Costa Rica has long been renowned for combining natural beauty with exciting activities, attracting visitors seeking pristine beaches, tropical rivers, volcanoes, and adventure. There is a well-established path that travelers often take through Costa Rica, and it’s one that exists for a reason – the Arenal Volcano, Manuel Antonio National Park, and the Monteverde Cloud Forest are some of the world’s most incredible sites and ought not to be missed. There is another side of Costa Rica, however, one that has yet to become an established hot spot. I was able to experience this gem recently when I visited Costa Rica for the first time. I started the trip with visits to the Arenal Volcano, Pacuare River and a few less-visited sites like Bajos del Toro and the Poas Volcano. All of them were gorgeous and well worth the visit, but for me, the place that truly exemplified Costa Rica’s attractions was further off the beaten path. Tucked down in the lower left corner of my map, and just a short flight from San Jose, was a place that took my breath away: the Osa Peninsula.
While all of our destinations in Costa Rica offer exquisite natural sites, the Osa Peninsula retains that sense of wild, untamed nature and the adventure of exploring it. I got a taste of this from the moment I landed at the local airport.
I’m a lifelong lover of FJ Land Cruisers, vehicles designed to take on any type of terrain, so you can imagine my excitement when I was met at the airport by two Land Cruisers coming my way. I tossed my bags in the back of one and climbed in, and the next thing I knew we were locking the hubcaps and fording a river. This was not the standard hotel transfer I’d expected! After arriving safely to the other side we passed through the quaint town of Drake, a remote fishing village without paved roads. We parked at the beach and boarded a boat, then cruised out into the bay and up a small tributary that lead to the dock at La Paloma Lodge.
The exciting manner of our arrival made it abundantly clear that this was my kind of place, but the setting of the lodge, the layout of the rooms, and the amazing staff were what made the stay. Set on a steep hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the lush surrounding forest, La Paloma Lodge is composed of recently remodeled private rooms with air conditioning and beautiful individual bungalows with hardwood floors and breathtaking views. It was originally constructed as a family fishing lodge, but the founders gradually expanded it over the years and eventually opened it to the public. It still retains its small, familial feeling, and the service throughout my stay was warm, personal, and extremely attentive.
Every day in this stunning place brings new activities ranging from deep sea fishing to guided hikes into Corcovado National Park (which National Geographic called “the most biologically intense place on Earth in terms of biodiversity”) to surprisingly fascinating nighttime bug tours. The forest is dense, the wildlife is abundant, and the beaches are pristine and free of tourist crowds. The Osa Peninsula is truly an amazing destination, and my visit was made all the better with a stay at an incredible lodge.
For travelers seeking a unique and memorable trip, Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula offers the perfect blend of natural beauty, impeccable service, and unforgettable experiences.