Nature on the Osa Peninsula
The small Central American country of Costa Rica is best known for the enlightened protection of its wealth of tropical biodiversity through a coordinated system of National Parks, Forest Reserves, Private Reserves and Wildlife Refuges.
The Osa Peninsula is located on the Southern pacific side of Costa Rica, with a total annual rainfall of 3000mm and temperatures up to 93⁰F in the dry season. The Osa’s high level of biological diversity coupled with its unique combination of 13 distinct tropical ecosystems have made it a high global conservation priority. With a total area of only 121,500 hectares, the Osa is home to 50% of species found in Costa Rica, including many endemic species.
The Osa Peninsula is home to:
- 2-3% of Earth’s flora found nowhere else
- 323 endemic species of plants and vertebrates
- Largest population of Scarlet Macaws in Central America
- 10,000+ insects
- 4,000+ vascular plants
- 700+ tree species
- 463 birds
- 140 mammals including 25 species of dolphins and whales
- 4 sea turtle species
The Osa Peninsula contains some of the world’s best remaining tropical rainforest and wildlife, with jaguars, tapirs, and much, much more protected by the Corcovado National Park. It also protects the 25-mile stretch of tranquil waters known as Golfo Dulce on its inland side. Corcovado National Park abuts the more recently established Piedras Blancas National Park, which creates a forest corridor around Golfo Dulce that includes the Golfito Forest Reserve. This forest ring makes Golfo Dulce, one of only four tropical fjords on the planet, one of the most beautiful bodies of water to cruise in Costa Rica.
The Golfo Dulce is one of the most unique and interesting areas in Costa Rica. It literally translates as “sweet gulf” referring to the relatively low salinity of the surface water because of the tremendous annual runoff from the surrounding tropical rainforests. This unspoiled ecosystem is one of the few places in the world where rain forest covered slopes drop directly into the ocean. This combines the diversity and magic of tropical virgin rain forests, with the peace and beauty of private, secluded beaches, set around an incredible world of exotic marine life.
Its bed is rich with volcanic reefs, crevices and caves that have become the breeding grounds for a staggering variety of marine life. It is believed that the gulf is the only place in the world where the humpback whales from both the northern and southern hemispheres gather to breed. Its calm waters have created the preferred home for super pods of dolphins with numbers up to 10,000.
The gulf, which is roughly 16 kilometers wide and 48 kilometers long, is very manageable by boat, while offering an unlimited number of environments and opportunities to explore and discover your “tropical nature” at its best. It is truly quite incredible.
Enjoy the various sub sections of this part of our webpage where you can discover some interesting facts about some of the species you might see on your Costa Rica boat tour.