18 Facts about the Costa Rica Southwest that will impress anyone actually! The Costa Rica Southwest is rich, green and super diverse, chances to see wildlife are so high it is almost impossible not to see it, and the wilderness sensation embraces all visitors, never mind the age.Drake

Last December my family and I went on vacation to the legendary Osa Peninsula. I say legendary because it is a remote, super biodiverse and intense region. I found the region of the Osa Peninsula to be one of the most interesting nature areas where I have been and really want to share the most striking facts about it with the readers of our blog.

We flew from San Jose and into Palmar Sur (Usually you would fly to Drake Bay directly, but they were doing some works in that airport) and then, went by boat all the way, through the Sierpe Mangroves (An amazing and huge area) and to the ocean to go all the way to Drake Bay, where we were picked up to go to Casa Corcovado, the first place where we stayed.

After a few nights there, we went by car to Jimenez Port, and from there by boat to our second magical hotel, Nicuesa Lodge.

As we finished this magical experience we flew back from Jimenez to San José (As you can see the map below)

Now let me impress you with 18 facts about the Osa Peninsula in the Costa Rica Southwest: 

1- There are big heavy and perfectly round stone balls made by the indigenous people, they are declared World Heritage and are found in Caño Island among other places in the South Pacific area of Costa Rica.

Stone Spheres in Costa Rica

Stone Spheres in Costa Rica

2- In the Corcovado National Park, you can find 140 species of mammal, 370 species of birds, 120 species of reptiles and 6000 types of insects. There are 500 species of trees in the park and 150 different kinds of orchids.

Costa Rica Southwest


3- Hundreds of hump-backed whales come from the North Pole and the South Pole to mate in the Golfo Dulce.

dolphin4- The Golfo Dulce´s calm waters are the perfect home for sea turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks and lots of colorful fish.

5- The Terraba River, that flows trough the South-west plains and mountain is the biggest river in Costa Rica.


6- The “Whale Tail” is a sand and rock formation in the form of a whale´s tail. This place is a Marine National Park. By coincidence, the whales love this place, so it is common to see whales.

7- The Chirripó Mountain is the highest mountain in Costa Rica. It is 3.820 meters high.


8- In the Corcovado National Park, you can see the four types of monkeys that you can spot in Costa Rica (spider monkeys, capuchin monkeys/white-face monkeys, squirrel monkeys and howler monkeys).

Animals in Costa Rica Tapir

Baird’s Tapir (Photo by Carlos Soto)

9- The tapir is a highly endangered mammal, is very difficult to see them, even in the park. If you see them you are very lucky, they like muddy places near rivers in the middle of the thick jungles.

10- The bushmaster snake is my favorite animal. It is one of the longest venomous snakes in the world; they can grow up to 5 meters! It´s a very dangerous animal, but it is very rare. They like to hide in piles of leafs and inside logs.

11- There is a very special poison-dart-frog that lives in the jungles around the Golfo Dulce. It is endemic (that means that you can only find it in this zone, nowhere else in the world). It´s called the Golfo Dulce poison-dart-frog.

Hermit Crabs in Costa Rica Southwest

Hermit Crabs

12- A lot of animals live in the mangroves and rivers in this zone: monkeys, crabs, mangrove-snakes, crocodiles, caimans, sloths, neotropical otters, river dolphins, manatees and bull sharks.

13- Most of the population in this zone lives from fishing, agriculture and making oil from the African palms.

14- There a lot of native residents in this territories. The terrabas, the ngöbe (Also called the guaymíes) and the borucas are native to this zone. Some groups still have their dialects, religion, and traditions.


15- There are a lot of scarlet macaws and toucans, rarely you can see green macaws. The macaws are loud and colorful; that’s why it´s easy to spot them when they are flying.

16- Most of the people think that most of the felines attack when they see humans, but that´s wrong. They are shy nocturnal animals. They hide in de top of the trees or caves. Jaguars, ocelots, jaguarundis, pumas and oncillas are the felines that you can see in this zone. When they see a human, they get very scared and hide. All of these species are endangered because people hunt them. Nowadays, hunting is illegal in all Costa Rica


Jaguar (Photo by Olga Sáenz)

17- Both areas, Drake Bay, as much as Golfo Dulce were used by pirates to hide and to ambush the Spanish vessels traveling around. The pirate Drake was in these areas very often after his infamous attacks to Panama.

18-Both places have very special geographical conditions: Drake Bay is at the start of our Submarine Mountain Range, and Golfo Dulce gets to be one of the deepest gulfs in the World, some people call it a tropical fjord.


This one of my favorite places in Costa Rica, cause it is home for lots of animals, plants, culture and gastronomy.

 This a perfect place for relaxing, adventure and for learning. Most of the places don´t have internet, WiFi or phone signal cause it has a remote location. I am a new person after this trip. You get disconnected from the reality, but you don´t have to worry.

The only word for this place is: “paradise.”

Written by Emilio Hernández Chavarría for Camino Travel.

Costa Rica Southwest

Emilio Hernández Chavarría

Emilio is a young writer for Camino Travel. However, and even if he is almost 12, he has already traveled around the World and extensively throughout Costa Rica and has developed a criterion that mixes his local knowledge and the perceptions of a family boy in his trips, creating articles that will be helpful for anyone traveling with kids and teens.