Traveling around Peninsula de Osa: Part 1

There was so much to do and see at Lapa Rios that I’m going to break this experience into two posts!  Here’s the first half of the exciting week that we spent there…

We started our trip from Manuel Antonio to the Osa Peninsula before noon.  Lapa Rios came to pick us up at Arenas del Mar in their Land Rover and our guide/driver, and now our good friend Roger, took us on the really long drive from the Central Coast to the Osa Peninsula.  Even with the long drive ahead of us, I was pretty excited to make this trip because it was my first time going to the South Pacific so I was really interested to do all this traveling by land and see it up close.

Playa Dominical

Playa Dominical

We first passed by Playa Dominical to check out the beach and the surfing culture in town.  It was my first time there so my first impression of the place was that it is a really small and quiet town in comparison to Tamarindo, but also with really good waves and a nice beach.  Definitely it’s a place where I would like to go and stay a few nights to know it better and see how it is like, and also for sure do some surfing in those fun waves. Chrissy tells me there is a new eco-hotel near there, Kurà, and I hope we can return soon to check it out!

traffic

So from Dominical to Osa we almost went all the way without doing any other stops but then we got into a traffic jam because they were fixing the road.  So we had to stop for like an hour which made the drive quite a bit longer.  Once we passed through the construction and arrived into Puerto Jimenez, we checked in at the main office where they offered us a delicious and refreshing coconut water (right from the coconut!) with a bamboo straw to drink it with.  From there, we went to see the big population of caimans that live in a small river close to the marina.  There were dozens of them in a really small space, as such you can see them fighting for the space.  We could see them pretty close actually and it got scary when one caiman took me by surprise and moved really fast from where he was and really close to where we were standing!  It really was like a NAT GEO scene watching these caimans chase each other; it was a big experience for me definitely. (watch Chrissy’s video on the RCE Facebook page)

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Continuing our way to the hotel we got onto a dirt road in between the mountains and the Gulf.  And that’s where you feel like you are seriously going to be in the middle of nowhere…which is part of the adventure that they want to give you at Lapa Rios, the escape from reality. So driving along this road, the first wildlife that we saw were the macaws eating on some palm trees.  There were a lot of them so we stopped the car to shoot them because it was just spectacular to see them all flying and squawking around.

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Next we drove through several rivers to finally arrive at the hotel. When we got there, Marijke (Lapa Rios’ General Manager) was there waiting for us with all the Lapa Rios team, welcoming us with a cold and delicious drink which I’m learning is a common (and very nice) trait at each of the Cayuga hotels.  She took us on a tour of the property and I saw how it was a really natural place – definitely in the jungle.  There were millions of things to see and watch all the time there!

For our first morning, we went on the starfish tour.  We saw lots of different species of star fish that are around the area.  We even could touch them because they are really docile water animals.  It was a fun tour because we also started to interact with some of the guests that were staying at the hotel.

After the tour, we went to hang out at the pool and it’s amazing all that you can see just being there.  It is like the animals just appear and come to you, but then I realized that happens in every space around the ecolodge, even from your room when you wake up, you will easily see all kinds of monkeys, birds and insects.  It really made it the most wild experience ever in my life.

The next morning was the birdwatching tour.  I realized during the tour that I actually found it more interesting than what I thought it was going to be like at the beginning.  I enjoyed it a lot –  watching all the hundreds of species of birds, especially the most beautiful ones like the macaws and toucans, all kinds of falcons and hawks, even the spider, squirrel and howler monkeys that we saw during the walk.

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Then that night we went for the night walk around the property by some paths that they made around the jungle.  The walk is really exciting because it is at night time so it makes it really wild and interesting to imagine at the beginning what kind of animals you will come across.  I really enjoyed it even though we didn’t see a lot of things that night.  We did see a yellow bird sleeping under some leaves, then we saw some frogs in a little artificial swamp that the Lapa Rios guides built to make them come and stay there, so there would be lots around the property to study and show to the guests.  We even saw some frog eggs hanging on a leaf which looked really cool and we took some good pictures of it.  After that, other things that we saw were a Kinkajou, some small snakes, a funny mouse sitting on a branch, one young tarantula that was in its cave and lot of different insects.  I think this is the best hike around the area you can try!

The following day we did the Waterfalls hike and you mostly walk through the jungle to a river passing by several really cool waterfalls where you can even take a swim and jump into one of them which was really fun to do.  The water is so clean and fresh that you will want to stay there for awhile.

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To be continued…

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Kevin