Caletas Beach and Corcovado National Park, The Osa Peninsula

Dec 04, 2017 - National Geographic Quest


Our first day exploring the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica began with a mild rain, proof that we were going to visit a tropical rain forest. We had navigated from Caldera Port during the evening and arrived to our morning destination shortly after sunrise. Although it was raining, we could see from the National Geographic Quest a lush forest behind Caletas Beach.

This area of Caleta Beach is part of the Osa Peninsula, the southernmost part of Costa Rica. It’s a remote area only accessible by small aircraft or boat. We loaded the Zodiacs right after breakfast and headed toward this gorgeous paradise. On land, we divided into groups to explore.

One group decided to go horseback riding along the coastline, where they encountered a troop of white-faced capuchin monkeys. Busy foraging, they paid no attention to the riders or even the scarlet macaws that flew over their heads to land on beach almond trees. What a ride!

The other group went hiking through a private reserve. They were welcomed by another species of New World monkeys, spider monkeys. This species is an indicator of how healthy the forest can be for they need to feed a lot and their presence tells us that there is a lot of food for them.

As we lunched onboard, the National Geographic Quest repositioned in front of the jewel of Cost Rica, Corcovado National Park. The park’s famous biodiversity was easily detected along the trails. Our guests spotted white-lipped peccaries, giant crocodiles, long-nosed coatis, and many different species of birds.

The reward for exploring the park was a refreshing dip in a natural waterhole. Our guests couldn’t resist jumping in to cool off from our walks. What a way to end our first day exploring the wild side of Costa Rica!

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About the Author

Cristian Moreno

Undersea Specialist

Cristian is a Panamanian born in Chile.  He grew up in Panama City until the age of 19 when he returned to Chile to go to college where he received a degree in metallurgic civil engineering. Since 1995 he has been working as a freelance naturalist in Panama.  Specializing in bird watching and ecology, he also has a passion for indigenous cultures, hiking and trekking.  He is a certified scuba diver and is often found exploring coral reefs along the Caribbean coast of Panama.

About the Photographer

José Calvo

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Nicknamed “Indio” (Indian) because of his powers of observation and quiet nature, José has almost two decades of experience working as a naturalist and photography guide; as well as being recognized as an expert birder and nature photographer in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is rich in biodiversity — over 893 bird species have been recorded in the country. Since very young José spent all of his free time in the outdoors in the forest, where he soon fell in love with the birds. He particularly enjoys listening to their calls, and watching their behavior. Oddly enough, another one of Jose’s passions is science and technology, and because of this, he was among the first in Costa Rica to experiment with digital photography. As the technology quickly improved so did his love for it.  He truly believes that nature photography is the perfect combination of both of his passions.

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