The Osa Peninsula (Spanish: Península de Osa) is a peninsula located in southwestern Costa Rica, in the Puntarenas Province, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Golfo Dulce to the east.
The peninsula is home to at least half of all species living in Costa Rica. The main town on the peninsula is Puerto Jimenez, which has its own airport and provides access to Corcovado National Park as well as the coastal villages of Cabo Matapalo and Carate.
Before You Travel
A visa to travel for Costa Rica is not required unless you are planning to stay longer than three months. All Canadian, US and EU citizens who travel to Costa Rica for tourism and pleasure purposes need a valid passport. Make sure your passport is at least 6 months valid from the time you enter Costa Rica.
When you leave Costa Rica you will have to pay a departure tax of $29 USD. It must be paid at Juan Santamaria International Airport before goin through airport security. The tax is payable in either colones, U.S. dollars, or with Visa/Mastercard.
You do not need any shots or vaccines before visiting Costa Rica.
Costa Rican customs and immigrations requires you to show proof of return as you enter Costa Rica. You will most likely be asked to show your return flight ticket, or some kind of outward bound ticket what shows you have plans to exit the country.
Customs and Immigration
When arriving in Costa Rica, you will have to clear Customs and Immigration and will be required to fill out separate forms which are generally given to you on your plane. You will be asked where you are staying in Costa Rica.
You are not allowed to bring any fruit or vegetable inside Costa Rica. All your bags will have to go through a scanner at customs, so if you have food plane make sure you consume/dispose of it beforehand.
Flying into Costa Rica
You will need to fly into Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) first.
The average cost for flights from the U.S. is:
Los Angeles-CR $500
San Francisco- CR $700
New York- CR $800
Be sure to check SkyScanner to see all the combinations of flights that are available for you out there.
Besides the more commonly known airlines such as JetBlue, American Airlines, Spirit, Frontier United and Delta, don’t forget to check Avianca, Aeromexico, and Copa Airlines.
*If you are flying from a less travelled place, i.e. North Carolina, Washington State etc. You will most likely have to lay over in Texas, Colorado, California or Florida.
If the flights seem too complicated you might want to consider an overnight layover in one of those cities, but generally speaking flying from Miami, Huston or Los Angeles will always give the best rates.
Flying into the Osa Peninsula
Once you’ve made it to San Jose, the fastest way to the Osa Peninsula is through a “puddle jumper” flight.
A flight from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez takes approximately 45 minutes. The views are stunning and flying the 15 seater plane is nothing short of a thrill. The two main airlines you can fly with are Nature Air and Sansa Airlines.
Flight cost can vary depending on the season and availability, but they generally range from $80-$180.
Both of these air-carriers offer numerous flights daily from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez, but there are no late afternoon or evening flights with either air-carrier. The last flight into Jimenez is at approximately 3pm in the afternoon in the high season, and in the green season is usually around 12pm.
Visitors arriving in San Jose in the late afternoon or evening should take this into consideration.(see below for SJ reccos)
Luggage: For the smaller planes, there usually is a 25-pound baggage limit (including carry-ons). Baggage over 25 pounds will incur a surcharge, so pack light!
*Note that you might sometimes be able to fly from San Jose to Golfito instead of Puerto Jimenez. Check below for ferry details on how to easily get over to Puerto Jimenez.
Driving to the Osa Peninsula
Driving to Blue Osa from San Jose is a great way to experience Costa Rica.
Renting 4 wheel drive vehicles is highly recommended when going to the Osa.The drive from San Jose to the Osa is approximately 6-8 hours.
Recommended car rental companies are – Solid Rent a Car and Toyota.
On the drive down, be sure to check the Crocodile Bridge in Jaco, grab lunch at Rustico also in Jeco or stop for a smoothie in Playa Hermosa and then catch a glimpse of the beach in Dominical.
Bussing to the Osa Peninsula
Traveling by bus is the longer, more adventurous way. It cost about $15 and takes about 8 hours. Buses from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez depart daily roughly around 6am and 12pm from the San Isidro de El General bus station. Buses from Puerto Jimenez to San Jose leave from the peach colored bus station in town at 4am and 12pm.
The Tracopa Bus 612 from Terminal Alfaro to Golfito can also be taken, which takes about 8 hours and leaves at 7am and 3pm.
If you find yourself in Golfito because you got there by bus or plane, you can easlily make your way to Puerto Jimenez by ferry. The ferry from Golfito to Puerto Jimenez takes about an hour and a half and runs twice daily. Schedule is random and subject to change. Price $4.There are also fast ferries available that can do the trip in about 30 minutes, the cost is $6. The schedule can change. More details here.
PUERTO JIMÈNEZ from Golfito by boat – DEPARTURE: Daily, from Municipal Dock (Muelle) at 11:00; RETURN: 6:00; 1:30 hrs. Office tel. 2735-5036.
Colones are the official currency of Costa Rica, although U.S. dollars are accepted pretty much everywhere. Most businesses happily accept U.S. dollars (however, expect your change to be in colones). The current rate of exchange fluctuates around 500 colones for every 1 US dollar.
Where to Stay in San Jose
Hotel Los Volcanes
Located in Alajuela, (which is where the airport is) Is an affordable, cute hotel that is closely located to the airport and offers airport transfers included in the price.
Colours Oasis Resort
San José’s premier full-service boutique hotel, its atmosphere is warm and inviting to everyone. Strategically located, conveniently less than -15 minutes from San José’s business and cultural districts, airports and other popular neighborhoods on the west side.
Casa Bella Rita Boutique Bed & Breakfast
Located outside the city of San Jose with a little more style offers a tranquil place away from the city.
Melrost Bed & Breakfast
5 minutes from the airport with a free shuttle, wifi, hot water and great service. The owner Omar is from Puerto Jimenez and is available to run errands and help with translations.
Where to Eat in San Jose
ESQUINAS DE BUENAS AIRES
For Argentinian steak, sangria and empanadas.
Calle 11 esquina Avenida 4
Thai and Southeast Asian Cuisine
Calle 11 y Avenidas 6 y 8
Avenida Escazu – Centro Comercial | IMAX theater building, Escazu, Costa Rica
Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica, although English is widely understood.
When to Visit
Costa Rica is a tropical country with twelve micro-climates and three different rainfall regimes. There are two well defined seasons: the rainy/green season (invierno) and the dry/summer season (verano), with one main difference between them: rainfall averages.
Dry season runs from December to April and the green season from May to November. Come May the temperatures will drop slightly and the nighttimes become much more refreshing.
Rainfall averages for the country may reach the highest point during the months of September and October. As many will attest, the Osa Peninsula is extremely lush and green, and the cooler climate sets it apart from the dryer, dustier rest of Costa Rica (especially the north). So really, every time is a good time to visit.