Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Mon July 18 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | July 18, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    Must-See Highlights of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

    Must-See Highlights of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

    All photos courtesy of A Cruising Couple unless otherwise noted. 

    Costa Rica might be small in size, but it's also overflowing with magical landscapes, abundant wildlife, and diverse attractions.

    We've been fortunate enough to live in Costa Rica for two years (traveling extensively from coast to coast during this time), yet we still discover new gems on a daily basis.

    However, of all the beautiful places in Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula remains our favorite of them all.

    The Osa Peninsula juts out into the Pacific Ocean in the southernmost corner of Costa Rica. Often dubbed “Costa Rica's last frontier”, on the Osa you won't find any sweeping resorts, commercialization or the other creature comforts available in the more developed areas of the country.

    Instead, wake up to the sound of howler monkeys reverberating through the jungle. Adventure down gravel, pot-holed roads. While away the day on secluded beaches, where your only company might be Scarlet Macaws flying overhead.

    Scarlet Macaws

    Do as much or as little as you like here. Part of the peninsula's charm is that it beckons you to unplug from devices and sway to nature's rhythm. But since you made it all the way there, we recommend at least checking out these three highlights of the Osa Peninsula:

    Drake Bay

    Drake Bay

    Photo via Flickr/Nguyen-Anh Le

    Drake Bay is a small bay on the northern coast of the Osa Peninsula. Historically, it is said to have been a port used by Sir Francis Drake in the 16th century (hence the name). Today, the area attracts everyone from families seeking an off-the-beaten-track adventure to active travelers ready to take on some of the most outstanding jungle hikes.

    Drake Bay might be remote, but activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and horseback riding are plentiful. It is also close to Corcovado National Park, making it one of the best places to base yourself both before and after a multi-day jungle trek.

    Getting to Drake Bay is part of the adventure.

    For one of the most scenic routes, catch a boat from the small town of Sierpe. The journey will take you through mangroves along the Sierpe River, with excellent opportunities for spotting wildlife like Cayman and monkeys along the way.

     READ MORE: 8 Awesome Beaches in Guanacaste, Costa Rica 

    Cano Island

    cano island

    Photo via Flickr/Marina Kuperman Villatoro 

    Beautiful Cano Island is located just off the coast of the Osa Peninsula. Many mistakenly believe this to be the location where Jurassic Park was shot; while we've heard it is not actually one and the same, the jungle-laden island is nonetheless worth visiting. 

    The area surrounding Cano Island is considered one of the best places in all of Costa Rica for snorkeling and diving. Most days, divers can enjoy visibility of 20 feet while spotting a large variety of tropical fish, manta rays, sea turtles, and even the occasional shark or dolphin.

    Cano Island is most easily reached from Drake Bay. Casa Corcovado can also arrange half-day snorkeling and diving trips from their secluded property.

     READ MORE: 7 Epic Waterfalls in Costa Rica 

    Corcovado National Park

    Corcovado National Park River

    Considered the ‘Crown Jewel’ of Costa Rica’s national park system, Corcovado National Park is home to some 2% of the world's biodiversity. It's also one of the last remaining Pacific lowland rainforests of sustainable size, comprising one-third of the entire Osa Peninsula.

    National Geographic has named Corcovado National Park as the most biologically intense place on the face of the planet—an accurate statement considering the park contains 13 major ecosystems.

    Within the park, you'll also have the opportunity to spot hundreds of species of birds, mammals, amphibians and insects, along with nearly a quarter of all the tree species in Costa Rica. 

    Costa Rica now requires all hikers and visitors visit the National Park with a guide. Both short trips and multi-day hikes throughout the park are available.

    Costa Rica is overflowing with fantastic gems, but the Osa Peninsula certainly takes the prize as one of the best off-the-beaten-pack journeys there is.

    Have you visited Corcovado National Park? What did you think?



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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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