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The wild, remote Osa Peninsula is situated on the Pacific coast just north of Panama. Along with the sheltered Golfo Dulce, Corcovado and Peñas Blancas National Parks, it is Costa Rica’s foremost natural highlight.

As the refuge for Costa Rica's largest population of jaguars and tapirs, the extensive rainforest is well worth a visit. Roughly half the peninsula is occupied by Corcovado National Park, home to an astonishing range of wildlife that includes the endangered giant anteater, tapir, harpy eagle, monkeys and all Costa Rica’s big cats (jaguar, puma, jaguarondi and ocelot) - though these are more difficult to see. The adjacent Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve, a number of private reserves, and Peñas Blancas National Park further extend the protected area to create a huge wildlife corridor. 

Dolphins can be seen all year off the coast of the Osa Peninsula and there are a variety of species, with spotted, spinner, bottlenose, rough-toothed and common dolphin all possible. Humpback whales can be seen at various times of year – those humpbacks migrating northwards from Antarctica are seen from July to November, whereas those migrating south from North America arrive in December and depart in April. Orca, sperm, sei, pilot and Bryde’s whales can also be seen, but there are less frequent.

Accommodation consists mainly of upmarket eco-lodges scattered along the coastline, although there are increasing numbers of more economical, rustic options. All offer a comprehensive programme of excursions and activities on land and sea, such as watching wildlife in the forest, walking trails, kayaking in the mangroves, dolphin and whale watching by boat, horse riding, scuba diving and surfing. To visit the national park, you must be accompanied by a licensed guide, however as many lodges stand on their own private reserve, you can generally see the same fauna and flora without actually entering the national park. 

There are few roads, but a handful of small airfields are served by daily flights from San José with light commercial aircraft; thereafter you transfer to your accommodation by launch and/or 4x4 vehicle.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: harpy eagle, scarlet macaw, giant anteater, Baird’s tapir, white-faced capuchin monkey
  • Where: Southern Pacific coast, Costa Rica

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Wildlife Photography in Costa Rica’s Rainforests

Costa Rica has long been an established wildlife destination, renowned for its remarkable biodiversity. Join acclaimed photographer Nick Garbutt on this unique itinerary that offers extended stays in prime locations to discover some of the country’s best preserved ecosystems.

  • When to go: Apr-May
  • Duration inc. flights: 19 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £6,995 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Costa Rica’s Wildlife Wonders

The verdant country of Costa Rica is a must-visit destination for any wildlife enthusiast - this small nation is bursting with fascinating flora and fauna. Our extensive 12-day group trip visits some of the finest wildlife locations within Costa Rica to encounter some of its more exotic species.

  • When to go: Nov-Mar
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,695 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Bosque del Cabo Lodge

Exquisitely located at the tip of the Osa Peninsula, this delightful lodge is surrounded by well laid-out gardens on its own 350-hectare reserve. Lying between the Pacific Ocean, Golfo Dulce and pristine rainforest on the edge of Corcovado National Park, there is plenty of wildlife to discover here.

Danta Corcovado Lodge

Located on the Osa Peninsula in the southwest corner of Costa Rica, Danta Corcovado Lodge is situated in one of the world's most pristine and biodiverse ecosystems. Set on a 30 hectare estate, the lodge offers creatively designed accommodation close to Corcovado National Park.

Ecoturístico La Tarde

This rustic, family-run lodge is surrounded by primary rainforest, home to abundant wildlife including big cats, Costa Rica’s four monkey species, frogs, birdlife and native plants. Accommodation is in safari-style tents and is a good option for anyone interested in exploring the Osa Peninsula’s unique environment.