ADVENTURES IN THE OSA PENINSULA
I’m super excited to share with you our experiences of the Osa Peninsula as this was truly one of my favourite locations of our trip to Costa Rica. The Osa Peninsula is located on the south-western coast of Costa Rica and is home to at least half of all species living in the country. This locality is also known as ‘the last wild frontier’ of Costa Rica. One of the reasons for visiting Costa Rica and choosing this location in particular is because most of you probably know already; I am huge on wildlife conservation. For me there is nothing more enchanting than seeing wildlife in its own habitat and not disrupting it’s ecosystem.
After arriving in Costa Rica, we spent our first night in the capital, San Jose and the next morning we caught a domestic flight to Puerto Jiménez, which is the main town of the Osa Peninsula. In Costa Rica domestic flights are not the medium sized aircrafts that we are used to but literally 8 passenger planes and therefore a very strict weight and dimension limit is enforced. We flew with Air Sansa and our weight limit was 12kg with linear luggage dimensions no greater than 45 linear inches. But lucky for us we knew this in advance (one of the perks of booking with Costa Rica Expeditions) we were suitably prepared.
The flight time to Puerto Jiménez was approximately 50 minutes and the views were absolutely spectacular. Top tip: make sure you keep your camera with you at all times throughout the domestic flights!
On arrival at Puerto Jiménez we were greeted by our driver and in no time it seemed we were passing by the beautiful rural landscapes that I imaged Costa Rica would be. We had opted for quite a remote location and 40 minutes later we arrived at just that. The El Remanso Lodge. We had arrived at our secluded, rainforest lodge and what a WOW moment this was! I was so blown away by this place and it’s conservation and sustainable philosophies which you can read all about in ‘A remote rainforest stay at El Remanso Lodge’.
After the refreshing welcome drinks and completion of obligatory paperwork, we started our adventures. We had booked the ‘Wildlife Explorer’ package, a 4 night package with the lodge which involves all your meals and a total of 6 activities. You can always add in more or take away activities should you wish. Unfortunately due to a pre-existing shoulder injury I was not able to take part in the waterfall rapelling! Additionally there are many hikes and trails to explore independently- which is real good fun if you like to scope out the unknown!
Due to the high temperatures and high humidity in the Osa Peninsula, the majority of activities start around 05:30-06:00. You will be thankful they do as the Howler monkeys will not let you enjoy your beauty sleep past 05:00 anyway! All activities are also done in small groups, however as the lodge doesn’t accommodate many cabins, Dr C and I enjoyed many private adventures as no one else had selected them.
So, let me take you through some of the adventurous activities we got up to in our 4 night stay at the El Remanso Lodge…….
THE LONG HIKE
The lodges resident naturalist guides will guide you through one of the many different trails in the area and help you locate the flora and fauna that can be found in this region.
Our very knowledgeable naturalist guide, Marlon
It’s a bit like a practical Biology lesson, and the guides come prepared with a reference manual and top of the range scope which I was impressed took some great snaps with the iPhone over the view finder! We were actually very lucky and managed to spot Scarlet Macaws, Chestnut Mandibled Toucans, Parrots, three toed sloths, howler monkeys, Red-capped Mannakin (a.k.a The Michael Jackson bird), Rufous-Winged Woodpecker and a Golden-Orb spider. In addition we saw many plants and flowers in their natural habitat. So it most certainly was a fruitful trip
ZIP LINE & CANOPY BREAKFAST
This activity as long as you’re not scared of heights, allows you to see the rainforest reserve of El Remanso and its resident wildlife from a birdseye perspective from the canopy as opposed to ground level.
The morning starts off with a meet and greet with your guides, Felix our Zip lining guide and Alberico, our safety guide to ensure there are no snakes around. The reserve is home to the Fer de lance, a member of the Viper family and the most poisonous snake in Costa Rica. So for that reason the safety guide is your best friend!!!
Once your over the suspension bridge, adjacent to the canopy, you zip down 4 lines but with platforms in-between to allow you to take in the wildlife and the stunning surroundings. Mid-way you stop on one of the platforms and are treated to a breakfast of fruit, juices and coffee, whilst you see the rainforest waking up around you. It is absolutely magical, let me tell you. After the third viewing platform, you rappel down to the last zip line which gives you the finale:a spectacular panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean! It was then time to head back to the lodge and have a proper breakfast!
This really was one of the most popular activities on offer at the lodge and it’s easy to see why. Costa Rica has over 830 species of birds and the Osa Peninsula is home to about 400 species of birds. Our guide Marlon drove us further down the main track road from the lodge in an open 4 wheel drive vehicle and introduced us to bird haven! As well as the birds we also experienced a bit of everyday life, seeing the local children on their way to school and farmers going about their daily business.
This is the hike to go on if you don’t mind creepy crawlies. At around sunset you take a hike around the top end of the El Remanso reserve around the pond. Here you are introduced to the night life. At first it is a little scary but you have your guide to follow armed with a torch and told ‘DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING’!!! It really is a once in a lifetime experience and I have to say I did feel a bit braver reflecting on that experience. We managed to spot the very rare glass frog, a scorpion, dragonflies, and numerous frogs.
Now being very hot on wildlife conservation, I am not keen on the idea of swimming with dolphins however it seems the Costa Rican government agrees with my view. It is prohibited to swim with dolphins in the oceans around the country for the safety of these adorably smiley faced creatures. The reason for this is so that bacteria from our skin are not transferred to them causing detrimental disease. Dr C and I were driven to Puerto Jiménez where we boarded a local fishing boat with Captain Ronnie. He is a fantastic ambassador for the region, and extremely knowledgeable about marine life. He was so passionate and made the 4 hour experience one of the best I’ve ever had and it was very difficult to leave.
We literally spent the morning on the Golfo Dolce (sweet gulf) which is one of the 4 tropical fjords around the world, surrounding large varieties of dolphins, whales, rays, whale sharks and sea turtles. We even got to try some fishing and snorkeling at some good points around the gulf that Ronnie recommended.
If these activities don’t tickle your fancy then you can also try waterfall rappelling, horseback riding, kayaking, surfing, tree climbing or find your Zen participating in yoga classes.
There are a number of self-guided activities and walks you can do around the reserve with numerous walking trails to follow and abundant wildlife to scope out. Walking partway down the suspension bridge at 5:30 in the morning will give you the pleasure of witnessing a family of howler monkeys crossing across the canopy. Moments like this are priceless.
From the moment we checked in at El Remanso Lodge, we were told that the reserve had the most beautiful beach in the world. Now a part of me was thinking really?! So we had dedicated our first afternoon at the lodge to hike down the long and extremely steep path to the beach. All down the path there are beautiful viewpoints and wildlife to spot with the sounds of the waves crashing in the background. Then all of a sudden you are there. The waves right in front of you, and you look around and there is no one in sight. The beach is all yours, it’s secluded, private and there are many other surprises as you walk up and down it.
We soon stumbled upon lagoons and numerous waterfalls dotted around the reserve.
There were also some rock pools to cool off in at specific times of the day.
Early on in our stay we were told that there had recently been sightings of a Puma on the beach and around the reserve, so we were extra keen to explore and see if we could catch a glimpse. But we weren’t so lucky even though we did see its’ poo around our cabin!!
We may not have seen the elusive puma however; we did see a baby boa constrictor
El Remanso Lodge
Road from Puerto Jiménez to Carate km 22
Tel: +506 2735 5569
You can book directly through their website at elremanso.com
How did you enjoy those activities? All set up for Part 2 of The Pura Vida Series? Just like that, the 4 night dream wildlife exploration trip came to an end and it was time to move onto our next location. I know this was a really long post so thanks for following if you got this far. I really enjoyed sharing my rainforest stay experience with you and as always I’m always intrigues to know your thoughts, so please drop me a comment below.
Read the next part in The Pura Vida Series…