The northern Osa starts at the village of Sierpe, continues west along the Río Sierpe and the Sierpe Delta and south along the Pacific Coast to Corcovado Park. In general, the forest to the south of the Río Sierpe is contiguous throughout the region thereby allowing for the flora and fauna to be very robust: "… the most biologically diverse location on earth" – National Geographic.  Osa is translated as “bear” and the peninsula is so named because of the three types of “ant bears”, or anteaters, which inhabit the Península.  

The village of Sierpe is 15km west of the Inter American Highway and airport at Palmar. The village has docking facilities for lodge and charter boats and serves as the primary entry and transfer point of the northern Osa. Directly adjacent lodges use a landing strip at Drake Bay for guests seeking the challenge of small aircraft landing and departures over the ocean. There is also a four wheel drive trail, used for lumbering and poaching among other activities, which connects Drake Bay with the eastern Osa village of Rincon.

Boating westward down the Río Sierpe is a rewarding experience: crocodiles, caimans, monkeys (howler, white-faced and squirrel), sloths, boa constrictors, parrots and many other birds and animals can be seen from the boat within a 10km area near Sierpe. Beyond 10 km the river broadens and the terrain is mainly the mangrove of the Sierpe/Térraba Mangrove Reserve (more than 80,000 acres).

The Sierpe Delta and Boca Sierpe (mouth of river into ocean) encompass the last 6km prior to the ocean. In this region of river there are mangroves and Violin Island. (years ago during the “gold rush”, nuggets of 2-4 kilos were found on island) to the north and substantial hills of primary forest of the south. Crocodiles, Olive Ridley sea turtles, manta rays and many types of water birds can be seen in this area.

Several kilometers to the south of Boca Sierpe is the area of Drake Bay, originally an area of small farms; now an area with 35+ hotels, lodges, etc. In general, there are lodges, cabins, etc, scattered along the coast from Drake Bay south to the Corcovado Park.

Beaches for swimming and snorkeling  are located at Caño Island, San Josecito Beach and around Violin Island, especially  on the north side (Guarumal Bay).


With "package" reservations, lodges arrange round-trip transfers from Palmar or Sierpe for tourists arriving by public or private bus, rental car or airplane at Palmar Sur and total costs for these all-inclusive packages are fully known. Alternatively, travelers can arrange transfers, lodging, meals, guides, excursions, etc. as needed:

Taxis and public buses are available from Palmar to Sierpe. Taxis for four passengers or less should be $15 (or less). Subsequently, boat taxis are available at Sierpe docks until approximately mid-day with per person rates of $10 - $20 depending on destination. Late arrivals can arrange charter boats to lodges for $100 or more.

Tourists arriving late in day may overnight in Sierpe or Palmar (less expensive and greater variety of accommodations and restaurants)--neither location is known for cultural or natural attractions.

Charter boats from the village of Sierpe to Caño Island or the Corcovado area should leave in early morning to minimize travel time penalty. Boat travel times (each way) range from 1.5 - 2 hours (boat travel times from lodges to Caño or Corcovado are 30 minutes to one hour). Asking prices for charter boats range upward from $75 per person.

Lodges normally have guests at Caño or Corcovado 1-2 hours prior to the Sierpe charter boats. This is important as more wildlife is seen early in mornings and frequent afternoon rains or intense sun may shorten or interfere with excursions.

Taxis and charter boats can price according to the “awareness” of tourists. Examples of "overcharging" include:

Taxis charging $15 each instead of the normal $15 total for a Palmar - Sierpe transfer.

Sierpe charter boats obtaining net profits of several hundred dollars for a single day excursion. While  negotiating, remember out-of-pocket costs for a standard sized charter boat are approximately $190  including captain, guide, lunch, gas, etc. (park entry fees are $10 per person).

Excursions from the Pacific Coast villages of Dominical, Uvita, etc. via Sierpe also incur significant penalties as these villages are not near to the Osa Peninsula nor Sierpe and the transport times to Sierpe and destinations are lengthy and the groups can be quite large.


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Río Sierpe Lodge - Cell Phone: (506) 8702-5696

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