Costa Rica has long been used as a safe haven for Americans looking to escape — from the long arm of the law, heavy tax burdens, cold weather, and their former lives. Loved as much for its agreeable climate as its luscious scenery and sun-dappled coastline, the country has become overrun with visitors. From the streets of San Jose’s haphazard sprawl to the jam-packed luxury resorts of the Guanacaste Region (the “Gold Coast”), there are few attractive spots here that haven’t become tourist traps.
Not so on the Osa Peninsula, a largely untrodden tongue of land on the southern Pacific Coast. An eco-friendly natural playground unknown to the package vacation hordes, this distant corner of Costa Rica is an undiscovered treasure. It’s an untamed natural landscape of deserted beaches, rushing streams, cascading waterfalls, and lush mountains teeming with wildlife, not to mention Corcovado National Park, one of Central America’s largest expanses of lowland tropical rainforest. Needless to say, there are ample opportunities here for unspoiled swimming, surfing, fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, and bird-watching.
Over the last few years, back-to-landers, entrepreneurs, and adventure seekers have trickled in, but Osa remains quiet, peaceful, and blissfully secluded. It’s still the kind of place where you might stumble upon a breathtaking strip of sand that you can have all to yourself, a luxury that is becoming harder to find.
But take note and make haste: the government has plans to build an international airport near here, something that will make the region much more accessible to globetrotters (currently, it is only served by a small domestic airport at Puerto Jiménez, the peninsula’s largest town).
Thankfully, Costa Rica’s legendary red tape will probably keep the project on the shelf for a while. So what are you waiting for?
Part of a NileGuide Special Report: 25 Destinations to See Before They Change Forever.