Costa Rica boasts adventure from coast to coast, especially on the remote Osa Peninsula. From jungle ziplines to deep-sea fishing, read on for the top 5 Costa Rica adventures around the Osa.
1. Ziplining on a Jungle Canopy Tour
Costa Rica is renowned as the birthplace of the zipline canopy tour, and the wilds of the Osa Peninsula is one of the best spots to catch these thrilling Costa Rica adventures. To have some fun and see some amazing wildlife along the way check out Osa Palmas. Here, a half dozen lines range from slow and scenic to adrenaline-pumping and—well—still scenic. As I rode the family-run course with owner Eduardo Morales, he pointed on medicinal plants, exotic birds and even a tiny, neon-green poison dart frog, which was almost as cool as the ziplines themselves. The final zipline however—a screamer that runs for 1500 feet and bursts from the jungle with a stunning view of the ocean—is well worth the ride.
2. Hiking the Corcovado National Park
The Corcovado National Park boasts some of the greatest wildlife density of any forests on the planet—around 2 percent of the world’s biodiversity resides in an area of only about 260 square miles, roughly the size of California’s Redwoods National Park. And while hiking within the park is an adventure in its own right, getting there is just as exciting. Sirena station, a former wildlife research station, is the only sign of civilization in the park. Because there are no roads in and out, visitors must either hike (about 8 to 9 hours each way) or charter a six-seater prop plane, which lands on the grass airstrip at Sirena. With only a day to explore the park, I did the latter. Once on the ground, I followed my guide as he led our group to the coast and back, stopping along the way to point out parrots, howler monkeys, lizards and much more.
3. Deep Sea Fishing on Offshore Sea Mounts
The rainforests of the Osa may boast 2 percent of the world’s biodiversity, but the nutrient-rich Pacific ocean that surrounds the peninsula is just as vibrant. Offshore sea mounts like Matapulo Rock are veritable undersea fiestas where fish of all size congregate, from tiny baitfish to hard-fighting tuna, roosterfish and sharks. Within a couple hours of trolling around the wave-crashed rock, the crew of the Croc-and-Roll—one of many sophisticated fishing boats operating out of the Crocodile Bay Resort—started hooking into massive gamefish. I watched my fellow traveler Dana Cohen fight an 85-pound roosterfish for an hour and half before she hauled the monster into the boat. Not long after I hooked my own quarry, a jack crevalle. Of course, we took only photos from our combatants—each was released unharmed back to the sea.
4. Kayaking the Mangroves of Golfo Dulce
The warm, calm water of Golfo Dulce makes an ideal place for an afternoon kayak trip. After a smooth paddle up the coast, I turned into the winding tunnels of the coastal mangroves. The submerged roots of the mangrove trees act as nurseries for young marine life, while the tall branches serve as roosts for birds and sloths. As I gently made my way through this aquatic maze, I spotted one of the sleepy sloths curled into a ball around a tree trunk. Heading back, I took advantage of the calm before the coming rainstorm to take a quick swim from the beach before our guide broke open a cocoa pod to offer a taste of its sweet slippery seeds.
5. Sleeping in the Jungle at a Remote Rainforest Lodge
The best part about visiting a remote jungle region like the Osa Peninsula is the chance to live and sleep under the canopy. I got to experience two different and equally awesome iterations of the jungle lodge. The first was the Danta Lodge. A beautiful, simple and affordable place where bungalows sit secluded, each deep in its own pocket of rainforest. The kitchen provides fresh meals from local produce, the nights are filled with the songs of the forest, and the morning sun filters through mesh walls and billowy mosquito nets. At the other end of the spectrum is Luna Lodge. This high-end escape sits a short plane ride from Sirena or Puerto Jimenez. From the beachfront runway, it’s a Land Rover trek up the Carate River valley, splashing up to the doors through multiple river crossings. Built from the ground up by holistic-living expat Lana Wedmore, Luna Lodge has become the region’s model of sustainability. The luxe eco-resort is totally off the grid and offers cool nights and incredible views of the mist-filled valley.