Skooter reporting 06/19/12
Osa Peninsula: Best for wildlife
I learn some interesting story about this peninsula from my friend Orgel Chavarria who was raised on the Osa. The story that I picked from his brain was based on history, my favorite subject during my high school days. So I listened well to him. In the spring of 1579, , I don’t know if you know the guy, landed on the shores of Costa Rica’s Osa peninsula. To make repairs to his ship, he needed a safe spot where he would not be bothered by the Spanish fleet, having recently divested a galleon of its treasure. Here, he found the right spot that he was looking for: a chain of isolated bays facade by a huge mesh of rainforest. Plus it provided an exceptional place to hide, it had lots of wildlife. In his journals, he records great quantities of fish, ‘alargartoes’, and ‘munckeyes’. What he meant were fish, crocodiles and monkeys are found here in abundance. The views that Drake admired from his ship the “Golden Hind” have been touched a little.
The coast remains a chaos of sweltering rainforest, and the main way of getting around Bahía Drake , the small Osa settlement named for the swashbuckler, is still by boat or foot. Today the peninsula contains the last remaining component of coastal Pacific rainforest in Central America, preserving the habitats of hard to pin down jungle species such as the jaguar and puma, not to mention a list of other exotic characters from squirrel monkeys and sloths to silky anteaters and poison-dart frogs.
‘You’ll see animals here that you simply can’t find anywhere else,’ says Orgel Chavarría. I understand he now helps run the westernmost ranger station of the Corcovado National Park at San Pedrillo, where long leg herons patrol a tidal pool out the front. ‘This is a treasure.’
A network of tracks links one end of Corcovado to the other, via a carpet of lowland rainforest and past estuaries where Drake’s ‘alargartoes’ sleep off their lunch. In the upper reaches of the forest canopy, bunches of macaws cackle loudly.
Eyeing some of the jungle’s timid creatures requires patience, slaty-tailed trogon birds blend into the knot of tree branches, and gangs of croaking frogs come out only at night. ‘This is not a zoo,’ says Orgel with a gentle smile. ‘The animals are constantly on the move. You’ll see them, but you have to be quiet and be willing to wait. Sometimes, nature decides when she is ready to come to you.’
I think he got a point there. Yes, be patient and wait. That’s what I do.
Where to eat and stay
Set on a reserve bordering the National Park, Casa Corcovado has bright bungalows with screened-in porches, two bars, several swimming pools and a dining hall serving local specialities. Rates include meals and a guided hike (three-night packages from £500 per person)