Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Mar 25, 2018 - National Geographic Quest

This morning we woke up on the outer side of the Osa Peninsula. Once described as the most biologically dense place in the world, the Osa Peninsula (and particularly Corcovado National Park) is one of the last remaining intact rainforests in Mesoamerica. 

Physically isolated from the rest of the country by its distance from the central valley and by a narrow isthmus-like attachment to the mainland, the Peninsula was until the 1980s about 8 hours away from the capital city of San Jose. By boat from the nearest town, it could take two and a half hours. Without any access roads, electricity or commodities, the Peninsula was kept from the negative effects of development. Nowadays, the area is very popular specifically because of its untouched conditions, where visitors are looking for a direct contact-with-nature-experience. 

In the morning, we visited our friend BanBan, who owns Caletas beach, where we could take a horseback ride, a long forest walk, or a walk through the premises looking mainly for birdlife.

In the afternoon, we could choose from two ways of exploring the amazing Corcovado National Park. One was a challenging hike to the San Pedrillo waterfall and waterhole. Another was a walk on the Pargo River trail, better suited for wildlife searching and photography. Two great ways to experience the true essence of the tropical rainforest.  

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About the Author

Isabel Salas Vindas


Isa Salas is a Costa Rica born biologist, who loves her country and teaching about it.  Known for her professionalism and experience in the field of animal behavior, Isa earned her master's degree in biology from the University of Costa Rica, where she also engaged in research for the chemistry and biology departments. Isa has carried out specialized projects on mantled howler monkeys for Costa Rica’s National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio), and is one of the country’s experts on howler monkey sexual and social behavior. 

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.

About the Videographer

David Pickar

Video Chronicler

David Pickar is a native of Portland, Oregon. He studied anthropology at the University of Oregon, then spent several years working as a field archaeologist. Participating in excavations in countries like Jordan, Belize and Italy and in every corner of the US, allowed him to witness culture and the environment from an unusual perspective.

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