Costa Rica

Costa Rica Itinerary Day 6: The Osa Peninsula: Sierpe

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Last Updated on April 1, 2023 by Carolyn

Explore the Osa Peninsula

Gorgeous Flora

The next morning we woke up to a beautiful sunny day. We enjoyed our morning coffee on the porch watching birds flitting from tree to tree. We admired the beautiful flowers just beyond our porch; an angel’s trumpet tree was in bloom, along with ornamental ginger, bamboo orchid, and a variety of other exotic blooms. Before setting out to explore the Osa Peninsula we wanted to go for a short hike in the jungle.

Osa Mountain Village Waterfall Hike

We set out on one of the short waterfall hikes that Patricia said had been freshly cleared. It was easily accessed from the development, though it was easy to see how quickly the jungle reclaims its ground, the freshly cleared trail didn’t seem so clear. The path wound down towards the river through a mystical jungle forest. We weaved our way through tree ferns that towered above our heads and clambered over the immense roots of Kapok trees that reminded me of the unwieldy trees from Jumanji. Best of all, morpho butterflies danced in and out of the trees their beautiful iridescent blue wings flashing here and there, disappearing and then reappearing a little distance away. It was magical.

Blue morpho butterflies are one of the world’s largest butterflies with a wingspan of up to 20 cm. The act of disappearing and reappearing in flight is one of the Blue Morpho butterfly’s defense mechanisms. Predators have a hard time visually tracking them a fact I can attest to when trying to capture a good photo of one.

I was lucky I didn’t trip over any of the many vines or roots as my eyes were always scanning the treetops for the elusive sloths, of which I didn’t see any. The main trail ended at a waterfall tumbling down from the hillside above to the creek below. We cooled off in the water and then sat on one of the many moss-laden rocks and just listened to the sounds of the jungle: The soothing sound of the water tumbling over rocks, the songs of unseen birds twittering in the treetops, and the constant drone of the cicadas.

Waterfalls are plentiful in the Osa Peninsula
Waterfall trail Osa Mountain Village


After our walk, we headed out for a drive to explore the Osa Peninsula. We drove to Ciudad Cortes which was a surprisingly large town, but not all that interesting. After that, we drove to Sierpe. Sierpe is one of the jumping-off points for Corcovado tours. If we had had time we certainly would have taken a tour to Corcovado National Park the “Crown Jewel” of Costa Rica’s national parks! The tours from Sierpe start with an hour and a half boat ride that takes you through the mangrove swamps where you can see crocodiles, monkeys, numerous birds, and sloths. After that, the boat enters the ocean and heads towards the National Park San Pedrillo station. There you are treated to a 3-4 hike in Corcovado National Park, lunch, and perhaps a swim before heading back at the end of the afternoon.

Corcovado National Park is home to some very unique animals including the endangered Baird’s Tapir ( a creature that looks like an elephant crossed with a pig), a variety of big cats including Ocelot’s, Morgay, Jaguarruni, and Puma’s and is known to be one of the last places on earth to see Jaguar’s in the wild. The park is only 164 square miles in size but is known to host 2.5 % of the WORLD’S biodiversity within its boundaries. This is definitely a must-visit for wildlife lovers.

You must hire a guide to tour the park as the park is very remote, and is home to some dangerous wildlife and an unforgiving hot steamy jungle environment, where you wouldn’t want to be lost. For a glimpse of life in Corcovado National Park click on the link above, there is some really nice footage of the flora and fauna of the park.

Tapir photo credit to Rutpratheep-Niplpechr
Tapir photo credit to Rutpratheep-Niplpechr

Sierpe is also a point of departure for day tours to the renowned Cano Island 16km northwest of the Osa Peninsula. Cano Island features some of Costa Rica’s best diving and claims to be the most beautiful island in the South Pacific of Costa Rica. The island is a biological reserve and the entry of people is restricted, with it being forbidden to stay on the island after 3:00 pm. Around the island there are coral reefs of several hectares in size. It is also a humpback whale breeding ground.

Sierpe itself is a very unpretentious, non-touristy river town surrounded by mangrove forests. I was again amused by horses just grazing on lawns without tethers or fences. I had read that Scarlet Macaws could often be seen in the park in the city center so we went there for a while and sure enough while walking in the park I heard a loud “Sqwaaauukk”. It wasn’t coming from within the park but I could tell the direction it was coming from and jumped into our car and headed that way. We were treated to a tree with about 8-10 Scarlet Macaws roosting within its limbs. it’s quite something to see these large flamboyant birds in the wild. We watched them until a slow drizzle of rain became a downpour and forced us back into our car.

Horse Wandering Loose in Sierpe

Mysterious Megalithic Stone Spheres

On the way back to Osa Mountain Village, we stopped in another park, this time in Palma Sur. Here we viewed some huge ancient stone spheres. It’s hard to believe that these ancient relics date back to 1500 BC. Their story and purpose remain a mystery.

Megalithic Stone Sphere
Megalithic Stone Sphere

We then meandered back to our accommodations for a quiet evening reading and then lulled to sleep by the humid conditions and sounds of the tropical rain.

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  • Amber

    I’ve wanted to see a Scarlet Macaw for many years, I’m so glad that you were able to see some on your trip! Loved this post, thanks for sharing.

  • Heather

    Absolutely gorgeous! While we don’t have any immediate plans to travel to Costa Rica, we would like to visit someday. We will be sure to check out Sierpe when we do. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jeanine

    This is a beautiful place I love the angels trumpet and ornamental ginger…the trees and would love to visit one day…the humidity is the thing that would stop me

      • Jeanine

        Ahh that would make it much more bearable for a short time (I did have to convert to degree C ha ha). You paint such a beautiful picture of the area, can’t wait to read more…the native wildlife so foriegn to me… it’s gorgeous.

  • Mayra

    The waterfall and all the flowers look gorgeous. I love tree ferns! I also feel like I landed on a Jumanji board when I walk around them. LOL!
    Costa Rica is so full of life and amazing landscapes. I haven’t been to this part of the country, but now it’s on my list to check it out!

    • Carolyn

      Jumangi or Jurassic park lol! There are so many gorgeous places in Costa Rica and the bonus is not a lot of crowds in most places, though last November it was the busiest I’d ever seen it.

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