Costa Rica is the epitome of diversity in many ways. Not only can you visit cloud forests in the sky, peer down into a live volcano´s crater, but you can also delve into a little pocket of the world that is said to be home to around 5% of the world´s biodiversity. It is also the proud owner of two coasts, the Caribbean and the Pacific which also is where diversity cries, culturally and naturally. One region that is particularly diverse and huge on serenity is Costa Rica´s South Pacific coast. Let´s explore this somewhat under-the-radar corner of Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is located in the middle of the Americas and back when the continents were being formed, volcanic activity joined these two big landmasses near where Costa Rica now sits. Lots of plants and animals began their journeys from the North and the South converging in this new bridge and thus the reason why Costa Rica is big on biodiversity.
Thanks to a small country big on mountains, lowlands, valleys, coasts and so much in between, this has converted Costa Rica into a place of multiple micro-climates and a diversity of flora and fauna. Fast forward to now, travelers from all over the world love to visit Costa Rica to immerse in rainforests, cloud forests, dry forests and spot birds, mammals, insects, snakes, amphibians as they rest, nest, hunt or hide.
The South Pacific coast of Costa Rica is simply yet wildly beautiful. It is blessed with long stretches of coast that are relatively untouched and where the lush rainforest flows onto the beaches from the highlands that embrace them. It is where the famous Osa Peninsula is located that is where the Corcovado National Park and the Golfo Dulce lie. This is nature’s backyard if there ever was.
While the serenity of Costa Rica´s South Pacific is evident and easily sensed, it is big on a number of key elements for travelers searching for nature-rich experiences and comfortable accommodation. Two of these belong to the Enchanting Hotels exclusive collection of boutique hotels and they are also very beautiful.
1. Big on Boutique Hotels
Unlike the Northern and Central Pacific coastal regions, the Costa Rican South Pacific does not have large hotels but is big on boutique ones. Many sit on the highland slopes with uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean, incredible sunsets nestled into the lush forests. Others overlook the many beaches and coastal lowlands and are steps from the water and the rainforest.
Cristal Ballena Boutique and Spa is one of the hotels that can be found upon the mountainside with views of the incredible Marino Ballena National Park and the town of Uvita. With breathtaking views of the ocean, a spacious and very inviting pool surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens, and the big blue sky. Use the hotel as a base to explore the surrounding beaches and coastal havens.
Further down the coast and only reachable by boat is Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge. Hidden in the Golfo Dulce, this jungle-chic boutique hotel has the Golfo Dulce as its front garden and the tropical rainforest center and back. This is an epicenter of close-to-nature experiences and is serenity at its best.
2. Big on Biodiversity
According to National Geographic, the Osa Peninsula on the South Pacific Ocean coast of Costa Rica is “the most biologically intense place on earth.” It is home to 2.5% of the earth´s biodiversity and remains covered in lush rainforest that is protected within the Corcovado National Park which is part of Costa Rica´s protected areas network that covers 25% of the country.
This region has a number of protected areas including the Piedras Blancas National Park that is on the other side of the Golfo Dulce, off the Peninsula. This means that this incredible body of water´s circumference is safeguarded from deforestation, poaching, and other dangerous human activities.
It also means that flora and fauna can grow and run wild, literally! This region is where pumas, tapirs, monkeys, crocodiles, anteaters, and over 350 bird species live in harmony with nature. Marine life is also a big part of the region’s biodiversity with sharks, whales, dolphins, and manta rays just the beginning of the list.
3. Big on less tourism
The South Pacific Ocean coast of Costa Rica is not a place for everyone. It is relatively secluded with no international airport, it has very high relative humidity and it is an experience where close to nature “a lo natural” is part of its beauty. There are no big hotel complexes or resorts, food is fresh, healthy yet simple, hiking boots are a must, and an adventurous spirit is part of its enchantment.
Most of the eco-lodges and accommodation are focused on providing a comfortable stay but without the modern perks of A/C, cable TV, etc. This is a place for visitors that want to experience a true rainforest, in the wild up close. Hiking through the rainforest, kayaking on the Golfo Dulce up through river inlets, doing yoga on a deck by the beach, and listening to the wild.
4. Big on Humpback Whales
Mother Nature is wise as are the giants of the ocean. The Humpback Whales are yearly visitors to Costa Rica´s South Pacific Ocean coast. The Golfo Dulce is the only place on earth that receives extended visits from both the northern and the southern Humpback Whales and they are incredible.
These global swimmers of the seas make their long trek from the cold waters of the Poles to the warm, protected waters of Costa Rica´s South Pacific Ocean coast to breed, birth, and nurture their calves. Once born, the mothers spend their time both feeding and teaching their calves the tricks of being a whale.
Both Marina Ballena National Park and the Golfo Dulce are humpback whales hotspots so Cristal Ballena and Nicuesa have front row seats to this natural spectacle that is truly worth seeing.
5. Big on Beaches
Last but definitely not least is that Costa Rica´s South Pacific Ocean coast is dotted with lots of beaches, many of which, thanks to No. 3 on our list, are frequently deserted. Most are embraced by palm trees and lush vegetation, and it also has one of the best surfing beaches in the world. Playa Pavones. (Playa means Beach in Spanish). It is said to have the longest left in the world.
Another popular surfing town and beach is Dominical. This beach town is a very popular destination for surfers and the beach boasts one of the most beautiful sunsets around. It is much further north than Pavones.
Between Dominical and Pavones, the diversity of beaches is enormous and can be easily discovered by doing some beach-hopping. You will find small restaurants and hotels dotted along the coastal road that borders the coast and the beaches.
Costa Rica´s South Pacific Ocean is a place of diversity in all its forms. The pace is slower, and the intense close-to-nature experience is vivid. Enchanting Hotels invites you to visit this secluded and serene corner of Costa Rica where your love for nature will blossom!