Lodging in Osa
On Costa Rica's southern Pacific coast you'll find the Osa Peninsula. This small outcropping of land (barely 35 miles long) is home to some of the most diverse wildlife and varied ecosystems in the country. Corcovado National Park is here, Bahía Drake and its migratory whales are here, the Golfo Dulce ("Sweet Gulf") is here. In short, all the nature and diversity of wildlife Costa Rica is famous for can be found on the Osa Peninsula.
Although accessible via air from the capital of San José, the limited infrastructure means Osa is one of the least visited regions in the country. Those who do arrive are typically seeking respite from the trappings of the modern world and looking to commune with nature. It's for this reason that many eco-lodges have begun popping up. Let this list be your primer to the best, most eco-conscious hotel options that still offer discerning guests the comfort and amenities they expect.
For more on the region, check out our Ultimate Guide to the Osa Peninsula. And if you're interested in an extended national park excursion that includes Corcovado and others, see this 14-day national parks adventure itinerary.
Copa de Arbol Rainforest Resort
If you're looking for some eco-adventure in a remote locale, head to Bahía Drake (Drake Bay) on the northern tip of the peninsula. Fronting its own beach, Copa de Arbol offers luxurious bungalows with modern amenities (it's one of the few places on drake to offer A/C). From your terrace, you'll be able to spot toucans, monkeys, and perhaps a sloth or two. There's a gourmet restaurant on site preparing fresh-caught seafood as well as vegetarian plates. The star feature of the lodge, though, is its terraced swimming pool. It's tucked away amid hanging vines and tropical plants and is fit for an emperor.
You can spend your days riding horses on the beach, snorkeling, or spotting the humpback whales who migrate past the bay all year round. You can also take a quick boat excursion to nearby Cano Islan Biological Reserve and dive or snorkel this protected coral wonderland.
Drake Bay, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
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La Paloma Lodge
La Paloma Lodge is another Bahía Drake lodging option, and like Copa de Arbol it is hidden away outside of town. It sits on 12 acres at the edge of a seaside cliff, and each of their 11 bungalows affords panoramic views of the Pacific from the terrace. They offer four classes of accommodation in one and two-story "ranchos" (bungalows), and staff will bring fresh-brewed coffee right to you (no coffee makers in the rooms).
There's a 30-foot swimming pool (also with sea views) where you can relax with a book and possibly catch a glimpse of a scarlet macaw. Maybe a group of capuchin monkeys will swing by looking for something to steal. There's a dining room where you'll enjoy four-course dinners each night, served family style so as to facilitate the meeting of other guests. Also noteworthy is that it's family run and supports the community as well as the Corcovado Foundation, a non-profit committed to protecting the national park eco-system.
Drake Bay, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Lapa Rios Lodge
This award-winning luxury option sits on its own private 1,000-acre rainforest preserve near the southern tip of the Osa Peninsula. All of Lapa Rios' 16 spacious bungalows are separate and afford great privacy (as well as sea views). There's no need to worry about getting lost—all bungalows are connected via paths and stone stairs (count on a cardio workout) with the lobby and its 50-foot observation area. Lapa Rios' eco-friendly salt pool features ocean views, and all organic meals are included in your stay. You'll be communing with plenty of wild residents, too, so get ready to see howler monkeys, sloths, coatis, toucans, and more.
Aside from the impressive accommodations, the location of Lapa Rios is reason enough to book a stay. It's ideal for anyone who wants to make an excursion into adjacent Corcovado National Park. The closest beach to the lodge (accessible by daily shuttle) is Pan Dulce, an isolated bit of sand with a nice surf break. Lapa Rios has partnered with Osa Conservation, a group that works to protect sea turtles. So bring the family and witness leatherback, olive ridley, hawksbill, and green sea turtles laying their eggs on the beach during nesting season. You can easily access Lapa Lodge from Puerto Jimenez, the main transport hub of the Osa Peninsula.
Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Luna Lodge is another jungle destination, this one ideal for health/wellness travelers. You'll have to travel some ways inland to get here, as the lodge sits on 60 acres of in the hills and is hidden amid virgin rainforest. The nice thing is that it's just northwest of Lapa Rios, at the doorstep to Corcovado. The accommodations are refreshingly varied—you can choose between colonial-style haciendas, luxury bungalows with stone jacuzzi tubs, and rustic tent accommodations on wooden terraces.
There's plenty of animal life visible in the area, and birders particularly will enjoy some of the 100s of species fluttering around. These include macaws, the red-legged honeycreeper, and slaty-tailed trogon, among others. There are waterfalls in the area, with one cascade featuring a swimming lagoon a mere 10-minute walk from the lodge. Another can't-miss feature is the yoga platform; there's no more calming landscape in which to embark on your "Five Kosha" yoga exploration. Their Luna Spa is also a hit, and their holistic practitioners will balance your mind, body, and spirit.
Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Playa Cativo Lodge
On a beach inside the Golfo Dulce lies the Playa Cativo Lodge. Situated across the gulf from Puerto Jimenez, this lodge is the top choice for anyone yet to discover the "sweet gulf." The gulf is interesting in that it has a deep inner basin but shallow shores, which makes it a playground for spinner dolphins. Naturally, you can embark on dolphin and humpback-whale spotting excursions from Playa Cativo. They offer three classes of luxurious guest rooms (with ocean views) and their restaurant El Gavilán, prepares gourmet organic plates sourced from their own farm.
Playa Cativo is noteworthy because they offer various all-inclusive packages that cater to many types of travelers. If you prefer wildlife spotting, there's a package that includes tours of the Piedras Blancas National Park that surrounds the lodge. There's also a wellness package that includes riverwalks, rainforest treks, meditation, and yoga practice. And if yoga is indeed one reason you plan on visiting Costa Rica, see our guide to the Best Yoga Retreats in Costa Rica.
Osa Peninsula, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica