Puerto Jimenez Attractions
Bay of Puerto Jimenez
The clean, shallow waters around the Puerto Jimenez dock are perfect for swimming and kayaking. While this area is lovely, more pristine beaches can be found at Cabo Matapalo and nearby Playa Preciosa.
Playa Preciosa (Playa Platanares)
This enormous, unspoiled coast begins a few miles outside of town, curves around Puntarenitas Point, and stretches on as far as the eye can see. Playas Pavones and Zancudo can be seen across the way, separated from the Osa Peninsula by the vast Golfo Dulce. Playa Preciosa’s playful waves are perfect for surfing and bodysurfing. The best point of entry is at the Perla de Osa Restaurant, ten minutes by car or 20 by bicycle from the town center. The beach can also be reached on foot by crossing over the Platanares River at low tide. It takes about 30 minutes to walk.
Located on the southernmost tip of the Osa Peninsula, Cabo Matapalo is just one hour by car from Puerto Jimenez. It is incredibly rich in plant and animal life – boasting nearly as much diversity as Corcovado National Park. The Cape is composed of three beaches: Playa Pan Dulce, Backwash Bay and Playa Cabo Matapalo.
National Parks, Reserves & Wildlife Refuges:
Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park is considered one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth, boasting 2.5% of the earth’s animal species. It is home to at least 367 species of birds, 140 mammals, 71 reptiles, 46 amphibians and 40 freshwater fish. This list includes four types of venomous snake, all four species of monkey found in Costa Rica, an enormous concentration of scarlet macaws (relative to other places in Central America), four species of turtle, peccaries, red-eyed tree frogs, harpy eagles, and a very small number of jaguars.
La Leona ranger station is the only reasonably accessible entrance to Corcovado National Park from Puerto Jimenez. Unfortunately, it is a lengthy two hour drive (one way) to Carate, on top of a 40 minute walk from here to the park. This distance makes it logical for visitors to simply spend the night in Carate. There are no short hikes around La Leona station, but there is a ten mile trail that crosses two rivers and connects to the Sirena station.
Private planes can be hired for a premium to taxi visitors from Puerto Jimenez to la Sirena station, the heart of Corcovado National Park. Tapirs – rare animals that look like a cross between a horse and an elephant – are fairly common here, as well as sloths, toucans and pumas. Overnight stays are possible in dormitory style rooms, but with advanced permits only.
Piedras Blancas National Park
Roughly a half an hour by boat from Puerto Jimenez, Piedras Blancas is located on the Golfo Dulce, in the small village of La Gamba. The park is home to a multitude of plant and animal life, boasting a species list almost identical to that of Corcovado National Park. Rescue efforts helping scarlet macaws and wild cats have a great deal of success inside the preserve, mostly due to its exceptional degree of isolation. Poison dart frogs, peccaries, monkeys, caimans, crocodiles, and over 330 bird species inhabit the zone.
Playa Platanares Refuge
Just a few miles outside of Puerto Jimenez, the Playa Platanares Refuge is composed of an estuary and a network of rich mangroves. The hike is short, flat, and suitable for almost anyone. Due to such tame terrain, the refuge is a wonderful location for night walks.
Osa Wildlife Sanctuary
Get up close and personal with spider monkeys, toucans and peccaries at the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary. Wounded or orphaned animals and illegally-captured pets are brought from all over Costa Rica and Nicaragua to be rehabilitated in the refuge, which is located on the edge of Piedras Blancas National Park, on Playa Cativo. Tours cost $25 and are available every day from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The refuge can also provide transportation from Puerto Jimenez, about a half an hour away by boat. Tel: 8837-1631
Farms and Botanical Gardens:
Located a short 25 minute boat ride from Puerto Jimenez, Casa Orquideas’ bright, maze-like geography is strangely reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Bird watchers marvel at 100 species of birds that are attracted to this park’s orchids, heliconias, bromeliads and slew of edible plants. The gardens can be reached by boat, kayak, or on foot for travelers staying on Playa San Josecito. (Playa San Josecito, Golfo Dulce. Guided tours offered Sundays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m.; $8 per person, 3 people minimum. Self-guided walking tours available Mon-Wed and Saturday; $5 per person. 8829-1247.)
Composed of over 260 acres of secondary rainforest, the Herrera Botanical Gardens were conceptualized in 2000 – primarily to entice local wildlife to utilize a stream running through the property. Just a short walk from downtown Puerto Jimenez, the gardens feature over 12 miles of forest trails, along with a multitude of animals including the tayra and the neotropical otter. (Puerto Jimenez. 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Sun. $4 self-guided tour; $10 guided tour, reservations recommended. 2735-5267.)
Learn how cacao is harvested and processed into delicious organic chocolate on an interactive tour of Finca Kobo. About a half an hour west of Puerto Jimenez, the farm is completely sustainable – and home to a number of wild animals, including sloths and monkeys. A highlight of the tour is at the very end, when the plantation owners serve white pineapple, banana bread, chocolate cake and four types of bananas to dip into freshly made chocolate sauce. Tours are offered daily at 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and cost $28. Reservations are required 24 hours in advance. Tel: 8355-8224