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Help please! Final decision 8 nights Osa trip for wildlife

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Help please! Final decision 8 nights Osa trip for wildlife

Thanks for reading this! Please help if you can..

we are returning to CR this December, the main purpose of the trip is to see the Osa, as we didn't make it last time. super excited! we have 4 nights at AOL in arenal to kick off, then...

We have 8 nights to devote to the Osa area. I cant hike/boat very long distance because of arthritis, but it does not kerb my enthusiasm for all things wildlife! I want to understand a few things before confirming bookings! I've read so so much on the area and everywhere seems to offer so much.

I understand the best way (for me) to get to corcovado is from drake bay by boat, as im not up to huge hikes. So a stop in drake is necessary for this, it also looks beautiful. I also see that the wetland area would be unique for bird life, so assuming ill need a day for this too. I've snorkelled some amazing spots, so probably wont bother with cano island. Choice of lodging would be Finca Maresia. so maybe 3 nights here?

Leaves me 5 nights...OR do I skip Drake and use all 8 the "other side" (reducing travel costs and time wasted on the road but loosing once in a lifetime opportunity to get into the park)

I see that Puerto Jimenez would offer great options for dolphin/whale trip on the gulfo/wildlife sanctuary/kayak trips and is a nice little town. I would stay cabinas jimenez.

But - I also see resorts like Bosque Del Cabo which offer up close wildlife opportunity and a unique setting. (it would be there cheapest room!) which look like they would offer fabulous wildlife encounters from the "comfort" of the lodge.

Is it too much to fit in both places this side of the peninsular?

maybe..

drake Bay 3 nights

Cabo Matapalo 2 nights

PJ 3 nights

its unlikely I will be unable to return anytime soon and the long flight is a killer, so i really want to get the planning right, to get most out of the stay.

Has anyone faced a similar choice and how did it work out for them?

Our highlight last time was staying in tortuguero at the rana roja, which took an equal amount of planning and deliberation, but it paid off as it was wonderful. We kept the cost low avoiding high end lodges, but also got amazing wildlife encounters in a lovely setting and felt free of organised tours/doing things in groups. we wandered the trails ourselves and saw so much. it would be great to get this right again :)

Thanks, please share you ideas as id love to get this confirmed and value the experience people have on here.

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1. Re: Help please! Final decision 8 nights Osa trip for wildlife

Luckily for whoever (including me) wants to travel on budget is that wildlife do not care how expensive the lodge is! However, some lodges have their prices high because of the wildlife on their premises. Such example is Bosque del Cabo. The most affordable room there is in the Garden, nothing like the cliff cabins but the trails are the same and the wildlife is the same for everyone at the lodge!

Saying this, I have to comment that trails are not easy to walk on. They are up/down type of trails so you should check this first before committing yourself.

We have also stayed at Cabinas Jimenez, a very nice option in Puerto Jimenez. If you will have your own car then this is a good option as you will be able to drive between PJ and Carate, doing some easy walks along the main road or on Cabo Matapalo. Without a car then staying at Cabo Matapalo is wiser option. And there is another option which will get you up close and personal to what Corcovado is famous for: Bolita Hostel. Basic but very affordable, with easy access to newest trail that will get you inside Corcovado without a gruelling hike. SoniaToronto is the member that will explain all about this option (or search the forum).

You are aware that there is a boat ride between Sierpe and Drake Bay, and it is a longer ride then the one from DB to La Sirena?! Finca Maresia is often mentioned and recommended accommodation, but this one is a bit away from the tiny town (or is it hamlet) of Drake Bay.

And, as I am not anymore amused by sitting on the plane for 10+ hours, I am doing this again. for the fourth time in past 10 years. Truth is that all better nature&wildlife related destinations are on the other side of the globe. So never say never again :-))

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2. Re: Help please! Final decision 8 nights Osa trip for wildlife

Drakes Bay great destination point and not that many people and a fraction compare to what ever you will pay at Cabo...

roadadvisor

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3. Re: Help please! Final decision 8 nights Osa trip for wildlife

Yes, your best option to get to the Sirena ranger station in Corcovado is by boat from Drake Bay. If you can afford it stay overnight at Sirena (best times for wildlife are dusk and dawn).

I love rainforest hostel Bolita in Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre but you would have to walk 30 minutes through the rainforest and wade through the river to get there so that might be a bit much? Also, lodging is basic. The setting and trails are great but the trails are not easy. You will see wildlife but there is more wildlife in the Cabo Matapalo area. If Bosque del Cabo is too expensive look at other hotels in the area or a house (Casa Bambu for example) or maybe Airbnb. In that area you can see lots of wildlife along the road even.

I don't think a guided day hike into Corcovado from Dos Brazos would work as it is described as: "a 7km medium­-high difficulty trail". There is also a guided day hike from Carate but It is also a long hike, I think. The good news is that you don't have to enter the park to see lots of wildlife.

I like Puerto Jimenez but would spend more time in Cabo Matapalo and Carate (and/or Dos Brazos). I think Drake Bay is better for whales.

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4. Re: Help please! Final decision 8 nights Osa trip for wildlife

Thank you Soniatoronto!

ill check out the lodging you mentioned as 30 mins is totally doable, I struggle with more than 1-1.5 hours of anything repetitive ie walking or sitting or boat rides, so thats fine.

I have had a quote from BDC but the garden room prices are even higher than the holiday season ones on the website! The Casa bamboo want only weekly rentals too :(

maybe being in PJ and renting a car and driving out ourselves maybe the best option, allowing us to see the area on day trips, whats your thoughts on that? (not very eco but Im sure we can offer others a ride!)

On the Drake bay area, do you think i should keep it in the plan then, and go on a whale trip too? I have never seen a humpback and would love to, spent a day on a Bahia adventures tour a few years back but didnt see anything from Uvita. The lodge costs are considerably cheaper than any in Cabo Matapalo area. is the wildlife opportunity as good do you know?

thanks for the help, its great to ask someone who has been to both!!

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5. Re: Help please! Final decision 8 nights Osa trip for wildlife

Ah thanks for the reply. Im going to check the hostel option thanks.

Cabinas Jimenez have been great at getting back to us, and its a good budget given the HUGE sums some lodges charge (truly im amazed!) so you think its feasible to see wildlife there, and perhaps hire a car in the area and just explore? its seems a cost effective way to do it, but i dont want to go all the way there from the UK and miss out on a opportunity that's unique I guess.

Sounds like if we can spend time in cabo Matapalo its easiest, but would you stay there over Drake Bay??

Im wondering if we should do 4 days in PJ and then Matapalo? would I get the true Osa experience?

Absolutely 10 hours plus flying is very hard to achieve for me, so maybe the last time, even if my heart says not.

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6. Re: Help please! Final decision 8 nights Osa trip for wildlife

We did once staying at Cabinas Jimenez and having a car. The road to Cabo Matapalo and further to Carate is a tough drive; be prepared on several rivers to be crossed. That is why I think staying at Cabo Matapalo, in one of the accommodations by the ocean, is a better option.

However, truth is that staying at CM you will be kinda isolated from other activities and areas. This is where Puerto Jimenz has a distinctive edge over Cabo Matapalo. You have all the coastal road to explore, and with 5 days there is plenty time to really explore that area.

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7. Re: Help please! Final decision 8 nights Osa trip for wildlife

With 8 days you do have time for both Drake Bay and the Puerto Jimenez area. I believe December is a good time for whales in Drake Bay but you would have to confirm that. I am not sure which spot is best for whales. I think Drake Bay is best but maybe it is possible to see them in Puerto Jimenez as well. Hopefully someone will confirm. From Drake Bay you could go to Sirena by boat as a day trip (staying overnight would be great but is expensive) and also do a whale tour (and/or mangrove tour). Then you could stay near Puerto Jimenez and rent a car and drive to Cabo Matapalo and Carate.

Check out Bolita's website before committing. I mean, you were looking at Bosque del Cabo! Bolita and Bosque del Cabo are worlds apart. I mean, they are both in the rainforest but that is where the comparison ends. Bolita is very basic. I have not been to Bosque del Cabo but I also assume their trails are better groomed than Bolita's. The walk to Bolita is not hard but it is through the rainforest of course and you have to wade through a river. You will leave most of your luggage at their office in the village but you will be carrying some of your stuff and also food. There is no electricity and no refrigeration. The trails at Bolita are great but some of them are long. Maybe 2 nights at Bolita and that way also have a bit of a larger budget for your other nights.

So either 3 nights Drake Bay, 2 nights Bolita in Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre and 3 nights Cabo Matapalo or Carate. Or 3 nights Puerto Jimenez and 5 nights Cabo Matapalo or Carate. Or 3 nights Drake Bay and 5 nights near Puerto Jimenez, rent a car and do lots of exploring. I don't know if you would see much wildlife at Cabinas Jimenez (apart from scarlet macaws). A hotel a bit more outside of PJ might be better for seeing wildlife on site. I have often looked at La Chosa del Manglar for example but I can't vouch for it and reviews are mixed.

We thought the Puerto Jimenez area was better for wildlife than Drake Bay (but it depends on where you would be staying in Drake Bay and it is also a question of luck of course). But you should see lots of wildlife around Sirena on the day trip. Outside of Corcovado I think that for wildlife Cabo Matapalo is best. Then Carate. Then Dos Brazos. You can also see wildlife near Puerto Jimenez. We did a few walks not too far from the town and saw quite a lot.

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8. Re: Help please! Final decision 8 nights Osa trip for wildlife

We saw whales and a few dolphins at Drake, saw more dolpins but no whales at Pt Jim. Both times early-mid February. At Drake you're more likely to catch whales during migration due to the location--the Golfo Dulce off Pt Jim is kind of a literal backwater as far as migrating whales are considered. Much smoother water though, like glass, which makes the boat ride less taxing.

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9. Re: Help please! Final decision 8 nights Osa trip for wildlife

So final decision and itinerary is as follows,for anyone following or having a similar dilemma.

4 nights arenal then flying down to puerto jimenez for a 5 night stay at ojo del mar (We hope) with a car allowing us to visit the area and drive to carate as well as do any tours from PJ area. Then driving to drake bay for 3 nights at finca maresia and if we still feel we need more wildlife, a day trip to corcovado from drake by boat and visit cabo island.truely would love to see a whale.

Flight times make this work out best and we hope to have a car the whole time in the osa.

Thanks for the feedback and helping me figure this one out.

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10. Re: Help please! Final decision 8 nights Osa trip for wildlife

CaNo Island - I do not think you literally visit it. It is my understanding that if used to be, but is not allowed any more. You snorkel or dive BY it, from your boat, and some tours include packed lunch / picnic stop on Pl. San Josecito (I.e. not on Cano Island) as a part of the tour. There will likely be other tours there at the same time, both during snorkelling, and during the lunch time on the beach.

Will you be OK with hiking up and down the hill to get to/from Finca Marisea to the town/beach, for ex.?I think they have a shuttle, but they are up.

Edited: 15 July 2018, 15:43
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