Guaria de Osa, Rainforest Ocean Discovery Centre and Enthnobotanical Gardens

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The Osa Peninsula

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Costa Rica


Note: Guaria de Osa Retreat Centre is just a 15 minute walk on the beach from San Josecito de Drake. To locate Guaria de Osa from other directions, it is a 2 hour walk south of Drake Bay or a 1 1/2 hour walk from the Corcovado National Park.

An excerpt by Alexander del Sol
author of The Southern Costa Rica Guide

The world-famous Osa Peninsula, one of the most bio-diverse places on the entire planet, has been described as "the most biologically intense place on Earth" by no less an authority than National Geographic. The main feature of the Osa is the 42,000 hectare Corcovado National Park, home to almost 400 species of birds, 140 species of mammals, 116 species of amphibians and reptiles, over 500 species of trees and more than 6,000 species of insects. The park protects endangered species such as the jaguar, puma, crocodile, tapir, poison dart and golden frogs, and the harpy eagle. The beaches of the Osa are also major nesting sites for several varieties of sea turtles. If you want to really experience a lowland tropical rainforest in its most pristine and natural state, yet also enjoy the tropical beach environment, the Osa Peninsula awaits you.


This small river town on the picturesque Rio Sierpe is the entry point to the extensive wetlands of the lower Diquis Valley and Delta of Terraba, the largest mangrove reserve in Central America. Towering mangrove trees line the banks of the Sierpe River and its tributaries as it meanders its way out to the Pacific Ocean, where it empties into the sea just a few miles north of Drake Bay and the Osa Peninsula. The Sierpe River and its environs house crocodiles, caimans, monkeys, and hundreds of species of birds, including rare varieties of tanager, heron, trogon, kingfisher, etc. There is also fantastic fishing throughout the year. The town has a general store, public telephones, and several boat docks.

Drake Bay

Named after Sir Francis Drake, who once moored here for a spell and, as legend has it, buried a rich treasure somewhere along the coast in the area, this wide bay and the coastline to its south on the Pacific is one of the most picturesque spots in Costa Rica, where lush lowland Rainforest flows down verdant mountainsides to meet the warm, rolling surf of the Pacific Ocean. The bay itself lies at the base of the base of the Osa Peninsula, home of the world-famous Corcovado National Park. A Guyami Indian Reservation is located on the border of Corcovado, with its own primary Rainforest and handicrafts for sale, though it's quite a trek to the tiny village and you really need a guide. Caño Island, a land and marine biological reserve famous for pre-Columbian spheres, world class diving, and excellent sport fishing, can be seen from the shore. The traditional way to get there is by water from the town of Sierpe [which means 'serpent']. The trip down the Sierpe River is breathtaking as it meanders its way towards the Pacific among giant mangrove forests.

The east side of the Osa Peninsula is bordered by the Golfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf), an incredible marine paradise where humpback whales, whale sharks, three species of dolphins, and schools of tuna come to breed and play. The unique ecosystem here provides an ideal environment for aquatic mammals..... Whether you visit Drake Bay on its northern base, Corcovado National Park in its heart, the gulf and Pacific coastlines around its southern end, or a combination of all these exciting and picturesque areas, the exhilarating beauty and energy of the Osa will leave an indelible impression upon your psyche.

The Osa Peninsula is the most southern zone of Costa Rica (known as the 'Southern Pacific Zone') as the Atlantic coastal areas of Costa Rica (far to the northeast and geographically isolated) are not considered part of this region. Most people simply call it the 'Southern Zone,' (or the Osa Peninsula) claimed by many to be the most beautiful spot on this planet. With one of the last great stands of unspoiled primary Rainforest in Central America, its deep, sweet gulf teeming with abundant aquatic life, scenic cascading rivers and waterfalls, and one of the highest levels of bio-diversity in the entire world, this often overlooked region of the country is a treasure trove of experiences for the nature and adventure traveler. This is where 'the rubber meets the road' in regards to issues such as bio-diversity, sustainable development, and environmentalism, and where individuals such as yourself, even as a visitor, can really make an impact. Verdant mountain peaks rise up out of forested valleys as clear sparkling streams tumble down from the heights. Farmland, pasture and rainforest blend with giant mangrove swamps, where both the fishing and bird watching are unparalleled anywhere. Over 60% of the land is covered by Rainforest, and this region is home to the largest concentrations of indigenous peoples in the country. This area is by far the most bio-diverse in the country, and Costa Rica is one of the most bio-diverse countries on the planet, with over 5% of the known species of life forms on Earth. There are four national parks and a national reserve, plus many private reserves and wildlife refuges. The Osa Peninsula is situated between the Talamanca Mountain Range and the Pacific Ocean, and stretches from San Isidro and Dominical in the north to Punta Burica and Panama in the south. It covers a vast array of complex tropical ecosystems from lowland wet forests and mangrove swamps to ridge top cloud forests and rocky highlands."

More on The Osa Peninsula
An excerpt by Jeff Lantz

Read Full Text at

Much of the Osa Peninsula is still without electricity. The population of the entire area is about 5,000 people with approximately 100 foreigners, mostly Americans, living on the Osa at least part of the year. For those of us that live here, the Osa is what Costa Rica is all about. Not only in terms of landscape and outdoor adventure, but also the culture and the Costa Rican people.

The Osa's unique bio-diversity is made up of eight different habitats including cloud forest and the largest and most exuberant lowland wet tropical forest remaining in all of Pacific Central America. Species density and geographical location make it totally unique. The Osa is home to Corcovado National Park, the crown jewel of Costa Rica's National Park System and habitat where many endangered animal and plant species still thrive. The largest trees in Costa Rica are found in the forests of the Osa. Corcovado and the surrounding area has been called one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth by none other than National Geographic. Truly a paradise, it is a place where jaguars still roam the jungles, Scarlet Macaws fly freely around the towns, and monkeys are found in numbers unmatched in all of Costa Rica and most of Central America. Non "mainstream" travelers have discovered this previously little known, rugged paradise and come from around the world to experience the "wild side" of Costa Rica and sample some of the world class fishing, surfing and exploring. The Osa Peninsula is unquestionably Costa Rica's best kept 'secret'! A naturalist's paradise and an outdoor adventurer's dream, Outside Magazine calls it... "The last best peninsula!"

Bugs: There is an incredible variety of insects in Costa Rica. Over 10,000 species right here in the Osa. However, all the hype about the bothersome types like mosquitoes is quite overrated. It is surprising to most people that they don't encounter massive swarms of these insects like they do in many parts of the Midwestern United States. Snakes and lizards are also plentiful but you don't see the majority of them unless you are out in the Rainforest at night or disturbing their hiding places in the daytime.

Climate: How's the weather? Warm all year, of course... it's the tropics! However being a peninsula of land surrounded by water creates a more favorable climate - more so than south Florida (United States), for example. The land in the Osa Peninsula is green year-round with December through April being Costa Rica's "summer." Daytime temperatures are usually in the 90's with little or no rain. The rainy season starts around May or June in the form of afternoon showers or rain at night. This weather pattern continues until September and the month of October is when the heavy rains begin. Daytime temperatures during the rainy season are normally in the 70's and 80's but can dip into the "chilling" 60's at times. Be reassured, that even in the rainy season, there is sun and one can still get a tan. An important point is that Costa Rica is not located in the hurricane belt. Some hurricanes will pass as far south as Honduras and on occasion, Nicaragua. At times, we may experience the affects of these catastrophic storms but only in the form of rain and moderate winds.

Why is the Osa Peninsula so special?

The Osa Peninsula remains Costa Rica’s last wild frontier even twenty-five years after its first national park — Corcovado — was created in the peninsula. The Osa Peninsula is also called “The Little Amazon” of Costa Rica. With pristine beaches and virgin forest, the Osa Peninsula is described by National Geographic as “The most biologically intense place on Earth.” Without a doubt, the most unique area in all of Costa Rica, the Osa is a place where Jaguars still roam the jungle and Scarlet Macaws fly around in the towns and where campesinos from the mountains still ride a horse — something you will rarely see anywhere else in the country.

The Osa is not for everyone.....

You will not find big hotels, condos, or large development projects here. If that's what you are looking for, there are other places in Costa Rica to visit. However, if you are looking for a close encounter with raw Nature, both land and sea, and it excites you thinking about being in beautiful rural settings not overrun by foreigners, small town life, real Costa Rican culture, where campesinos from the mountains still ride a horse to town, operating on solar energy, getting your water from a well or mountain spring.....then do come to visit Guaria de Osa in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica!

rainforest - paradise beaches - bird watching - scuba diving - surfing - ethno botanical gardens - yoga
massage - trekking - chi gong - meditation - tai chi - rainforest projects - original architecture