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OSA PENINSULA

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COSTA RICA
LOCALE

# Species:365
# Excl Vagrants:365
# Endemics:2
# Near Endemics:19
Habitat: Subtropical forest

ABOUT THE BIRDING

Visiting Osa Peninsula is a truly memorable experience. Getting to the peninsula and particularly into Corcovado National Park is itself something of an adventure as it entails a fairly low altitude flight in a small plane south from San Jose followed by a memorable land or boat transfer into the more remote areas.

Osa Peninsula is an unspoiled place that supports the greatest expanse of lowland rainforest remaining in Costa Rica. The interior was for a long time the exclusive haunt of soldiers-of-fortune and gold miners but is now mostly preserved as a national park. Corcovado National Park and surrounding areas encompass the greatest expanse of lowland rainforest remaining in Costa Rica. There are some threats from logging, but recent conservation efforts including especially establishment of the national park have greatly helped in preserving much of the peninsula in a relatively undisturbed and wild state.

This part of Costa Rica is much more subtropical than farther north where most visitors to the country spend their time. It is certainly warmer and rainier, so it's important to choose the best time of year for a visit. The ideal time for a visit is early in the dry season from December-February, when it is somewhat cooler than the rest of the year. March and April are also fine as it is still dry season though somewhat warmer than preceding months.

The main attraction of the peninsula is it's wildness and unspoiled quality. Here one can find all 4 species of primates living in Costa Rica. Scarlet Macaws are readily seen along the Pacific lowlands. The forested interior is an excellent place to see many of the special birds whose ranges are restricted to the southern Pacific coastline. Those who love remote places will fall in love with this place.

LOCATION OF SITE

Osa Peninsula is located in extreme southern Costa Rica, situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Golfo Dulce bay. The peninsula is conveniently divided into north and south regions, as the entire central area of the peninsula is encompassed by remote Corcovado National Park.

The northern part of Osa Peninsula is most easily reached by a half-hour flight between San Jose and the village of Drake Bay. Passengers are met at the dirt airstrip by lodge staff and transported by 4-wheel-drive vehicle to the lodge. Alternatively, one can fly to Palmar Sur, then transfer by land to Sierpe and from there by boat to one's lodge. The transfer to Sierpe and boat trip is best arranged through the lodge where one is staying. This transfer is a scenic and enjoyable trip for those not wanting fly both directions between San Jose and Drake Bay.

The southern side of Osa Peninsula is most easily reached by a 45-minute flight from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. Alternatively, Puerto Jimenez can be reached via a regular ferry from Golfito if one first visits other parts of southern Costa Rica before going to Osa.

The interior of the peninsula is extremely remote and can be reached only by long hikes into the interior via frequently muddy trails. The very remote Sirena Ranger Station on the Pacific coast within Corcovado National Park can be reached by air or boat. Both are somewhat problematical. Only charter flights go into the short airstrip at Sirena, while boats trying to land at Sirena must navigate very tricky tidal currents that can be quite dangerous if attempted at the wrong time of day. The more accessible San Pedrillo Ranger Station in the northern part of Corcovado National Park can be reached only by boat and requires a beach landing. Such a boat transfer can be arranged through one of the lodges around Drake Bay. The southern part of the park is accessible by flights into Carate or by a long rough road that circles around the southern coastline from Puerto Jimenez. From Carate one can then walk about 45 minutes along the beach to reach the entrance to Corcovado National Park, which is still a very long hike from Sierpe. It's also possible to hire an ox cart and driver through one's lodge at Carate if one wants to avoid the long walk along the beach.