Nicoya - Osa Peninsula

Published: March 1st 2019
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Long trip from one peninsula to the otherLong trip from one peninsula to the otherLong trip from one peninsula to the other

Our reason for stopping in Quepos
We left the Nicoya Peninsula and headed south towards the Osa Peninsula. We found a lovely Airbnb to stay at in the ocean side town of Golfito. Samara to Golfito was a 7.5 hour drive according to google maps. Google is not always correct - the road conditions often add a lot of time to these drives. We decided to break up the drive by staying for one night in a town called Quepos just outside of the popular surf town of Jaco. Jaco is a very large, busy with heavy tourist traffic. With it being so accessible from San Jose it has a lot of Tico (the term for local Costa Rican) visitors too. We decided Jaco wasn’t for us. We were looking for quiet secluded locations, not party destinations. Apparently we’re getting old. It was also very expensive with very limited accommodation options in Jaco since we would have been arriving on the weekend.

Our drive to Quepos was uneventful. There was a lot of traffic, namely large transport trucks (and no passing lanes) that slowed our travel. We stopped in Jaco for lunch. It was a busy drive through town, we found parking, got some more cash
Crocodile bridgeCrocodile bridgeCrocodile bridge

‘Don’t drop your phone’
from the atm (something we were unable to do in Samara before we left) and found a lonely planet recommended Taco restaurant for lunch. The service was a little slow (it was very busy!) but the tacos were to die for! I’m going to be on a mission to make tacos when we get home. Dave was wearing his cannery brewing T-shirt that says Penticton BC on the back and a couple sitting next to us introduced themselves since they are from Penticton also! Small world. This shirt of Dave’s has garnered plenty of attention and more than a few people have come up to introduce themselves or ask more specifically what part of BC we’re from.

While we were eating our tacos we looked to see if there were any breweries in the town - and there was! Puddlefish brewery. So we walked across the street and down a block to puddlefish brewery. We chatted with the bar tender/brewer Adrian and had a couple tasting flights. Their tanks are very visible and Dave was chatting a lot with Adrian about the different beers and Adrian offered to give us a tour. He took us on a quick tour of their very small facility. You could tell how proud he is of what they’ve accomplished in a few years since moving to their new location. They had some pretty good brews too.

When we got back to the bar, Dave and I were discussing getting him a T-shirt and I was looking through the ones they had there. Of course they didn’t have his size! As I came back to my seat to tell him this, Dave was mid conversation with Adrian asking if he wanted to switch T-shirt’s. Adrian said ‘yeah, we look about the same size’ and proceeded to take his shirt off behind the bar. Him and Dave switched shirts. It was quite funny, especially the looks of the other staff members! So now Dave has a Puddlefish brewing T-shirt in his size and Adrian will be walking around Jaco in a cannery brewery Penticton BC T-shirt! We had a great time and were actually sorry we had to leave.

Quepos was not far from Jaco. We found our hotel fairly easily and got checked in quickly. The hotel had a pool so we had a quick dip to cool off and then went
Puddlefish brew tourPuddlefish brew tourPuddlefish brew tour

Adrienne and Dave still wearing their own shirts
to find dinner. We just looked up some restaurants on google maps and read their trip advisor reviews. We made the wrong choice. We found a place called Tiquicia Delicias that had excellent reviews about good food and good service for a good price and when we got there it was packed. We took the last table. This was our worst experience for food in Costa Rica. This was at best glorified cafeteria food and it was expensive - one of the most expensive meals we had in Costa Rica. Dave ordered a basket of fries and for an extra couple dollars he ordered it with sausage - it came with hotdogs cut up. My fish was doused in a jelly like sauce that had no flavour and was just sweet. The service was good though - trip advisor was right about that. While we were there, we witnessed an elderly couple getting into a car out front; the wife in a wheelchair. It appeared that a young Tico man was helping them to their car but as the wife got settled and the man was getting into the drivers seat, the Tico started screaming at him very loudly and angrily. It was a little scary to witness. He was screaming and yelling in Spanish so we don’t know what his issue was but my guess would be that he expected to get paid for his assistance and wasn’t. And if all of this wasn’t bad enough already, the smell of raw sewage wafting in from the street to our table while we tried to eat was the ‘cherry’ on top of a horrible experience. This experience prompted Dave and I to write our own trip advisor reviews.

The raw sewage smell in Quepos was horrendous. Walking home was disgusting as well. The waters are not considered safe for swimming here. I assumed this was because it is a an old port city and there is water contamination from all the ships, but I think it’s because they are dumping raw sewage in the sea. The next morning when we left for breakfast the gutters seemed clear and the smell wasn’t noticeable. We did find a lovely little spot for breakfast called La Panera that makes their own cakes and good coffee. The girl at the counter spoke no English and we ordered breakfast without a menu in our limited Spanish. It was actually one of the best breakfasts we’ve had in Costa Rica. And cheap too. We will be writing a good trip advisor review about this little gem.

From Quepos we had a relatively short trip to Golfito. Golfito sits on the Golfo Dulce or bay inside the Osa peninsula, not on it. We were looking for a peaceful place to spend a few nights and some downtime from all the running around. Our original plan had been to spend this time in Uvita but unfortunate timing had us arriving just prior to the Envision festival starting feb 28th and accommodation was booked up. Not to mention, the town would be busy. The Envision festival actually sounds pretty interesting; there is music, yoga and classes on environmental awareness. You have to bring your own plates and utensils since all single use plastic has been banned.

We did stop in Uvita on our way through to visit Parque National Marina Ballena, which is a part of the coast that protects marine life and is where humpback whales come to give birth. Ironically the beach has a sand bar in the shape of a whales tail. We arrived at low tide when you can walk out on the whale tail but you can’t see its shape from the ground. It was unbelievably hot here. The sand was so hot you couldn’t walk in your bare feet unless close enough to the water. The tide was going out so there was still water draining down from the beach and it was like a hot tub temperature. So hot!! Even the water when you went to swim in it to cool off, was too warm! Who knew the Pacific Ocean could be too warm!? It was a fairly long walk out to the whale tail. I had gotten a pretty good sunburn to part of my back a couple days before when relaxing on the beach outside Samara. I was wearing 60 SPF at this point and Dave was diligently applying it every time I’d sweat it off, which was basically as soon as he’d apply it on. I took a tip from everyone walking back and got a towel out to use it as sun protection. It was the right call. Once we made it out to the end we were too hot to do much else. We decided to walk back in the water to stay cooler.

The road to Golfito is lined with Palm trees for the African palm oil industry. They are everywhere. Planted in rows. For as far as you can see at times. It was interesting. In Golfito we saw more of this process as large container ships come into port and truck after truck full of palm oil are lined up to unload their tanks. At every hour of the day!

Our sweet little Airbnb in Golfito was called Casita Sol for its yellow colour. It was perched up on the mountain looking down over Golfito bay with a beautiful view of the bay. This and the privacy and quiet it afforded us was well worth the 80 steps it took to get there! It was exactly what we needed. A comfy spot with AC, good wifi and even Netflix! We had a lovely little deck with a couple chairs which we enjoyed first with a glass of wine and then in the mornings with our coffee.

Our first night at Casita Sol we had neighbours in the blue house next door: Casita Ceilo. They were a nice young
the worst restaurant experience of our tripthe worst restaurant experience of our tripthe worst restaurant experience of our trip

I’m not covering my mouth because I’m going to spit it out - but because my mouth is full and Dave was taking my picture; although it warranted it.
couple from California who were in Costa Rica for the Envision festival. But after that it was just us up there. On our first day we borrowed a two person kayak and paddled around the bay - the only paddling we made time for during this trip unfortunately. It was nice but we timed it poorly! We went out across to what looked like an island for low tide - we caught the low tide but it started raining just before we got ashore. The first rain we’ve seen in Costa Rica! Not that it was cold... just wet. And the wind was blowing and a lot of water was coming into the kayak. The weather seemed to head out over the peninsula and not directly to us but there were dark grey clouds and thunder rolling around - just as load as the howler monkeys. We did paddle a bit more around the area before heading in. The rest of that day was mostly spent relaxing. Something Dave was desperately needing. He’s not such a big fan of the fast paced adventure travelling.

We looked into booking a guided tour of a nearby park or mangrove but no
Fries and sausage - aka hotdogs Fries and sausage - aka hotdogs Fries and sausage - aka hotdogs

The worst restraunt in Quepos
one returned our inquiries. The Osa Peninsula is essentially or entirely taken up by the Corcovado national park, known as the last true wilderness of Costa Rica. We had envisioned visiting the park while in Golfito since it’s just across the bay, but you have to have a guide to visit it and it seems challenging to do a single day or half day visit - it’s mostly for multi-way treks. Next time I guess 😉

The entire Golfito area and the surrounding areas are still very much jungle. So even though we weren’t hiking around in Corcovado itself, we still experienced the area. We found a reserve close to Golfito and went for a nice hike on our second full day in Golfito. The reserve was called the Golfito wildlife reserve and apparently it’s not very visited. This was evident in how difficult it was to pay for our park entry. We could have walked the trails without paying. And in fact we started on the trail without doing so but went back to put on our hiking boots and bug spray and tried again at paying. The trails were well marked, the scenery beautiful. We hiked all
African palm oil industry African palm oil industry African palm oil industry

Palm trees lining both sides of the highway for long stretches
the trails of the park (not that much really). First to a waterfall and then on the longer loop. The last loop took us close to the airport where you could hear someone weed whacking. It wasn’t exactly the most park-like experience at that moment. But other than that it was a good experience.

On our last night in Golfito we went to a nicer restaurant for dinner. It was at a marina that was a hotel/resort. The service was great and it was a beautiful setting. The food was good but it was very frustrating because they were out of EVERYTHING I tried to order. In the end Dave and I shared guacamole, he had a burger (and enormous burger!!) and I ordered the Aztec soup (was actually incredibly good). The guacamole was fun though. The server made it at our table in a large mortar and pestle and we got to direct how much of all the ingredients to add. It was very tasty. During dinner we watched a large container ship makes it was out of the port and another make its way in - very slowly. And as we drove back to Casita Sol we saw all the tanker trucks lining up again to offload their palm oil.

Additional photos below
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No swimmming - unless you’re a badass Costa Rican childNo swimmming - unless you’re a badass Costa Rican child
No swimmming - unless you’re a badass Costa Rican child

The sign read no swimming, beware of crocodiles 🐊
Parque national marina Ballena- UvitaParque national marina Ballena- Uvita
Parque national marina Ballena- Uvita

My sun protection for the LONG walk out to the wail tail sand bar in the excessively hot heat - with a preexisting sunburn on my back 🤦🏼‍♀️
Cabina Sol trekCabina Sol trek
Cabina Sol trek

The 80 steps to the cabina call for some ice cream!
Cabina SolCabina Sol
Cabina Sol

Golfito accommodation
Cabina SolCabina Sol
Cabina Sol

Our sweet little cabina on a hill - absolutely adorable
Tasty cocktail treatsTasty cocktail treats
Tasty cocktail treats

Dave ordered an iced Irish coffee and I ordered a passion fruit daquiry. Yumm 🍸
Golfito sunsetGolfito sunset
Golfito sunset

View from our casita sol accomodation

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