We have chosen the amazing and remote Osa Peninsula as our base in Costa Rica. Believe us, we don't make our decisions lightly - The Osa is magical. Truly one of the most spectacular tropical environments in the world, this unique location is the best place to experience what Costa Rica has to offer. With vast rainforests that shelter Costa Rica's largest remaining population of jaguars and tapirs, the Osa is the gateway to the Golfo Dulce, a pristine marine paradise teeming with sea life. We will explore it all. Venture under the forest canopy, SUP the dazzling waters of the gulf, and just chill on the beach.
The Osa Beach House is one of a kind in the Osa Pennisula. It’s on a very secluded beach next to islands, estuaries, and Golfo Dulce. Beach access is right in front of the house. Garden trees are hosts of macaws and monkeys in different hours of the day. There are two balconies in the house that look out directly into the Golf. Our boards are kept at the house ready to be used any time.
First level: Garden, parking, laundry and equipment storage.
Second level: large wraparound balcony with two hammocks and tables and chairs, big living room, large kitchen, one shared bathroom, one bedroom with queen bed and private bath, one bed room with queen bed.
Third level: small balcony with two hammocks, large open floor loft with 4 single beds and two bedrooms each equipped with a single bed and two bunk beds with full size mattresses.
The house can fit 14 total but 8-10 is comfortable with the number of bathrooms available.
Our wonderful host Maria lives in a small studio next to the Osa Beach House. She’s the owner of a local café right next to the airport. She’s literally the most knowledgeable guide around town. She’s also a kayaker and paddler. If you are interested in learning how to fish – she’s your best resource to for kayak fishing. I have a picture of her getting a 30 pound dorado out of her fishing kayak.
From the Osa Beach House, there are a number of paddles that we can do.
Mangrove Tour – during mid or high tide, we can go explore the mangroves. There’s is a wide estuary between one of the islands and the mainland. The estuary comes from one of the winding rivers of the Osa and meets the gulf. The water is partially freshwater and partially salt water and can be very clear during midday. Jungle wildlife viewing is amazing in the mangroves during dawn and dust.
Gulf Tour – Golfo Dulce is x miles wide by x miles long. It is one of the deepest golfs in North and Central America. We can explore the Golf Coast towards the pacific for x miles. There are numerous beaches on the way. Just a mile from the beach, we have spotted two different kinds of dolphins and whales in the golf.
Boat Tour – We have access to a tug boat as well as a catamaran that can take us to various parts of the golf and pacific coast. Boat tours are more flexible and convenient than driving with our boards on a van on dirt roads. Our boats can take as many as 12 boards and have snorkeling gear on board. We will do two boat trips during the week.
Snorkeling – Snorkeling is part of the boat tours. Our boats have snorkel gear but it’s not guaranteed that you’ll have the right size flippers or snorkels goggles. If you like snorkeling as much as me, you should bring your own equipment.
PaddleFit – If people are into it, we can run paddle fit sessions on the beach. It’s super fun!
Private lessons – If you’re interested in improving your paddling skills, we can do some private lessons either early morning or during one of the free days. Private lessons are half off for team members $60 per lesson (typically $120). We can do video analysis and go in-depth on how to you can improve forward or turning strokes.
Jungle Walk and Waterfall Hike– Just 45 minutes drive from the Osa Beach House is the national park of Corcovado. We can do a one hour walk on the edge of the park and see just as much wildlife as you can see inside of the park. The beach walk is amazing too with almost no one on the beach. On the way to the jungle, we’ll stop by several beaches and cafes. On our way back from the jungle, we’ll take a one hour hike into the mountains to explore a waterfall. The freshwater will wash away the salt and sweat.
Chocolate Farm – Who doesn’t want to go to a chocolate farm? A short tour to the farm includes agricultural walks with exploring different kinds of plants, wildlife viewing, learning how to make chocolate from the cocoa plant, chocolate facials and of course eating chocolate! This tour is not included in the family and friend's pricing.
Friday Night Party – We usually go to a local favorite bar/restaurant near all the yoga lodges for Friday night festivities. The bar serves organic and local foods and delicious drinks. DJ music goes late into the night. All the local artisans are there as well if you’re looking for gifts.
Surfing & SUP Surfing – Please note that surfing and SUP Surfing is not officially part of the trip. If you're interested in this activity please email Mike directly and we can discuss how to fit your needs. Although surfing is not the main reason that we go to the Osa, it is certainly one of the best places in the world for surfing and SUP surfing. The world’s second-longest left is on the other side of the golf. One of the world’s premier a-frame breaks is near the national park. There are also a couple beginner/intermediate friendly waves between the Osa Beach House and the National Park. The surf spots in the Osa are generally intermediate in nature with reef and rocky beaches, it is unlike the more popular spots in Jaco or the Nacoya Pennisula with sandy beach breaks. If you’re interested in SUP Surfing or surfing, it is advisable that you learn how to surf starting September/October time so that you are prepared for the challenge. On one of the boat tours, we will go explore the rough pacific coast and check out Pavones. We can also drop folks off at a surf spot during jungle day or get a taxi for you on other days. In terms of boards, we have inflatable RedPaddle 9’2 SUP surf boards in the fleet they are excellent for beginners and can do very good turns in 1-4 feet conditions. Booking surf lessons with a surf school are not part of the trip and it’s an extra expense.
Getting to the Osa is easier than ever – although it is still a longer trek than other locations in Costa Rica. The reward is that there are hardly any crowds in the area, it is truly a wilderness experience with modern amenities.
Flight Recommendation: Getting there leave on Feb 15 (Saturday) for a flight from the US to San Jose, Costa Rica; stay by the airport on the evening of Feb 15 (Saturday); on the morning of Feb 16 (Sunday) take a flight from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez where our trip starts.
Flight Recommendation: Coming back leave on Feb 21st (Friday) in the afternoon for a flight from Puerto Jimenez to San Jose; stay the night by the airport on the night of Feb 21st (Friday); take the next morning flight back to the US on Feb 22nd (Saturday). This way you still have all day Sunday to recuperate and be ready for work.
Flight to San Jose- There are daily flights from the bay area to the capital of Costa Rica – San Jose. It usually take between 5 and 7 hours to get there depending on your flight. Purchase your flight early and you reap the reward of not having to spend the whole day traveling and stopping at 3 different layovers.
San Jose Airport -Once you get to San Jose, if your flight is earlier in the day you can book a one-hour jumper flight directly to Puerto Jimenez. If you’re like me and like to take it slow or your flight arrives later in the day you can book a local hotel next to airport. Then take a flight to Puerto Jimenez the next day. Uber is very prevalent and cheap in San Jose, pick up is available at the airport. The official red taxis are a little more expensive but if you’re a woman or traveling alone, we recommend that you take the taxi to and from the airport to your hotel.
Cash Exchange at San Jose Airport - You can get cash at the San Jose Airport but you will get a bad rate if you exchange right out of the arrival gate. It's a total tourist trap. Simply walk upstairs to arrival and find a bank or ATM - rates are standard without additional fees. We recommend that you change $200 to $300 at the airport and that should be plenty for one week in Costa Rica on our trips for incidentals, meals, and souvenirs. There are ATMs and Banks in Puerto Jimenez as well, but it's just a lot more convenient if you have the money and just concentrate on having fun once you get to Puerto!
Places to stay near San Jose Airport-
There are many places to stay around San Jose Airport but a good number of them that are cheap are not very nice to stay in (unsafe area, nearby a busy highway, bad beds, etc...). Here are two that we've found that are safe, good value and convenient.
American Style Hotels
Courtyard by Marriott - Literally next to the airport, good shuttle from the hotel every 15 minutes.
Holiday Inn Express - Also a few minutes from the airport with good shuttles as well.
Costa Rican Style Guest House
Hotel Casa Primo CR - Great little house in a secure neighborhood, awesome place to start your journey. This place is about 10 minutes from the airport.
Getting to Puerto Jimenez by air–As mentioned before you can book a one hour flight to Puerto Jimenez from San Jose Airport. Please note that the domestic flights to Puerto Jimenez is not at the international airport in which you arrive. It can be in the small airport next to the international airport (10-minute walk) or another small airport about 15 minutes away by car. So you need to leave at least 2 hours between the two flights. If there are any delays with either of your flights, which is quite likely in Central America, it is going to be tough to get on another flight. This is why we recommend that you spend a night by the airport and go on the flight the next day. Domestic flights also overbook at times and they tend to push customers to the next flight during the day so booking an early jumper flight will decrease your chance of the airline delaying your arrival.
Please note that Nature Air is no longer in business. Do not buy a ticket from them.
Sansa Airline has daily flights to Puerto Jimenez: https://booknow.flysansa.com/select
Skyway Airline has daily flights to Puerto Jimenez: https://skywaycr.com/
Getting to Puerto Jimenez by car –This is by far the better way to see the country and get to know Costa Rica. You hire a car to get to Puerto Jimenez. It is the same price as a flight and you get to stop beautiful sites along the way. With no traffic, you can get to Puerto Jimenez in less than 6 hours. The road is all highway! Places to stop along the way: Jaco, etc… We can help you arrange a car to get to Puerto Jimenez. Typically four people can share a large SUV and driver and pay between $400 and $500.
Getting around in Puerto Jimenez –we have bikes at the Osa Beach house. The town is small enough to take the bike and see everything. Walking is pretty easy as well along the marina and downtown. We’ll have a rental van at the house for our excursions and will take daily trips to town.
Breakfast will be prepared and served by one of our hired chefs so no one has to get up early to make breakfast. Maria helps us with the food buying so we can let her know what we would prefer. Food buys are cheaper across the border in Panama so if we give her ample notice we can save some money. Typical Costa Rican breakfast includes: strong coffee, eggs, tortillas, beans, tropical fruits, juice, and some kind of meat. There’s usually so much food that we end up making burritos to go for lunch.
We can do our own shopping to make lunch. Sandwiches, salads, fruits are all good options. If we are short on time, Maria’s café makes to go burritos that we can heat up in the oven.
A couple of nights of the week we will cook at the house. It’s a group effort potluck style dinner. Three nights of the week we will go out for dinner. There are two restaurants within walking distance that have excellent fresh seafood caught by local fishermen. (Dinners are not included)
Groceries and Snacks
There are two large grocery stores in town similar to a Safeway with a Central American twist. Puerto Jimenez, although remote but being close to Panama has a lot of products that we didn’t expect they would have. Oddly they have a large selection of Asian and Central American products. Local produce is much cheaper and fresher than foreign produce. There’s a bakery, a butcher, and lots of refrigerated drinks and food. On Saturdays there’s a DJ at the grocery store also.
One thing to note is not to buy too much food – we already have breakfast made and typically there’s a lot of leftovers. Since we’re only there for a week, it is best not to over shop and leave a lot of food to waste.
We’re in the jungle baby! Even though Puerto Jimenez is a modern town, it is really part of the jungle. For those of you who have not been in a real tropical jungle and marine environment, we are at the mercy of nature: materials decay much faster; things stay wet longer; there are a lot of insects. Please make sure that you bring DEET for bug spray, the natural stuff is just not going to work against tropical pests.
A few notable mentions:
-Zika Virus: Zika Virus is a risk in Costa Rica, especially for pregnant women. Please check the CDC website for more information. https://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html
· Dust: During the dry season the dirt roads around Puerto Jimenez get very dusty. Those of you who are allergic to dust be aware – it will kick up your immune system.
· Mold: There’s mold everywhere in the jungle. Materials stay wet and ACs often have mold inside. Those of you who are allergic to mold, we recommend that you sleep in the open loft (no AC) as there’s plenty of ventilation.
· Big fire ants: these guys really sting and they last for a while. There’s nothing you can do about preventing it from happen other than be really watchful and wear shoes not open sandals.
· No-see-ums: Unfortunately some of the most beautiful beaches have no-see-ums and there are a lot of them. Don’t hang out on the edge of the water too long or they will find you. Bug repellent is very effective.
· Mosquitos: you know what to do about those. They are around more dust and dawn.
· Dogs and cats: Although there are a lot of dogs and cats that look like strays, most of them actually belong to someone. It is just the Tico way to let them roam around town. There is an animal rescue center in the town as well and they do as much as they can. Watch out for fleas if you’re going to pet them.
· Fleas: If you’re an animal lover as I am, it is very difficult to resist these lovable creatures. Unfortunately, the fleas will get on you and into your luggage. Bug spray and flea collars are helpful. Make sure you leave your clothes outside and wash your clothes in hot water as soon as you get home. I would also give your luggage a generous flea spray before you bring it inside of your home.