Puerto Jimenez Activities
Bird and Wildlife Watching
Bird and wildlife watching is prolific in and around Puerto Jimenez – particular at nearby Corcovado National Park. Motmots, scarlet macaws, swallows and spectacled owls can often be seen without even stepping outside of the hotel. Mammals include tapirs, giant anteaters, olingos, sloths and peccaries. American crocodiles, caimans, boa constrictors, bushmasters, vipers and other venomous snakes are commonly spotted reptiles. Four types of sea turtles can also be seen at certain times of the year: loggerhead, leatherback, Olive Ridley, and green sea turtles.
Race through the treetops just outside of Miramar on this fast paced zipline adventure. The tour lasts roughly one hour, and zooms through 2,000 feet of cables – the highest set 105 feet off the ground.
Dolphin and Whale Watching
Spinner and bottlenose are the most observed species in the Golfo Dulce. Whales and whale sharks are also prevalent at certain times of year – mainly between December-April and July-October. This type of tour is best experienced by kayak at sunset, when phosphorescent algae dances like fireworks under the sea.
Learn how to groove and salsa like a local with lively hour-long dance classes. Sessions can be enjoyed privately or in groups. Show off your newly acquired skills at one of Perla de Osa’s Friday night salsa bashes.
Manicures and pedicures can be arranged for a fraction of the cost as those in the United States. For $10, specialists roll out the red carpet, providing luxurious nail treatments in town and at local hotels. Massage and chiropractic services are also available.
The nearby town of Dos Brazos is one of the last remaining gold panning communities on the Osa Peninsula. Since Corcovado was declared a national park in 1975, its population of gold miners has dwindled from 3,000 to 100. Visitors learn how to properly utilize panning equipment, and are permitted to keep what they find (most guests unearth at least a small amount). Local gold dealers sell larger nuggets in town, if desired.
Night hikes are obligatory activities for serious wildlife watchers – after dark, the rainforest is transformed by nocturnal creatures that remain elusive during daylight hours. Tours in and around Puerto Jimenez are relatively tame in comparison to those in Bambu and Rio Nuevo. Encounters with a variety of species are possible, including kinkajous, red-eyed tree frogs, spiders and sea turtles (June-December).
Trail ride along various terrains, including deserted beaches, mangrove estuaries and the woodlands of Cabo Matapalo. Half and full day excursions are available and include a local guide.
Kayak tours along the Platanares River, just north of town, provide perfect opportunities for viewing an impressive array of birds, monkeys, sloths and other wildlife. Enormous heart-shaped seeds from these ancient mangrove trees can be found washed up along nearby beaches. Journeys last about three hours and leave at high tide, when dolphins are often found playing near the river estuary. Dry bags are available to keep cameras and valuables safe.
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
The beautiful reef off Playa Platanares affords some amazing opportunities to experience a colorful ecosystem under the sea. Kayaks and scuba equipment can be borrowed free of charge from most hotels, and boat tours are also available for a price.
Some of the best scuba and snorkeling in the world can be discovered at Cano Island, a gentle 45 minute boat ride from Drake Bay. From Puerto Jimenez, Drake Bay can be reached in two hours by taxi and 20 minutes by plane. Sharks, rays and enormous schools of jackfish are just a few of the mysterious attractions that await curious spectators. Tours last all day and feature two dives, with a break for lunch in between.
The Golfo Dulce is incredibly rich, and most fishing expeditions end with a cooler brimming with the day’s spoils. Offshore fishing is best from December-May, with catches including mahi mahi, tuna, wahoo, skipjack and blue runner. Anglers can also opt for inshore excursions, where roosterfish, jacks, snapper and mackerel are most common. Whales, dolphins, rays and sea turtles are often observed during these trips.
Surfing at Cabo Matapalo, on the southernmost tip of the Osa Peninsula, is legendary. Offshore winds most often blow from north to northwest, and the ideal swell direction is from the south. Of Cabo Matapalo’s three beaches, Playa Pan Dulce is best for both beginner and more advanced surfers. Amateurs generally enjoy the inner break.
When the two breaks connect advanced surfers can ride both – for a total length that rivals the legendary break at Pavones. While Backwash Bay can produce impressive breaks when conditions are ripe, serious surfers tend to congregate at Playa Cabo Matapalo – which features rougher and larger waves. Visitors should consider staying a few nights to maximize Cabo Matapalo’s unbelievable surf potential.
Hike to an enormous hollowed out strangler fig in nearby Cabo Matapalo. Guides set up ropes and safety equipment, and watch as adventurers ascend the inside of this ancient 100-foot tree. The excursion takes about three hours – but isn’t over until everyone succeeds in ringing a bell at the top of the ancient ficus.
During the months of June-December, lucky visitors can view four species of sea turtle nesting along Playa Preciosa. For those staying at a beachside property, a great way to spot these gentle creatures is to speak with the property’s night guard. They are usually more than happy to keep an eye out for expectant mothers, and consequently alert interested guests. This method is especially convenient during the cool hours of the early morning, when baby sea turtles are most likely to hatch.
Rappel down the 90-foot King Louis Waterfalls, just a short hike from Playa Cabo Matapalo. Guides provide ropes, helmets, and harnesses and safety is their utmost priority. The tour is only available half of the year, as these falls are dry during the months of December through July. Learn more aboutcanyoning adventures in Costa Rica.
Many hotels offer use of yoga mats, as well as group classes. Yoga is a great way to recuperate muscles sore from a long day of surfing or hiking.