La Palma, South Puntarenas

Pedrillo beach at Corcovado
Pedrillo beach at Corcovado
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Located near the shores of the Gulf of Dulce, the quiet town of La Palma is just minutes away from some of Costa Rica's best wonders. Travelers looking for a laid-back atmosphere and a small population of travelers will love this friendly town. While there is not an abundance of amenities here, travelers will find a few local sodas, or restaurants, as well as multiple small shops to pick up necessary items. With farmland in the proximity, La Palma sits along beautiful scenery with some of the most exquisite natural resources, such as Playa Blanca and Corcovado National Park nearby.

Just southwest of La Palma sits the Reserva Indígena Guaymí, the Indian Reservation of Coto Brus Guaymi, protects and educates the traditional and cultural influence of one of the largest indigenous groups in the country. Also known as the Ngobe, this group has resided in the Panama and Costa Rica region for thousands of years, and still lives a semi-nomadic lifestyle. Because of the remote nature of the Osa Peninsula, the group has been able to maintain its rich culture, leaving them to be the largest surviving indigenous population in the country.

Visitors coming to this reserve will witness this group in their traditional garb and speaking their native language. In more recent years, the group has participated in the booming ecotourism industry in Costa Rica by selling handcrafted items such as wood sculptures and textiles. Don't forget to pick up a handcrafted hat while visiting, which is made from local tree bark. Although visitors will notice bits of the 21st century in things like solar panels on some homes, this group remains mostly self-sufficient. Due to the close proximity of the reserve to the border of Panama, many natives travel across the border for work to sell their goods to travelers.

Known as the "most biologically intense place on earth" by National Geographic, Corcovado National Park is one of the last primary rainforests in the world. Founded in 1975 to protect the region from illegal gold mining, the park is a truly an adventurer's destination because of its virgin biodiversity. Due to the remote location in the corner of the Osa Peninsula, the 42,429 hectare park covers at least eight distinct habitats, including nearly 30 miles of sandy coastline. Although this area receives a great amount of rainfall each year, it is a wonderful park to hike. The park is home to more than 140 mammal species, 400 bird species and nearly 120 species of reptiles and amphibians. Several endangered and rare species also reside in the park.

To experience everything the Osa Peninsula has to offer, La Palma will serve as an ideal homestead for travelers seeking an authentic exploration of Costa Rica.