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.


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.