Puerto Jimenez, South Puntarenas

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In the southern region of Puntarenas Province sits the small town of Puerto Jimenez. With just over 3,000 inhabitants, this historic gold mining and logging community is one of the largest towns on the Osa Peninsula. It is bordered on one side by the Golfo Dulce, “sweet gulf” and on the other by the expansive Corcovado National Park. Puerto Jimenez offers everything from dolphin watching on the gulf to hiking in the rainforest. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the rare Scarlet Macaw during the day and witness amazing Costa Rican sunsets in the evening. For the really adventurous, Puerto Jimenez offers an active, if a bit rowdy, nightlife.

The Osa Peninsula

National Geographic Magazine has called the Osa Peninsula “one of the most biologically intense places on earth.” Home to some of the most pristine rainforests in the world, Osa Peninsula also contains Central America’s largest lowland tropical rainforests and is one of the tallest rainforests in the world. Visitors should definitely hire a professional tour guide as the peninsula is also home to the Fer-de-lance, the most deadly snake in Costa Rica.

Corcovado National Park

The Corcovado National Park has the only tropical primary lowland rainforest in the world, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Costa Rica. This 41,000 hectare (over 100,000 acres) park is a sanctuary for 140 species of mammals, 400 species of birds, 116 species of reptiles and amphibians, 40 species of fish, 4 species of sea turtles and at least 500 species of trees. Visitors may see such animals as the Red-Eyed Tree Frog, the Quetzal and the Tapir. The park is also home to two rare animal species: the Harbor Squirrel Monkey and the Harpy Eagle. Guests can gain entry to the park at two major gateways, one of which is Puerto Jimenez where ranger stations provide information and instruction for hiking in the park. It is best to hire a professional guide because of the large number of roaming wild animals.

Golfo Dulce

In addition to beautiful beaches, sport fishing, kayaking and kite surfing, the “sweet gulf” also houses the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve. The reserve is a 149,500 acre protected habitat that offers swimming, hiking and birdwatching. Among the native animals that live in the reserve are the anteater, the jaguar and the ocelot. Commonly seen birds include the Scarlet Macaw, the Toucan and the Trogón. In this biodiverse region visitors can also see trees that are 100 to 140 feet tall. The forest reserve is one of the wettest places on the earth receiving as much as 200 inches of rainfall each year. With temperatures usually in the 80s to 90s during the day and occasional dipping into the 70s at night, the humidity here is extremely high. There is a brief dry season lasting from December to April each year.

How to Get Here

While Puerto Jimenez may seem remote on the map, travel to this vacation gem is surprisingly easy. International travelers can book flights directly to the Juan Santamaria International Airport located in the capital city of San Jose then fly from there to the Puerto Jimenez local airport. Puerto Jimenez is also accessible by car or bus, but the 10-hour drive makes flying a better option.

Travelers can spend the day exploring historic Puerto Jimenez itself and watching the gorgeous Scarlet Macaws dip and soar sky overhead or hit the beaches of Golfo Dulce to relax in the Costa Rican sun. Whatever you decide to do, a fantastic eco-adventure awaits you in Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica.