Costa Rica Off the Beaten Path: Osa Peninsula - 5 Days

Osa Peninsula is located at the remote edge of Costa Rica, featuring well-preserved forests brimming with wildlife. In just under a week, get to fully explore this gem of biodiversity through hiking, scuba diving, and participating in various other activities.

Highlights

  • Hike the rainforest trails and waterfalls of Corcovado National Park
  • Observe hundreds of species of mammals, birds, and plants in what National Geographic claims to be the most biodiverse place on the planet.
  • Scuba dive off the Isla del Caño with tips from a master diver.
  • Get a chance to kayak, ride horses, or head north to catch some waves at one of Costa Rica's best surf points.

Overview

The Osa Peninsula is one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth, as the Corcovado National Park has preserved one of the region's few remaining virgin forests. Due to the extreme location of the peninsula, the area has resisted modernization and serves as a great lens into Costa Rica's past. In fact, the community of Drakes Bay had only recently just got access to electricity.

This itinerary is designed for those who want a nature-based experience that is off the beaten path. Visiting the hidden gem of the Osa Peninsula will allow you to experience beaches and rainforest trails, with fewer crowds and higher concentrations of wildlife. The peninsula itself contains over half of all species in Costa Rica, making this tour possibly one of the best options for those who want to observe flora and fauna both on land and in the sea.

Brief Itinerary

Day Destination Activities
Day 1 San Jose (Arrival)  
Day 2 Osa Peninsula (Free Day)  
Day 3 Osa Peninsula (Corcovado National Park) Hiking
Day 4 Osa Peninsula (Isla del Caño) Scuba Diving
Day 5 San Jose (Departure)  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival to San José 

Museo Nacional in San Jose Costa Rica
Museo Nacional in San Jose Costa Rica

Welcome to Costa Rica! Arrive and get settled in San José, and if your flight arrives earlier in the day, take the rest of the day to head downtown and explore the city. The capital city of Costa Rica, San José features a wide array of green plazas and European-inspired architecture.

Be sure to tour the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum as well as the post office building. If you are interested in architecture, you can visit the Teatro Nacional (National Theater), which many deem the most exquisite building in the entire city. Also, check out the National Museum, a former military barrack painted in a dazzling golden color. There will bound to be something to capture your attention on every street and turn.

Day 2: Flight to Osa Peninsula

The location of Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica
Location of Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica

Catch an early flight to the Palmar Sur Airport. There, you will be taken by car and then motorboat to your hotel in the Osa Peninsula, one of the southernmost areas of Costa Rica known for its jungles and hidden beaches.

Free day to explore your surroundings, checking out any of the available activities, including scuba diving, a guided night tour, ocean and river kayaking, horseback riding, and more.

Additionally, Uvita and Dominical are just an hour to the north. Both feature scenic white sand beaches as well as some of Costa Rica's best wave breaks, making it an ideal spot for those into surfing.
 

Day 3: Osa Peninsula - Corcovado National Park Hike

The coast of Corcovado National Park

Go for a 25-minute boat ride from your hotel across the western coast of the Osa Peninsula. After a stern-first wet landing at the station a few feet from the beach, your rainforest adventure begins. 

With clearly-marked and easily-navigable trails, this hike will be a truly unique opportunity to explore the lush primary rainforest next to Corcovado National Park’s northernmost ranger station, San Pedrillo. Throughout the morning, your bilingual guide will identify many of the endemic species along the hiking trail. Look out for white-faced, spider and howler monkeys, white-lipped peccaries, scarlet macaws, coati, and countless other birds and insects.

After the hike and a quick lunch break, you will continue to trek to a pristine waterfall, with more opportunities to see the full diversity of flora and fauna on the way. Once you arrive at the waterfall, take the time to wind down, go for a swim in the cool refreshing water, and take some stunning photos. Later in the afternoon, return to the ranger station to board the boat back to the hotel. If you're lucky, you might be able to see humpback whales or dolphins swimming in the sea!

Day 4: Osa Peninsula - Isla del Caño

Caño Island coral reefs
Caño Island coral reefs

Today, explore the waters of the Caño Island Biological Reserve through a scuba diving excursion. The area is home to a coral reef with a variety of colorful fish and rock formations. First, an expert will provide guidance for all ages and experience levels aboard the 30-foot Island Hopper before plunging into the water. Visibility is 30-100 feet throughout the year, making Caño Island perfect for underwater photographers as well as families.

Day 5: Departure

Time to say goodbye and return home.  Fly out early in the morning to San Jose and connect to your flight home.  Or connect onto the next part of your adventure in Costa Rica.