Costa Rica Tours
Costa Rica tours of the Southern Pacific are perfect for anyone seeking adventure. Here you can discover native cultures, whale watch, sport fish, surf and visit some of the country’s least-known but most rewarding national parks and nature reserves. The highlands are occupied by numerous indigenous communities of Costa Rica, most of whom are very welcoming to visitors. Many of the native Costa Rican tribes offer tours that focus on medicinal plants, cosmology, dance and traditional handcrafts. The Southern Pacific is also home to Finca 6, an incredible national park housing dozens of giant pre-Columbian stone spheres. These enigmatic spheres are arranged in alignment with the movements of the Sun and it is believed that they used to mark seasonal shifts.
Curving out from the country’s south Pacific coast, the Osa Peninsula is the location of Costa Rica’s most prized national park: Corcovado National Park. Cited in National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on earth”, over half of all species living in Costa Rica are found here. The Corcovado National Park’s 105 000 acres are home to at least eight biomes, including the largest primary forest in the American Pacific and one of the world’s last remaining lowland tropical rainforests. While here, trekkers can discover the charming residents of Corcovado, such as jaguars, Scarlet Macaws, Harpy Eagles, Baird’s Tapirs, Two-toed and Three-toed Sloths, and all four Costa Rican primates. Registered visitors are free to hike either an inland trail or a coastal track. Although both routes are best experienced with the aid of a naturalist guide.
Outside the park, each side of the peninsula offers travellers the opportunity to see sea turtles, dolphins, whales, scarlet macaws and monkeys. While those looking for some offshore exploration can test the waters with some sport fishing or surfing.
Lying off the Osa peninsula’s western shore is Isla del Cano Biological Reserve, a site held sacred to the indigenous Diquis people; a pre-Columbian society whose name translates into “Great River”. Encircled by gorgeous coral reefs, schools of rainbow-coloured fish and lobsters, Isla del Cano is an ideal destination for diving and snorkelling.
The best time to visit is January through April, when rains are less frequent and roads are in better condition. From July – November many of parts of Corcovado are closed due to flooding. Travel to the Osa is easiest by air.
Located on a beautiful bay in the northeast corner of the Golfo Dulce, Golfito is a port town favoured by some of the best sport fishing captains in Central America. The Golfo Dulce – the gulf formed by the Osa peninsula – is a first-rate venue for Sailfish (Jan. – April), Marlin (June – Oct.) and Roosterfish (April – Dec.). Full and half-day charters are available, often including some extra time for snorkelling and whale watching.
On the northern shore of the Gulf, and just a short distance from Golfo, lies the Piedras Blancas National Park. Boasting lush rainforest and beautiful beaches, and home to Scarlet Macaws, ocelots, monkeys and toucans, the Piedras Blancas somehow manages to escape the throngs of tourists. This makes it all the more enjoyable for those who do decide to venture a stay in one of the eco-lodges as there is no need to share this incredible park.
Lying along the eastern edge of Golfo Dulce is a coastline frequented by surfers. A particularly choice spot for beaches is Zacundo, located 24 kms southeast of Golfito and boasting a gorgeous black sand beach. Farther south, lies the town of Pavones, home to the second-largest left surf break in the world. With rather gentle waves, Pavones is perfect for beginners, paddle boarder and kite surfers alike.