The Osa Peninsula juts out from the edge of Costa Rica’s Southern Zone, piercing the Pacific Ocean with creature-packed jungles and symphonies of bursting flora. Scarcely touched by industrialism, the Osa Peninsula beckons only the true adventurers at heart to come and explore Costa Rica’s wild side. If you crave to indulge in the untamed beauty of barren beaches, traverse unchartered jungle paths, or dive into an underwater world seen only by a rare few, then the Osa Peninsula should be your next stop in Costa Rica.
These three spots are The Osa Peninsula’s finest. A trip to this neck of the woods is incomplete without experiencing this powerful trio to the fullest.
The Osa Peninsula: 3 Things That Shouldn’t Be Missed
1. The Corcovado National Park
The Corcovado National Park is located on the tip of the Osa Peninsula. Coined as the ‘Crown Jewel’ of Costa Rica’s national park system, the Corcovado is the largest national park in the country, occupying one-third of the entire Osa Peninsula with an area of 424 square kilometers (164 square miles.)
National Geographic has named The Corcovado National Park as the most biologically intense place on the face of the planet. An accurate statement considering the park contains 13 major ecosystems, including lowland rainforests, highland cloud forests, jolillo palm forests, and mangrove swamps, as well as coastal marine and beach habitats. As if that’s not impressive enough, the Corcovado National Park contains 375 species of birds, 140 species of mammals, and 116 species of amphibians & reptiles. Not to mention the 40 types of freshwater fish, the 10,000 different types of insects, including 375 species of birds, and the 500 different species of trees–a quarter of all the tree species in Costa Rica! (Facts thanks to WWF Global)
If you want to check out this incredible place for yourself, you’ll have to go with a professional guide. Up to the adventure? Check out this complete guide to hiking the Corcovado National Park.
2. Drake Bay
Drake Bay is a small, semi-remote bay on the northern coast of the Osa Peninsula. Historically, this bay is believed to have been a port used by Sir Francis Drake in the 16th century. Today the bay is loved by adventure-seeking visitors that want to escape the bustle of touristy beaches and don’t mind a little solitude. Drake Bay’s main town is Agujitas, and has a population of just 1,000 residents.
Despite the isolated nature of the bay, tours and activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and horseback riding are still readily available. You can make the most of your time at Drake Bay by staying at one of the beautiful eco-lodges or resorts hidden among the natural beauty of the bay. If possible, avoid coming to Drake Bay during the two rainest months of the year, September and October, as most of the lodgings will be closed.
Getting to the bay itself isn’t exactly a walk in the park. Check out this awesome guide from Anywhere Costa Rica that breaks down exactly how to get to Drake Bay.
3. Cano Island
Cano Island is primarily associated with two words: snorkeling and scuba diving. This pristine island, located just off the coast of the Osa Peninsula, is made up mostly of volcanic rock fragments—one of the key reasons why the thriving marine life around the island is so diverse.
Off the shores of Cano Island, scuba divers and snorkelers indulge in 20 ft. of visibility as they search for a variety of marine life; including, a host of different fish species, manta rays, sea turtles, and occasionally even humpback whales and bottle-nosed dolphins. If you’re really brave, you can even dive with sharks.
You’ll have to stay at Drake Bay, or somewhere nearby, and take a day trip to the island. Ranked as the second best place for snorkeling in all of Costa Rica, you won’t want to miss out on this aquatic paradise.
The Osa Peninsula holds some of Costa Rica’s wildest adventures. From the sea, to the shore, to the jungle’s interior, the Osa Peninsula is an adventurer’s dream come true. Be sure not to miss out on the three top features of Costa Rica’s wild side: The Corcovado National Park, Drake Bay, and Cano Island.
Need help planning your adventure to the Osa Peninsula? Leave a comment with your specific travel questions!