Notes and tips on planning a trip to Osa/Corcovado

If you think you can do it on your own and have a group, give yourself a solid non-weekend, during normal bank business hours day to get the passes from the office in Puerto Jimenez. I know it sucks because you’re already “wasting” two days in travel to get to the peninsula and back, but that’s how it works. If you know Spanish, you can try and call the office ahead of time and wire the money to the bank. But really plan on one scratch day to coordinate everything. Maybe go kayaking in the mangroves in the afternoon. Have a nice meal on the water. Chill out.

If you’re looking for a guide, I recommend the two that helped me:



If you’re into hiking, you need to get into the park. It’s a requirement. No excuses. Just make sure you read up on everything, like the rules.

If you’re into backpacking, I super recommend the 3-day hike I couldn’t do: figure out how to get to Los Patos (the main road, of course, goes nowhere near it, most people seem to take a cab to the nearest town and hike in), hike in to La Sirena, spend a full day at La Sirena, and hike out to La Leona, and then hike to Carate to catch the Collectivo back into town.

If you have two days, I recommend doing what I did: bite the bullet to fly in, spend a whole day at La Sirena where all the animals are, and hike out to La Leona/Carate.

If you have one day, La Leona/Carate might still be totally worth it. That was one of my favorite sections. But it’s such a pain in the ass to get a pass, I’m not sure that end of the time investment is worth it. Matapolo – with waterfalls and dolphins and lots of cool wildlife is also totally worth a look – and I’m upset I didn’t make there myself.

Here is the best map I could find. Can you feel my frustration? Especially because I love maps. I’m a map nerd. In the day and age of Google Maps and GIS, this is a pretty sad thing, with edits in what look like Paint. But, it’s better than nothing.

If you’re a normal, pampered American, there’s some nice, waterfront lodges at La Leona. Or, Drake Bay has a bunch of resorts and offers daily boat rides to La Sirena.

The tour company, Osa Wild, is worth a look: they come highly recommended by the local as being both sustainable and locally minded. If you want to meet some of the more indigenous people, they can take you there.

The Corner Hostel is the perfect place for backpackers to meet up and hike in/or relax after getting out. It’s two blocks from the bus station and across the street from where the Collectivo will pick you up and drop you off. As far as I could tell coming in, it doesn’t really have an online profile or way to book ahead of time. But it will probably have a bed available. It also has locked storage for the extra crap you don’t want to hike in with and laundry services for the dirty crap you hike out with.

The Jungle hostel is nice if you want to be in immersed in the jungle, but aren’t too concerned with having access to the town.

There are a ton of waterfront hotels if you’re in more of a middle price range (vs my backpacker price range). They are almost never booked if you’re ok with getting here and wandering around until you find something. Most of these places haven’t found the internet yet. Be prepared for cold showers and minimal wifi, no matter where you are. Not that neither exists, just don’t get your hopes up, and you won’t be disappointed.

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