Exploring One of the Best Places to Visit in Costa Rica – Southern Pacific

Some of the best places to visit in Costa Rica are hidden in the rainy jungle areas in the central Pacific regions of Costa Rica.  Your Tamarindo vacation rental is a full day’s drive north of these spectacular jungle surprises, so to see them, you’re going to have to call your boss, contact the airline and extend your trip!  It’s worth it.  The purity of the beautiful jungle you will discover off the beaten path in Costa Rica is amazing.   These are spots that your average tourist on the average Costa Rica vacation is not going to see or probably even heard of, but we thought you might want to know about.

costa rica southern pacific
Photo by Alan Godfrey

You could get to the southern Pacific portion of Costa Rica either on a SANSA flight from Tamarindo’s small regional airport to Puerto Jimenez in the heart of this lush area, or you can drive.  Both options offer beautiful scenery from a different perspective.  How much time do you have?

If you drive, make sure that you take the coast road, pass Jaco and Quepos and keep pushing south.  It won’t be long until you’re winding between the ocean and the mountains on your way to Dominical.  This area is famous as being among the best places to visit in Costa Rica for surfing and whale watching.  Whales obeying migratory patterns pass through deep water close to the Costa Rican shoreline every year, giving us wonderful opportunities to observe them.  Other areas, like Tamarindo, for example, set behind a more significant ocean shelf which makes whale sightings somewhat unusual.  In the Southern Pacific segment of Costa Rica, however, whales are much easier to see and you will have a much better chance of getting to watch them glide by in the water.  Another thing that Dominical and other southern beaches have due to the proximity of deep ocean water is big waves.  Take your surf lessons in Tamarindo for sure, and leave the southern surf to the more experienced paddlers.

Osa PennisulaPhoto by Steve Halama


While you’re in the Dominical area, before you push south to Uvita and beyond, spend a day at the Nauyaca Waterfall.  This amazing spectacle is one of the most unbelievable things you will see during your visit to Costa Rica.  Take a jungle horseback ride through the rainforest and end up at a hidden waterfall that thunders from the mountain.  Bring your bathing suit because you’ll want to jump in!

The whole southern region of Costa Rica is full of surprises that your average tourist never sees.  Its distance from both international airports weed out most travelers right away because if you come to Costa Rica with only a week to explore, there are so many other easier, closer destinations.  But you’ve been to all of them already, and you’re ready to take it up a notch–to see the real rainforest and to live on the outer edges of the grid.  The extreme dry season that is natural to the Pacific Northwest (Tamarindo) never makes it into the southern third of Costa Rica.  Here, it is green all year round, trees looking like something from Lord of the Rings form solid canopies and ferns you thought were only houseplants tower wild above your head.

osa pennisula
Photo courtesy of https://nauyacawaterfallscostarica.com

Push south past Dominical and you’ll come to Uvita.  In Uvita, you’ll want to visit Marino Ballena (Whale) National Park, go snorkeling, and watch the humpback whales that pass by on their annual migratory routes.

Past Uvita, you’ll arrive at the Osa Peninsula, the true jewel at the heart of the south of Costa Rica.  Our featured property there is called Casa del Cabo, a two-bedroom luxury jungle bungalow perched on a hill that overlooks the sapphire blue of the Golfo Dulce.  This home is the ideal Costa Rica vacation rental for nature lovers who enjoy open-air living in harmony with their environment.  It is constructed from local natural-fall lumber and leaves a minimal ecological footprint. Dozens of fruit trees planted around the property feed birds, monkeys, and iguanas as well as the home’s visitors on fresh seasonal fruit.  You can walk to the beach from this home to surf, fish, beachcomb and swim all day long.  It’s easily at the top of the list of the best places to visit in Costa Rica.

costa rica vacation rental
Casa del Cabo is a luxury jungle bungalow near Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula

There are two more things you have to do while you’re traveling through Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coastal region.  One of them is that you have to visit Corcovado National Park.  Corcovado National park is where you will find the only remaining old growth rainforest on the Pacific coast of Central America.  The park includes 23 miles of pristine beaches and a diversity of flora and fauna unequaled anywhere else in Central America.  Backpacking is the recommended way to see Corcovado National Park.  All park visitors are required to enter with a certified guide who will help to ensure your safety.  If jungle camping isn’t your style, shorter day-time hikes can lead you through the beauty of this unique park and get you back into your bed for a good night’s sleep.

The second thing you can’t miss in this region if you’re a surfer, is Pavones.  Across the Golfo Dulce from Corcovado National Park, Pavones is about a stone’s throw from Panama.  It is also one of the longest-breaking lefts in the world, so if you’re a goofy-foot surfer, GET THERE.  The curvature of the way the land and sea meet on the south point of the Golfo Dulce creates a wave that is unimaginably long.  You’ll get out with your board and walk back up the beach to paddle out again and again until you’re so tired you can only sit at the beach-front bar by the break and watch it peel.  Now, that’s a dream vacation!

Pavones.  Photo courtesy of Una Ola Surf Camp

The real question to ponder is, “How are you going to make this happen?”  If you’re able to take a longer break from your day job, you could combine a southern jungle safari trip with a Tamarindo vacation rental.  After a trek through the untamed south, Tamarindo–with our tame beaches and upscale selection of cuisine–will seem like the lap of luxury to everyone you’re traveling with!  If you’re already familiar with Guanacaste and you’re willing to pass us by on this trip, you could simply fly into and out of San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport which will be closer to these destinations than Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport.

Contact us now and let us help you plan your Costa Rica trip. We’re the local experts and our Concierge can answer all of your questions and throw you helpful tips to make sure this trip to Costa Rica is the best one you’ve ever taken!