The Southern Pacific Coast, renowned for its beauty, is one of the more remote areas of Costa Rica. The last Pacific lowland rainforest of sustainable size in Central America is found in Corcovado National Park. Corcovado has been called “The most biologically intense place on earth” by no less an authority than the National Geographic Society. Also, Caño Island offers some or the best snorkeling in Costa Rica.
The best time to visit the area is during the months of January through April when is little rain. But if you don’t mind a downpour, the blooms and the lush green of the forest will more than compensate for any dampness.
An hour’s flight from San José will transport you to another world. Top-notch resort operates out of the area and specialize in given personalized adventure tours. Diving, snorkeling, hiking and bird watching are ideal for the true exploration of a country.
The traveler will find a variety of lodging in the area offering efficient and friendly service. Boats are the main means of transportation for visiting coastal areas of the peninsula, so throw in the sun gear. The beaches of Pan Dulce, Carate and Carbonara are quite beautiful and great for a day trip.
What to do in the South Pacific of Costa Rica
1- Isla del Caño Biological Reserve
Caño Island is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands in Costa Rica, it is located approximately 20 kilometers west of the Osa Peninsula, just northeast of the Corcovado National Park. In addition to its white sand beaches and five platforms of living coral reefs, Isla del Caño is one of the most important pre-Columbian archaeological sites in the country. It was used by its pre-Columbian inhabitants as a cemetery and sacred place, and some of the largest stone spheres were found on this island.
2- Museum of stone spheres
The stone spheres are a symbol of Costa Rican identity. More than 300 stone spheres of various sizes have been found, from a few centimeters to 2.5 meters in diameter. The stone spheres have been found mainly in the banana farms of Palmar Sur, mainly in Finca 6 and Isla del Caño. Finally, in 2014 the first Museum of Stone Spheres was created where they can be seen within their original location and learn about their history.
3- Surf in Dominical Beach and Dominicalito Beach
Dominical Beach is one of the most interesting beaches for surfing, as it has strong waves. On the other hand, Playa Dominicalito offers a much calmer wave and with its light brown sands and the forest bordering the shore, it is a place of great beauty for tourists. At the southern end is Punta Dominical, which has viewpoints from a rocky hill covered with vegetation, and islet Roca Arbol, which offers a beautiful mountainous landscape on the coast.
4- Boruca indigenous reserve
The South Pacific is home to several indigenous groups among which are the Cabécares, the Guaymies and the Borucas. In the area you can find several indigenous reserves that are a beautiful and different tourist attraction. The town of Boruca, anchored in the forest of the area, is a charming place where you can still observe the way of life of this indigenous group. In the Boruca Indigenous Community Museum, the typical architecture and traditional indigenous houses are rescued, as well as the exhibition of artistic work from the area, such as masks, gourds and water sticks, among others. A few kilometers from the center of town, you reach a sacred place for the Borucas where it is possible to see a complex of waterfalls that are considered among the most beautiful in the country. In December, the Fiesta de los Diablitos is celebrated, a Boruca tradition that represents the fight to the death against the Spanish culture that invades indigenous territories.
5- Drake Bay and Corcovado National Park
Located north of the Osa Peninsula, is the Corcovado National Park and Drake Bay. It has a wonderful and unique natural and archaeological wealth in the country. Corcovado is considered the site with the highest concentration of flora and fauna species in the country, making it a mega-biodiverse area, which is why it is also known as the open zoo of Costa Rica. Until recently Drake Bay, and specifically the town of Agujitas, could only be accessed by sea. Its beaches are rocky and with a scenic beauty without equal. In addition to the wildlife that inhabits these lands, the area is also known for its nearby attractions such as Isla del Caño, the Térraba-Sierpe Wetland and the Esfera de Piedra Archaeological Museum, among others.
6- San Vito de Coto Brus
San Vito is the head of the canton of Coto Brus, established by an agreement between the Italian Society for Agricultural Colonization (SICA) and the Government of Costa Rica to develop the area. This is how an Italian colony was founded in the southern part of the country. San Vito is known for its friendly climate, its good coffee harvested on the slopes of Agua Buena, and for its original Italian gastronomy. SanVito offers several tourist attractions to discover such as: the Wilson Botanical Garden, archaeological sites, caverns, hot springs and waterfalls among others.
7- Nauyaca Falls
The Nauyaca falls are located 12 kilometers from Dominical on the road to Pérez Zeledón, on a private estate. The unusual beauty of these falls makes them a quintessential place for both foreign and domestic visitors. They are also known as “Santo Cristo or Don Lulo” waterfalls. In addition to admiring the beauty of the landscape and the lush vegetation of the area, there is a fresh water pool to swim and enjoy an experience with nature.
8- Terraba Sierpe Mangroves
The Terraba-Sierpe mangroves represent the largest and most important wetland in the country, since it is one of the ecosystems with high sensitivity to environmental changes and its richness of biodiversity. On the banks of the Sierpe river is the small town of the same name, located about 15 kilometers from Palmar Sur. Due to the beauty of its landscapes and as a quick access route to the sea, it is widely used by tourists who want to visit Drake Bay, Corcovado National Park and Caño Island, among others.
9- Marino Ballena National Park
Playa Ballena and the Tres Hermanas rocks are part of the Marino Ballena National Park, which extends from Punta Uvita to Punta Piñuela. Playa Ballena takes its name from the shape of a whale’s tail that its beach has. It is a protected area of great beauty due to its coastal landscape, from where you can see humpback whales (August to October and December to April) and dolphins at different times of the year. Its beach has little waves and fine sand of light brown color.