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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
"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.
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.
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.
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
and charter boats can price according to the “awareness”
of tourists. Examples of "overcharging" include:
charging $15 each instead of the normal $15 total for
a Palmar - Sierpe transfer.
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).
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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