Caletas Bay and Corcovado National Park, Osa Peninsula

Dec 21, 2019 - National Geographic Quest

Today the last day of our trip on board National Geographic Quest, found us in my personal favorite part of the world, on the outer side of the Osa Peninsula. On the southernmost part of the country and the smallest peninsula on the Pacific side, this area houses some of the most unspoiled and untouched forests of the region. Isolated from the central plateau and the main cities and population, Osa was the land of the forgotten; still nowadays, the 745 square miles area holds less than 7,000 inhabitants.

During the morning, we disembarked onto a private Wildlife Refuge called Caletas, owned by Enrique also known as Banban. In both Costa Rica and Panama by law, no one can own beachfront 50 meters above the high tide line is considered public land, but above that line, no one can enter. Banban allows us to use his facilities and his trails to explore. High humidity and deep red clay welcomed us into the long forest trail, but both are a staple in the best-kept Pacific coastal tropical rainforest.

In the afternoon, we repositioned the ship and made our way onto San Pedrillo’s ranger station. We headed to two options, the parallel to the beach Pargo trail or the San Pedrillo trail towards a water hole and waterfall.

The whole day was a complete reward and a fantastic experience anything from monkeys to macaws, wrens and anolis lizards, arboreal porcupine and the star of the day, a Baird’s tapir, broad winged hawk, crowned the last day of our trip.

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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.

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