Getting To Cabo Matapalo, Osa Peninsula Costa Rica

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Location

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 (PJM) and provides access to Corcovado National Park as well as the coastal villages of Cabo Matapalo and Carate.

Before You Travel

Passport

A visa to travel for Costa Rica is not required unless you are planning to stay longer than three months. You will need a valid passport valid at least 6 months valid from the time you enter Costa Rica.

Return Flight

At passport control, you might be asked to show your return tickets as proof of exiting the country so be sure to have your return flight handy on your phone or have a paper print-out.

Vaccinations

People traveling to Costa Rica from countries considered at risk of yellow fever must get the vaccine at least 10 days prior to entering Costa Rica. The areas labeled as risk for yellow fever are: Sub-Saharan Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

You are not required to have a Yellow Fever vaccine to enter Costa Rica from the United States, Canada or Europe or if you have stayed more than 10 days in a country that is not at risk.

Costa Rica residents or citizens are not be required to have the yellow fever vaccine.

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 can write “Osa Clandestina, Matapalo”

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.

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Transportation

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:

Miami-CR $300/$400

Los Angeles-CR $500

San Francisco- CR $700

New York- CR $800

Be sure to check SkyScanner or Google Flights 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.

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 Sansa Airlines, Skyway and Aerobell.

Flight cost can vary depending on the season and availability, but they generally range from $100-$180 one way.

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 4pm in the afternoon in the high season and 12pm in the green season.

Visitors arriving in San Jose in the late afternoon or evening should take this into consideration. (see below for SJ reccos on where to stay the night)

Luggage: For smaller planes, there usually is a 25-pound baggage limit (including carry-ons). Baggage over 25 pounds will incur a 1.5$ per pound surcharge.

*Note that you might sometimes be able to fly from San Jose to Golfito instead of Puerto Jimenez and then take the ferry to get over to Puerto Jimenez.

 

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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 hours.

If you are thinking of driving one way and flying back up the other way, the recommended car rental companies are Solid or Alamo as they are the only two ones who have an office in Puerto Jimenez. Otherwise any rental car agencies are good.

On the drive down, be sure to check the Tarcoles Bridge in Jaco where you can see lots of crocodiles, grab lunch at Bowie’s Point in Jaco or stop for a smoothie and catch a glimpse of the beach in Dominical.

 

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Currency

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 620 colones for every 1 US dollar.

Where to Stay in San Jose

Hampton Inn Hotel

Located in Alajuela literally five minutes from the airport, this clean and comfortable hotel offers a free shuttle to/from the airport as well as a complimentary continental breakfast. It’s the perfect place where to stay when you’re just commuting in and out of the capital and don’t have a lot of extra time.

Hotel Buena Vista

Located in the tranquil mountains about 30 minutes from the airport, this hotel, which offers a free shuttle and breakfast, features a lovely garden to rest and relax and  friendly staff. 

Xandari

A charming, interestingly and eclectically decorated hotel, Xandari is strategically located conveniently less than -15 minutes from the airport and it features three pools, trails leading up to a waterfall and stunning views. There is also a renowned restaurant on site with lovely views. Stay here if you have some time to enjoy.

Asclepios 

Are you in the mood for some R&R? Asclepios (honoring the Greek God of Health) is located in Alajuela, Costa Rica and offers a regulated ionized swimming pool, amphitheatre, fitness center, exercise pavilion, sauna, hammam, nature paths, 6 treatment lodges and a relaxation room. They are located on the edge of a tropical forest with views of the surrounding sugar cane and coffee plantations, mountains and volcanoes.

 

Language

Although English is widely understood, Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica,

Weather / 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 green season and the summer season, 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 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.

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Photo Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

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