Home to one of the largest rainforests in Central America (widely protected by Corcovado National Park), the Osa Peninsula is the wildlife and hiking jewel of Costa Rica. Dubbed "the most biologically dense place on Earth," you can see much of the country's famed wildlife by hiking through the jungle and watching whales and dolphins in Drake Bay. Then, take your adventures to the next level by surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving at Cape Matapalo and Isla del Caño Biological Reserve.

Getting Oriented

The lush greenery of the Osa Peninsula.

Costa Rica has two peninsulas on its Pacific side, both appearing in the same unique shape. The Osa Peninsula is the smaller, southern one near the Panama border. Known as "the most biologically dense place on Earth," Osa is nearly covered by Corcovado National Park, which protects one of the largest rainforests in Central America. Besides the numerous exotic bird species in the park, you can also see sloths, sea turtles, and even big cats like the puma, ocelot, and endangered jaguar.

But as a peninsula, there's a lot more to Osa than just its jungles and forests. You can watch whales and dolphins in Drake Bay and explore the Isla Caño Biological Reserve reefs. Here you'll find the country's largest concentration of coral-building organisms, which provide homes and feeding grounds to an abundance of marine life. With all this nature surrounding you, consider staying in one of the eco-lodges on the Osa Peninsula to make the experience even more special!

Hiking

One of the best ways to experience the Osa Peninsula is by hiking through the rainforest. Immerse yourself in the area's dense forests, where you'll find rivers, creeks, waterfalls, and, of course, wildlife.

Matapalo Waterfall Hike

Enjoy viewing birds, monkeys, butterflies, frogs, and more wildlife, plus a beautiful waterfall in Matapalo.

Enjoy a morning hike in the Matapalo area, one of Central America's most wildlife-rich areas and home to the famous blue morpho butterfly. Use binoculars to spot exotic bird species (over 360 species in Matapalo alone) and other forest creatures, including all four of Costa Rica's monkey species. Your destination is a powerful waterfall that creates a pool perfect for swimming. It's especially refreshing to take a dip after a hike! Read More

Corcovado National Park Hike

Enjoy the trails through the lush rainforest and spot animals like anteaters and jaguars.

Corcovado National Park covers much of the Osa Peninsula, protecting the lush forests that house many unique species, including the endangered giant anteater, harpy eagle, tapir, jaguar, and puma. This experience starts with a cultural boat tour, then leads you through the forest searching for wildlife. You'll also spend time on the beach and enjoy optional waterfall swimming. Read More

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Coastal Adventures

Take your adventures to the coast and experience the northern side of the Osa Peninsula. Enjoy a surf lesson at Cabo Matapalo and dive into the reefs of the world-famous Isla del Caño Biological Reserve.

Surf Lesson at Cabo Matapalo

Catch waves at one of the most scenic and hidden surf spots in Costa Rica.

Join the locals at this off-the-beaten-path location with a surf lesson at Cabo Matapalo. Enjoy some of the best coastal scenery in the region and support a community known for its sustainability initiatives focused on protecting the ocean, coast, and jungle. Plus, the breaks here are inside the Dulce Gulf, meaning that everyone can catch and ride waves regardless of ability level! Read More

Snorkeling & Scuba Diving at Isla del Caño Biological Reserve

Dive or snorkel to see fish, sharks, eels, rays, octopus, coral, and much more.

The Isla del Caño Island Biological Reserve is one of the best diving and snorkeling areas globally, thanks to its incredible visibility. Under the surface, you can see 30 to 100 feet year-round, so it's also a prime spot for underwater photography. Enjoy searching for and viewing an abundance of marine life, including reef sharks, sea turtles, pufferfish, octopus, coral, and much more. If you're not a certified diver, snorkeling is just as exciting! Read More

Discover Wildlife

Although wildlife is the general theme of the Osa Peninsula, you can enjoy several activities that focus on the area's celebrated biodiversity. Experience the jungle at night to view nocturnal animals, watch birds at sunset when they're typically most active, and try your luck at finding humpbacks in Drake Bay.

Nighttime Wildlife Tour

As the sun melts into the horizon, the nocturnal wildlife of the Osa Peninsula come to life!

The Osa Peninsula is one of the most protected areas of Costa Rica, as many national parks and wildlife refuges cover its surface. Enjoy a nighttime hike along a stream and through the forest in the community of El Ñeque, not far from Puerto Jiménez, where you'll be able to see numerous exotic creatures that prefer the night hours. Catch glimpses of bats, spiders, various frogs, snakes, kinkajous (relatives of raccoons), and many other species. Read More

Whale & Dolphin Tour in Drake Bay

View humpback whales (seasonal) and several species of dolphins in Drake Bay.

Bahía Drake, known as Drake Bay, is well-known and beloved for its abundant marine life. Enjoy a whale and dolphin tour, cruising through the bay and searching for several species, including the distinctive humpbacks. The bay is also home to numerous types of dolphins: spotted, bottlenose, spinner, common, and rough tooth, plus northern migration whales. And as a bonus, the surrounding scenery is one of the main highlights, as your backdrop is the beautiful Corcovado National Park meeting the Pacific Ocean. Read More

Sunset Bird Watching Tour

Watch the sunset over Drake Bay and hike into the jungle to view birds.

If you leave the Osa Peninsula with just two memories, let them be one of Drake Bay's incredible sunsets and an evening viewing the jungle's various bird species. Dusk is one of the peak times for avian activity, which means you have a better chance of seeing some of Costa Rica's most coveted bird species, including tanagers, toucans, macaws, motmots, trogons, flycatchers, hummingbirds, many birds of prey, and more. Read More

How to Craft the Perfect Osa Peninsula Itinerary

The Osa Peninsula has some of the most serene scenes in Costa Rica.

Many travelers opt to visit the Osa Peninsula and nothing more when in Costa Rica! The region is truly special and offers a range of activities centered around the country's beautiful rainforests and wildlife. If you'd like to stick to the peninsula, it's best to give yourself at least five days, although you could easily fill a week-long itinerary with just Osa alone!

If you're wondering how many days to spend in Costa Rica if you'd like to see more than the Osa Peninsula, that depends on how far you want to travel. Remember that Osa is in the far south of the country, so if you're going to combine it with other regions in Costa Rica, plan for at least one week. However, two weeks in Costa Rica makes traversing the country much easier.

Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that include experiences on the Osa Peninsula: