South Pacific

With the largest prehistoric rainforest along the Central American Pacific, Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula (Peninsula de Osa) is one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse locations on the planet. With few entry points, this jewel of Costa Rica remains relatively isolated, and it receives fewer visitors than many other parts of the country. Miles of uninhabited beach and the enormous Corcovado National Park make this southern tip one of Costa Rica's most stunning regions. Friendly people, amazing flora and fauna, and active rainforests all contribute to the South Pacific experience.

The Best of South Pacific

Drake Bay Costa Rica
Drake Bay

Resting on the northern side of the Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay is an adventure-seeker's paradise. It is named after Sir Francis Drake, who is believed to have ventured here in the late 16th century. Travelers here take on some of his adventurous spirit on treks through the primary rainforest.

Corcovado National Park Costa Rica
Corcovado National Park

The crown jewel of Costa Rica's national park system, Corcovado National Park , is comprised of an enormous 103,290 acres of tropical rainforest. The largest of Costa Rica's parks, it encompasses about a third of the Osa Peninsula and embraces an unbelievable amount of its biodiversity.

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Due to the South Pacific's geographic location, high humidity and rainfall keep its vegetation flourishing year round. The scarcely populated region receives almost 200 inches (508 cm) of rainfall per year, and visitors should get ready to explore some wet and humid terrain!

While the region's valleys were once home to thriving banana plantations, much of the area is covered with dense rainforest, presenting some of the best wildlife-viewing opportunities imaginable. Traveling through the region, visitors can view an abundance of mangroves and estuaries along the coastline. A wealth of rivers supplies the area with amazing biodiversity and excellent white-water rafting, and the region's endless eye-catching views and captivating sunsets ensure for an insurmountable experience.

Costa Rica's South Pacific Region also contains Coco Island (Isla del Coco,) a remote island located 300 mi (480 km) offshore. The island harbors almost 9 mi^2 (24 km^2) of pristine natural wilderness within Coco Island National Park (Parque Nacional Isla del Coco), and research at the Park is dedicated to evolution of local plant, animal, and insect species, many of which are endemic to the area. Excursions to the island can be taken by boat or plane from various launch points on the Osa Peninsula. A trip to Coco Island is perfect for avid scuba divers who wish to marvel at the manta rays, whale sharks, and hammerheads that frequent Coco's beautiful waters.

Back on the mainland, the base of the South Pacific Region lies along the Pan-American Highway, a primary entry route for cars and buses. However, you can also reach the South Pacific by traveling along Highway 34, which runs down the scenic Pacific coast. The important city of Palmar Norte is a main hub for southern Costa Rica. It lies north of the Osa Peninsula, and it is a good 6-hour drive from San Jose. Adjacent to Palmar Norte, sits the tiny domestic airstrip of Palmar Sur, which receives daily flights from San Jose. Many of the main destinations around the Osa Peninsula also have airports. Flights to these airstrips will make the trip faster and more convenient, but it will also be more expensive. Southeast of Palmar Norte, in the small village of Chacarita, you can find a single road (245) that winds its way around the Dulce Gulf (Golfo Dulce). It ends in the isolated town of Carate on the border of Corcovado National Park. Here you will find endless white-sandy beaches in both directions. Carate seems to lie at the very edge of civilization; get ready for a taste of the final frontier!