Chacarita to Agujitas
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Access to the Osa Peninsula is via a single road that runs along the east coast to the village and service center of Puerto Jiménez and, beyond, Cabo Matapalo before curling west to dead-end at Carate, on the border with Corcovado National Park.
The turnoff from the Pan-American Highway (Hwy. 2) is at Chacarita, about 32 kilometers southeast of Palmar and 26 kilometers northwest of Río Claro. There’s a gas station at the junction.
The road to Puerto Jiménez was finally paved in 2010. The only settlement of any significance along the route is Rincón, 42 kilometers south of Chacarita.
The Neotropic Foundation Tropical Center (tel. 506/2253-2130, www.neotropica.org) at Agua Buena de Rincón has forest trails and guided hikes, including a Night Walk at Los Patos, plus kayaking.
Hotels and Restaurants
Stuck in Rincón? The Cabinas Golfo Dulce (tel. 506/2775-0244, $20 s, $25 d) has seven basically furnished rooms with verandas in a two-story lodge. Five rooms have shared bath; the rest have private bath but cold water only. It offers boat tours.
Run by a delightful Tico family, El Mirador Osa (tel. 506/8823-6861, www.elmiradorosa.com, $30 pp including breakfast and tax), midway between Chacarita and Rincón, straddles a ridge with glorious views over both the gulf and the forested Osa Peninsula. Five cozy, charming if simple wooden cabins with kitchenettes, and meals (for hotel guests only) served in a homey family setting, make this a winner. It has Internet and a small pool, and it offers tours.
I also recommend the Swiss- and Tico-run Suital Lodge (tel. 506/8826-0342, www.suital.com, $40 s or $60 d low season, $45 s or $66 d high season), between Chacarita and Rincón. This simple but pleasing wooden lodge has hillside vistas over the gulf. Its three spacious, cross-ventilated wooden cabins sit on stilts and have ceiling fans, mosquito nets, small terraces with rockers, and hot-water showers. Meals are served, and box lunches are prepared. There are four kilometers of trails, including to the beach.
The Neotropic Foundation (tel. 506/2253-2130, www.neotropica.org) has a lodge with 14 clean private rooms plus a restaurant at Agua Buena de Rincón. Trails lead into the forest.
Although overpriced, Villa Corcovado (tel. 506/8722-1127, www.villascorcovado.com, $292 s or $398 d low season, $390 s or $570 d high season, including meals), at Rincón, is a lovely option set beside the gulf, with its own beach, reached by a steep snaking descent. The eight huge villas are attractively furnished with rattans, gorgeous hardwood floors, and tropical colors, and have king-size canopy beds, modern bathrooms with rainforest showers, and gulf views through glassless screened walls and from broad verandas with hammocks. The elegant open-air restaurant overlooks a floodlit pool at night and utilizes fresh produce from the organic garden; gourmet picnic baskets are prepared. It offers kayaking, and forest trails lead to a lookout.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition