Sierpe, South Puntarenas

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Nature enthusiasts will find no better place to explore this country’s magnificent collection of flora and fauna than Sierpe, a small town in the South Puntarenas area. Sitting at the mouth of the Sierpe River, the town is the jumping off point for boat tours of the Osa Peninsula, excursions through a national wetlands, mangrove reserve, national park and watersports in nearby Drake Bay.

Térraba-Sierpe National Wetlands

Sierpe is the door to Térraba-Sierpe National Wetlands and Latin America’s biggest reserve of mangroves. Some of the largest mangroves in the world grow here. Their jumble of exposed roots hold the tree trunks above the water with the outgoing tides, giving the impression of trees on stilts.

The wetlands sits at the juncture of the Térraba and Sierpe rivers and is home to an astonishing selection of birds, reptiles and animals. A boat tour gives you the chance to see monkeys, alligators and their cousin, the caiman. Birds abound here, so keep your binoculars at the ready; you don’t want to miss the multi-colored kingfisher. Watch for herons too, as they wait patiently to snag a fish among the mangrove roots.

Sportfishing Records

As an important river port city, Sierpe is just 30 km east of the Pacific Ocean and serves as the launching site for ocean sportfishing excursions. Area waters have yielded more than 40 world records for fishing and offer a variety of fish, including mahi mahi, tuna, roosters, sailfish, marlin and more. Take the family for a day, half-day or several days.

Drake Bay and Isla de Caño

Drake Bay is south of Sierpe and offers calmer waters that are great for other water activities. Quiet coves beckon scuba divers, swimmers and snorkelers; sun-worshipers can take their pick of sandy beaches for basking and picnicking.

While you’re in Drake Bay, Isla de Caño is a must-see. Lying 20 km offshore in the bay, this island is an impressive marine biological reserve. The waters offshore are famous as a diving spot that offers magnificent coral reefs and an amazing number of marine flora and fauna. The reserve itself is home to whales, sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, stingrays and a great many fish species.

Corcovado National Park

Stretch your legs on a hiking trail in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica’s jewel. This huge park on the Osa Peninsula is rich in biodiversity and boasts 13 main ecosystems that stretch from swamps and forests to lagoons, beaches and more. These habitats are home to more than 140 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 116 reptile and amphibian species and 40 species of fish. Among them are a variety of endangered animals, such as the jaguar.

As a conservation area, Corcovado has an untamed beauty and is well worth the effort to explore. Hikers stand a good chance of sighting some of its inhabitants, such as the scarlet macaw, red-eyed tree frog or the tapir. Take precautions on this trip, as this wild area also includes wildcats, pumas, crocodiles, poisonous snakes and more.

Getting There

Sierpe is the perfect place to stay when you’re visiting this area because many area hotels use it as a site for guest drop-offs and pick-ups. There are plenty of hotels in town, in a range of prices, along with a variety of restaurants and bars to relax in after a day spent exploring land or water. This South Puntarenas town is 280 km from San Jose. To get to Sierpe, visitors should take a domestic flight to Palmar Sur, then travel by boat taxi to the town.