- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches
- Costa Rica’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
- Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Unique Retreats & Resorts
- Surf’s Up in Costa Rica
- Off-The-Beaten-Path Eco-Adventures
- Costa Rica Family-Friendly Adventures
- Adrenaline Rush
The end-of-the-road village of Sierpe, 15 kilometers due south of Palmar, is a hamlet on the banks of the Río Sierpe, trapped forlornly between banana plantations and swamp.
Sierpe serves as departure point for boats to Drake Bay and for exploring the Delta Térraba.
Térraba-Sierpe Wetland Reserve
The 22,000-hectare Térraba-Sierpe Wetland Reserve is a vast network of mangrove swamps fed by the waters of the Ríos Térraba (to the north) and Sierpe (to the south), which near the sea form an intricate lacework of channels and tidal esteros (estuaries) punctuated by islets anchored by manglares (mangroves). The delta, which extends along 40 kilometers of shoreline, is home to crocodiles, caimans, and myriad birds.
Tour Gaviotas de Osa (tel. 506/2788-1212, www.tourgaviotasdeosa.com) and Southern Expeditions (tel. 506/2787-0100, www.southernexpeditions.com) have mangrove and crocodile tours (by day and night), plus fishing, hiking, and whale-watching trips. Both are dockside in Sierpe. Costa Rica Adventures (tel. 506/2788-1603, www.osaexpeditions.com), in the village center, competes.
Hotels and Restaurants
Sierpe has plenty of budget cabinas. Cabinas Las Gaviota de Osa (tel. 506/2788-1212, $12 pp) has six cabinas with fans and private bath with cold water only. Nearby, newer, and nicer, Cabinas Sofia (tel. 506/2788-1229, http://bit.ly/hh3EiU, cabinassofia [at] gmail [dot] com, $20 s/d) has simple air-conditioned riverside rooms, plus Internet.
Cabinas Mozelle (tel. 506/2788-1374, www.cabinscostarica.com, $20 pp low season, $25 pp high season) has clean, simple cabins, plus a garden and “jungle pool.” Owners Ashley and Josh arrange a wide variety of adventure trips.
The no-frills Hotel Oleaje Sereno (tel. 506/2786-1103, www.hoteloleajesereno.com, $45 s, $70 d) has a good riverside restaurant, secure parking, and a handy locale next to the dock, but is overpriced for its simply appointed rooms.
On the east side of the bridge, the charming Veragua River House (tel. 506/2788-1460, www.hotelveragua.com, $50 s/d) has reopened. The artist owner, Benedetto, has turned this old two-story riverside house into a splendid lodge. Inside is like a piece of Sienna transplanted, simply yet tastefully furnished with sponge-washed walls, old wicker and antiques, aging sofas, and Oriental throw rugs on the terra-cotta floors. There’s a pool table in the parlor. The upper floor has a library-lounge. Three rooms in the house share a Victorian-style bathroom with clawfoot tub, louvered windows, and a rocker. One of the rooms is in the loft, with dormer windows and a honeymoon feel. Four cabins in the garden are simpler yet still romantic; some have iron-frame beds. Guests share the kitchen and outside rotisserie oven in a stone courtyard. Tours are offered. It also has a beach house ($120 up to five people).
Ecolodges accessed solely by boat include Río Sierpe Lodge (tel. 506/8702-5696, www.riosierpelodge.com, see website for package rates), 25 kilometers downriver from Sierpe near the river’s mouth. It specializes in fishing and diving excursions. The 11 wood-paneled rooms are rustic but large, and each has a private bathroom with solar-heated water. Six additional rooms have lofts. There’s a dining and recreational area with a library. The lodge also has trails into the nearby rainforests and offers hiking, horseback trips, kayaking, and excursions. It specializes in multiday packages.
An almost identical alternative is Sabalo Lodge (tel. 506/8866-9082, www.sabalolodge.com, from $95 s/d), a family-run ecolodge midway between Sierpe and Drake Bay. It offers elegant rusticity and close-up access to the mangroves and rainforest. Rooms and cabins are solar-powered and modestly but charmingly appointed. Home-cooked meals are served, and tours and fishing trips are offered. It specializes in multiday packages.
Getting to Sierpe
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition