We’ve traveled all over Costa Rica and have seen a lot of rainforest. So we were wondering how is this one going to be different? To find out, we took a trip with our friends, The Pearce Family. Both of us are digitally nomadic families that have lived in Costa Rica for the past 1 1/2 years.
The Osa isn’t easy to get to. It’s not difficult, but it is adventurous. You can’t drive there, especially in the rainy season. Most access to the Osa Peninsula is done through Sierpe, about a 4-5 hour drive from our home in Atenas. To break up the drive we stopped and stayed in Dominical, a small beach town 40 minutes south of Manual Antonio National Park. We ate at the most delicious Thai & Malaysian restaurant, Coconut Spice, then checked into our hotel at Villas Rio Mar, a beautiful property. We enjoyed lots of pool time and a delicious dinner. The next day we began our Osa adventure by driving south another 1 1/2 hours to the town of Sierpe, where we left our car in a secure parking lot.
Remoteness of the Osa Peninsula
Far removed from economies, exchange rates and western influence – the original, wild, natural Costa Rica still exists. It exists because there are nearly no roads that lead to it. You must travel by boat. The lodges on the Osa get their supplies via boat from Sierpe. All things Osa seem to begin in Sierpe – just as our journey did.
We found the Las Vegas Restaurant in Sierpe, where most of the water taxis dock. As we waited, people were piling onto one of the boats. It looked full and we wondered which boat we’d be taking. All 9 of us squeezed onto that same boat. It was a fast ride, until the motor went out and we had to wait for a rescue boat. A lot of shuffling and moving packages and we are off again.
This river has the largest mangroves in Costa Rica. It was a wide river and we were going fast, so we didn’t get to see a lot of wildlife. Then, life jackets were being handed out. I wondered why we had to put on life jackets 45 minutes into the journey?
And then I saw it. The wide river opened to an even wider ocean and the waves were rolling in non-stop. It was high tide. Upon hitting the first wave I was glad to have my life jacket. Our boat driver did an excellent job managing the waves- one wrong move could have been dangerous. Nonetheless, I hunkered down holding my one year old tight, and wondered if traveling on a turbulent ocean with a 1 and 3 year old is a smart idea. Another 45 minutes later, we pulled into Drake Bay – where people were waiting on the shore to see who and what supplies have arrived for them. The boat driver stopped about 100m from the beach to collect payment and people took off their shoes and rolled up their pants. After payment was collected, the boat pulled in closer to the beach area.
I didn’t know what to expect, perhaps a dock of some sort – not people jumping/stepping off the back of the boat into the water. It seemed so raw, not polished. But that’s what this place is.
We stayed on the boat for another 15 minutes before arriving in Punta Marenco, where we had a narrow clearing of rocks that the boat pulled up to. As we came closer to shore, a whole troop of people were waiting for our arrival. They helped us out of the boat and helped us carry our luggage and babies up to the lodge.
Punta Marenco Lodge
An eco-lodge in the truest sense. This is not one of those hyped and toursity eco-lodges. This is the way to live out here and be in harmony with nature as much as possible while maintaining few comforts. There are no electrical lines, no public water system and *gasp* no internet. The lodge has a small generator that runs from 5:30 pm – 10 pm. Only 4 1/2 hours a day to power 2 light bulbs in each cabin: 1 for the bathroom and 1 in the main bedroom. No outlets. Charging camera and cell phone batteries was done at the main building during those hours.
Meals are included at Punta Marenco Lodge, as they should be, since there are no other options for dining. No town to walk to, no restaurants, only the jungle and the ocean. That’s it and it’s a beautiful thing. The lodge is owned by a Costa Rican family and they made us feel a part of their family while we were there.
The cabins sit on top of a hill and face the ocean. It feels like staying in a tree house surrounded by green everywhere. From our deck we enjoyed watching monkeys, toucans and the other birds that call the Osa Peninsula home. We even spotted a whale coming up for air on our first night here.
Dinner that evening was fresh caught fish . We went to bed knowing that we had quite an adventure just getting here and couldn’t wait to start exploring the area.
Photos from our Day