaller scale. Accounts from the 1980s paint Puerto Jimenez as a wild frontier town where miners paid for their goods with gold nuggets.

Nightlife in little Puerto Jimenez isn’t lacking, a few of the most popular places are Juanita’s Mexican Bar & Grille, Soda Carolina and the place to dance is Delfines Discoteque. Be prepared for gorgeous weather while visiting Puerto Jimenez as Costa Rica has a tropical climate.

Playa Ventana

If you want a vacation to be a real getaway, you might want to check out Playa Ventana. This picturesque beach does not receive a lot of visitors and the area is not highly developed.

Playa Ventana, or Playa Ventanas, is located on the Southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. The name means “window beach” and it was so named because of two large rock formations there providing windows to the sea. It is a lovely beach where the beautiful lush forest comes right down to the coast, which is covered with golden sand. It is one of the best beaches in all of Costa Ricaand has a reputation of being the best family beach in the area.

Playa Ventanas, "Window to the Sea" Costa RicaWhen you visit Playa Ventana, you will definitely not have to fight the crowds. It is a great beach for snorkeling in the clear southern Pacific waters. You can also fish, surf, kayak, go horseback riding, walk and enjoy the scenery, or just take it easy.

Playa Ventana is not too far from civilization as the small town of Ojochal is nearby. Since this quaint town has not yet seen a lot of tourism, it retains its charm, but had certain amenities.

Things to Do

North of Playa Ventana is Marino Ballenas National Park which can be accessed from the town of Uvita. This park is known for its biodiversity in animals and plant life. At this park you can watch the humpback whale migration if you are there at the right time between December and April. You can snorkel, join a snorkeling tour, of take the boat tour to Ballena Island.

Not far from Playa Ventana are the Nauyaca Waterfalls which have been called the best falls in Costa Rica. You will probably be bird watching as this area has hundreds of species of birds.

Boat tours on the Río Terraba are available that take you through the mangrove trees. This will allow you to get a good view of animals and plant life. Some boat tours on the Pacific include snorkeling along with viewing wildlife.

On a fishing tour, you can fish for either a half a day or a full day. Some of the offerings of the Pacific Ocean are mahi-mahi, marlin, sailfish, and yellow fin tuna. While you are fishing, you may be able to spot many kinds of sea animals, like whales, birds, dolphins, or turtles.


Uvita is a wonderful tropical destination. In the late 1400s and early 1500s, Spain colonized Costa Rica, but civilization dates back to pre-recorded history with the indigenous people. Under foreign rule, the country was considered poor because it had no gold and silver, but little did they know of its natural resources. September 15, 1821 became Costa Rica’s Independence Day. Then, the country started exporting coffee and bananas. Today, the island country is rich in natural resources and beauty, and cities like Uvita are wonderful tropical destinations with many attractions for visitors to enjoy.
Coastline Uvita, Southern Pacific Costa RicaUtiva is just 10 miles down the coast from Dominical on Costa Rica’s South Pacific Coast. Travelers to Uvita will find several hotels, guesthouses and lodges are available offering reasonable rates on accommodations in the Uvita area.
Getting to Uvita is made easy, driving or taking a bus, one has two options. The first is to head out of San Jose to Quepos and then Dominical, the second is to come inland to San Isidro de El General and then head south to the coast. Another option is for travelers to fly from San Jose to Palmer Sur Airport and then drive up the coast to Uvita.
Ballena Marine National Park – Uvita is located in this park. Ballena Marine National Parkhas some of the best beaches in Costa Rica. The spectacular scenery enhances the experience of relaxing on the sands and engaging in water sports and boating. Then, snorkeling and diving trips explore the fantastic marine habitats. From December through March, Humpback Whales are in the coastal waters.Coffee Plantations- Nearby coffee plantations are open for tours. People can enjoy walking among the coffee bushes and seeing how the coffee is prepared for marketing.Horseback Riding – On an animal farm near Uvita horseback riding is available. This farm and the property surrounding it have a wonderful collection of cows, monkeys and other animals.

Jungle Treks – The jungle is a true eco-adventure site. People can trek with a local guide to see beautiful streams as well as amazing native plants, animals and birds.

Surf Lessons – The surf is great off the coast of Uvita. For those who would like to learn how to surf or wish to learn more tricks of the sport can take lessons from experts.

Waterfalls – Waterfalls are found all over Costa Rica. Venturing on jungle paths often include seeing several falls. A large falls with pools for swimming is found in the canyon not far outside the city. Signs on the main road lead the way to the waterfall.

With so much to see and do around Uvita, visits to this paradise quickly pass. The friendly people, fresh food markets and many dining possibilities for any budget make strolling through the beach town a pleasant experience. Then, touring the coast, jungle forest and mango wetlands gives the chance to learn about the wildlife that lives in Costa Rica as well as the local efforts taken for nature conservation.

Piedras Blancas National Park

Piedras Blanca National Park, previously known as Las Esquinas, is located on the Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, nestled along the Gulf of Dulce. This beautiful national park spans 34,642 acres in the Puntarenas Province. The park ranges in altitude from sea level up to 3,281 feet and is covered in rainforest.

To the east of Piedras Blanca are the Golfito National Wildlife Preserve and the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve to the west. The Golfo Dulce Forest Preserve also abuts the Corcovado National Park. These local parks and preserves offer visitors plenty of wildlife and majestic landscape to explore.

Piedras Biancas National Park, Southern Pacific Costa RicaPiedras Blanca is home to all four monkey species of Costa Rica along with many other species of mammals, such as sloths, kinkajous, and agoutis. Hundreds of bird species, including the rare scarlet macaw, live in the area. The Piedras Blanca National Park is also home to cats, including the ocelot, puma, and one of the last jaguar habitats in Costa Rica. Additionally, there are many sea creatures that can be seen from the park, including several types of dolphins and whales.

There are many activities available to explore the area in and around Piedras Blanca. The park itself has no official trails, but there are many paths that make it possible to explore independently. The local hotels also have their own trail heads and local guides are available for tours during the day or night. Activities on or near the water are also available, such as beautiful beaches, kayaking, snorkeling, and whale watching tours.

Aside from the neighboring parks and reserves, there are several nearby cities. Golfito, the closest town, is the southernmost port town in Costa Rica. Across the gulf, opposite the park on the Osa Peninsula is Puerto Jimenez. To the north of the park is Palmar Sur, which is known for being the home of the mystifying granite spheres. Pavones, to the south, is a beautiful beach town with excellent surfing.

The entrance to Piedras Blanca National Park is found in La Gamba. To reach La Gamba, take the Interamerican Highway south from Palmar and turn directly off to La Gamba. It is also possible to take a road north from the town of Golfito. There is a small ten dollar fee for entrance into the park and the park is open daily from 8am to 4pm.

Palmar Sur

Palmar Sur lies in the Osa region of Southern Pacific Costa Rica. It is a small river town located next to the town of Palmar Norte and separated from it by the Rio Terraba. It is most easily reached by a domestic flight from the Juan Santamaria Airport. Palmar Sur has a regional airport and is scheduled to change and expand soon to an international airport .

Palmar Sur is on the delta of the Sierpe River and is an important river port. It is also home to one of the largest mangrove swamps on the planet. Its charm and abundant wildlife make Palmar Sur a natural stop for a day tour. It is also a jumping off point for further exploration into the more southern areas of the Osa region of Costa Rica. The town has good riverside restaurants and several hotels.

Rio Sierpe, Palmar Sur, Costa RicaOne of the most mysterious aspects of Palmar Sur is its ancient Pre-Columbian stone spheres. They range in size from a small bowling ball to massive spheres over two meters in diameter and weighing up to 32,000 pounds. These diquis orbs are examples of incredibly precise stone carving in ancient times. The sculpting material of these highly polished stones is grandirorite which is not found in the local area. No stone working tools have ever been excavated. The spheres are generally found in groups of 12 to 20 and usually form geometric patterns that are often aligned to magnetic north. One investigator has found that images on one of the spheres duplicated a star constellation. Local legends tell of a magic potion that softened the rocks to make them workable. Other tales say that the spheres were game balls for giants. More legends relate the spheres to constellations. These inexplicable spheres can be found throughout the town, in the banana plantation, and even in the yards of residents. They are well worth a visit.

Palmar Sur is also a jumping off point for adventurous travel opportunities in Southern Pacific Costa Rica in the Osa Peninsula. Rainforest trips with organic cacao hunting may be scheduled and a tour of Corcovado National Park
with its 100,00 acres of pristine wildlife is a highlight. Surfing and sport fishing, whale watching, and white water rafting are just some of the popular activities in the Osa Penisula.


Magnificent mountains, beautiful beaches and cascading waterfalls are just a few of the highlights that make Ojochal a little piece of paradise in Costa Rica. Although this is a smaller village, it’s incredibly welcoming and offers hotels, restaurants, bars, shopping and internet cafes.

Nestled in Central America between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Costa Rica boasts a multitude of exquisite vacation destinations but something about Ojochal stands out above the rest. The culture is rich and diverse, the people are inviting and the village is among one off the greenest places in the world.Ojochal boasts a tropical climate year-round. There are only two seasons here being wet and dry. The wet season is from May through November while summer is from December through April. Rain or shine, temperatures average a warm 27°C.

Ojochal, Southern Pacific, Costa RicaOne of the things that makes Ojochal so charming is that like many other areas of Costa Rica, there is a lacking in strong native civilization. The Spanish-speaking colonial society absorbed most of the native population but there are still remnants of Boruca and Bribri tribes inhabiting the mountains. This is a land where there may be a language barrier but guests are always greeted with a smile and treated like a friend.

There are a variety of accommodations in Ojochal and the surrounding area from luxurious hotels to small but cozy locally-owned B&B’s. If you are visiting during the dry season, be sure to book your stay well in advance.

Ojochal is a haven to birdwatchers as there are more than 450 species residing here. There’s many lush parks to explore in the village and nearby including Corcovado National Park, Marino Bellena National Park and Hacienda Baru National Wildlife Refuge. There are plenty of mangroves here to hike through or you can marvel at waterfalls on horseback. Everywhere you turn, Ojochal offers gorgeous photo opportunities.

Do you prefer marine life? There’s snorkeling and scuba diving as well. The beaches here are really quite magical. Playa Ventanos offers sea caves that create so much pressure from the waves that the tides blow clouds of steam onto the beach. If you like kayaking, Playa Piñuela is the preferred place to go or you can venture over to Playa Ballena from October through May and watch Humpback whales. Mothers can often be seen frolicking in the waves with their young.

Ojochal is easily accessible by air from Nature Air and Sansa, two commuter airlines. There are also a few bus lines that run from San Jose or there’s always private shuttles available from anywhere in Costa Rica.

Whether you are looking to visit for a day or making an extended vacation out of your stay, Ojochal is a place you will have a hard time saying goodbye to.

Marino Ballena National Park

Marino Ballena National Park, located along the Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is named after the whales who migrate there for mating through the winter months. The park is covered with beaches feature white and golden sand, many of which have gone untouched by humans. There is also a coral reef just off the coast, which is home to many different fish and other wildlife.

Snorkeling and dive trips provide visitors with a fascinating view of the coral reef off the coast, as well as the rest of the surrounding area. The beaches that are part of the park make a great place for visitors to spend time sunbathing or searching for sea shells and other treasures that may wash up on the beach. Whale watching is prime in the winter months from January through April when they mate in the waters along Costa Rica.

Marino Ballena National Park, Southern Pacific, Costa RicaOne of the greatest advantages of the Marino Ballena National Park is its isolation. There are no cities or towns within close vicinity, which means that there isn’t much traffic in the area. The quiet beaches are not frequently visited by tourists or locals. Many people often find themselves alone on the miles of beach that make up the park. If you are looking for a quiet place to commune with nature, Marino Ballena National Park is the perfect opportunity.

If visitors want to stay closer to the park than the larger cities of San Jose and San Isidro, there are several options. The beaches are open for camping at no charge; however, there are no amenities, including no fresh water so campers must be prepared. Small accommodations are also available along Highway 34 near Uvita and Pinuela.

From the north, such as San Jose and San Isidro, travelers can drive down the Interamerican Highway to highway 22. Once visitors reach Dominical, highway 34 continues on to the Marino Ballena National Park area. From the south, visitors must take highway 34. If visitors must first fly into Costa Rica, the nearest airports are in Quepos to the north and Palmar to the south. A bus is also available for visitors who want to visit the park from San Jose.


Golfito is a small town that is located near the Pacific Ocean on the southern coast of Costa Rica. Golfito became a very prosperous city in Costa Rica due to location on the water. Fruit companies used Golfito to ship bananas in and out of the country. Golfito remained a major port town for nearly 50 years until 1985 when the fruit companies decided to leave Golfito. This resulted in a severe depression for the city, but was quickly resolved by the government of Cost Rica. The Costa Rica government decided to change several laws in the area and heavily promote the city to tourists. This resulted in cheaper shopping areas and the construction of several resorts for tourists. Golfito may be a small town, but it remains a popular destination for tourists due to its beautiful weather, location and great attractions.

Golfito, Southern Pacific, Costa RicaGolfito, Costa Rica features a relatively warm climate that is consistent throughout the year. The temperatures rarely changed through the year, but the rainfall in the area is determined by the time of year. The high temperatures for most days of the year will generally be between 25 and 28 degrees Celsius. Average low temperatures for each day in Golfito will usually be between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius. The months of December, January, February and March are the driest times in the city. Very little to no rain will fall during these four months. The months of May, June, July, August, September and October will see the most rain during the year. During these months, 9 to 12 inches of rain will fall each month.Since Golfito is located on the ocean, most of the attractions revolve around the water. The city is known for is beautiful beaches and great fishing locations. The most popular beach in Golfito is Playa Zancudo, which can be reached by boat or car. Playa Zancudo is a great place to either swim in the water or relax on the peaceful beach. There are several small restaurants and bars located around Playa Zancudo that offer a great place to experience the local cuisine and culture.

There are several different sport fishing operators that will allow tourists to experience the sport fishing. The operators will captain the boat and assist with the fishing if needed. Most of the fish that will be caught in the area surrounding Golfito include sailfish and marlin. There is also a small nightlife in Golfito that can be experience after the sun goes down. There are several small bars and clubs in the area that are always a good time.