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.