Pura Vida 2023!

7 days and 6 nights in the Costa Rican Rainforest

January 22 through January 29, 2023

 

This trip is suitable for anyone in good health and reasonably fit.

 

 

I get excited going through this itinerary! The Osa Peninsula is teeming with wildlife! We’ll get to experience the jungle, the treetops, waterfalls, tide pools, the beach and the ocean and all the things that live in them. We’ll have the best combination of exciting excursions and relaxation in paradise. Expect mouthwatering, nutritious, farm to table meals. Expect simple, but clean and comfortable accommodations. Expect to be unplugged! No cell service, A/C or blow dryers; and no worries!  And be prepared to be flexible. This part of CR is off the beaten path and has not been “Disney-fied” for U.S. tourists. I’ve been visiting the Osa since 2011, and no trip has ever gone exactly according to plan. 🤪 But it is always fun and always an adventure! The outfitters are small but reputable. Safety is always top priority, and Costa Ricans are wonderful hosts.

Tentative itinerary:

22nd or 23rd January:

Arrive in San Jose, CR; ON OWN. You will make your own travel arrangements to San Jose, CR.

Book your flight ...

Book your flight into the SJO airport. Right now, both American and United have fares around or under $800 RT. (I saw one American flight for $660!) If you can arrive before noon (often not possible), you’ll be able to catch a puddle hopper flight to the Osa Peninsula on the same day. But if you cannot arrive before noon, no worries… we have arranged for a special rate of $126/person at the Adventure Inn, near the SJO airport. If you are OK with sharing a room with someone in the group, the price drops to $74 per person. The hotel has comfortable rooms, free airport shuttle, a pool, and includes a full breakfast.

23rd January:

Flight from SJO to Puerto Jimenez; Shared transport to Ojo del Mar; 6 nights accommodation at Ojo del Mar (all meals included from lunch first day to breakfast the last day, except for dinner at Martina’s – see 1/27) The cost of the puddle hopper is included in the trip.

Where the rainforest meets the ocean ...

Take the free airport shuttle back to SJO airport for your puddle hopper flight (Sansa Airlines) to the Osa Peninsula. As your 14-seater plane begins dropping down over the water to land on the small airstrip in the tiny town of Puerto Jimenez, you’ll know your adventure is about to begin. When the plane comes to a stop at the end of the runway, you’ll see a handful of trucks and 4WD taxis waiting just off the tarmac to pick up their clients. Someone will be waiting there for you! You’ll wait with the plane on the tarmac as your luggage is unloaded, then will pick up your bags and carry them to the waiting taxi at the end of the runway. Pura Vida y Bienvenido a Costa Rica!! Your driver will transport you to our eco lodge. It’s about a 30-minute drive over rutted dirt roads, that sometimes have pot holes big enough to hide a Volkswagen. Welcome to the jungle!  Ojo Del Mar (in Matapalo), is where you’ll settle in to stay for 6 nights. It is located where the rain forest meets the Pacific ocean. You’ll fall asleep to the sound of the surf and wake to the call of the howler monkeys in the trees. Be sure to check out their video! Matapalo literally translates to “kill stick” and is the local name for the strangler fig – a MASSIVE tree that thrives in this area. You’ll learn about this tree and its adaptations for thriving in the rain forest.

24th January:

Guided Matapalo Rainforest Hike, Yoga class

Our first day in the rainforest ...

For our first day, we’ll get to know a little about the Costa Rican rainforest. Our guide will meet us at Ojo Del Mar and will lead us on a hike through the jungle. You’ll begin to learn about this amazing ecosystem, the trees and other plants that thrive there, and the vast variety of animal species that are native to the Costa Rican rain forest. The Osa Peninsula is home to 4 species of monkeys, tapirs, coatimundis, 2 species of sloths, anteaters, leaf-cutter ants, “Jesus Christ” lizards, 5 species of big cats, an astounding 450 species of birds, and much, much more. It’s a nature lovers paradise!

 

We’ll have morning and evening options for yoga every day – welcome the sun and wake up your body to start the day, and/or stretch out tired muscles and begin to relax for the evening.

25th January:

Zipline canopy tour with round trip transport; Horse riding. 1/2 in the jungle, 1/2 on the beach; with round trip transport; Yoga class

2 more ways to experience the rain forest ...

Two more ways to experience the rain forest! We’ll have a zip line canopy tour in the morning, adding a little dash of adventure to our rainforest experience. It will also give us a monkey’s eye view of the jungle, and possibly a monkey’s eye view of the monkeys themselves. Then, in the afternoon, we’ll experience another part of the rain forest by horseback. We’ll be in the forest for half of our ride, then we’ll transition to the beach to ride along the surf’s edge. Depending on the tides, we may also be able to ride to a waterfall.

 

Again, morning and afternoon yoga will be offered. We’ll all sleep well after this full day!

26th January:

Golfo Dulce boat tour – dolphin watch and snorkeling, plus visit to the Osa Wildlife Animal Sanctuary; the Gulfo Dulce is home to several hundred dolphins who live there year-round. Almost guaranteed to see them! With round trip transport; Yoga class

A day on the water ...

We’ll be picked up by our drivers in the morning for transport into Puerto Jimenez to the dock on the Gulfo Dulce (“Sweet Gulf”). Here we’ll meet Phoebe, the owner and operator of Changing Tide Tours. Phoebe is the friend who has helped me with all the arrangements for our trip. She is also a marine biologist and is IN LOVE with the marine animals of the Gulfo Dulce.  Phoebe and her boat captain will take us out for a day on the Gulfo Dulce where we’ll learn all about this tropical fjord – one of only 3 tropical fjords on the planet – and the fascinating marine animals that live there. Whales from both the northern and southern hemispheres come here each year to have their babies. The depth of the fjord and its warm waters make it the perfect marine mammal nursery.  It is also the year-round permanent home to 2 species of dolphins, and we are almost guaranteed to see scores of them. We’ll also have the chance to swim and snorkel, and to sun bath, dance, or party on the boat deck!

 

We’ll also visit the Osa Wildlife Animal Sanctuary, an animal rescue and rehabilitation center that is accessible only by boat. We’ll have the chance to see monkeys, sloths and other animals currently being rehabilitated.

 

Again, morning and afternoon yoga will be offered.

27th January:

Volunteer day at a sea turtle project with round trip transport; Yoga class; Walk to Martina’s for dinner and Friday Market! A chance to purchase souvenirs directly from local artists.

Sea turtles and dancing ...

Phoebe is from Great Britain and originally came to Costa Rica to work on a sea turtle project as a marine biologist. She fell in love with CR, with the people who live there, and with one particular Tico who she stuck around to marry! But her passion for helping sea turtles is as strong as ever. She has relationships with several organizations in the area and is making arrangements for us to spend a day learning more about these beautiful, endangered animals while providing volunteer service. The exact nature of our volunteer work will be determined much later. It could be something like a “dawn patrol” search of the beach to look for new nests, or it could be providing some sort of manual labor at the sea turtle sanctuary.

 

This evening, we’ll go to one of my FAVORITE places in Costa Rica – Martina’s cafe. I think of it as the original Rainforest Café… It is exactly that – a café in the rainforest. Open air, casual seating, full bar, DELICIOUS food. And Friday nights at Martina’s are hopping! Every Friday, expats and Ticos from the area bring their wares to sell at Friday Market. This gives you the chance to buy souvenirs like beautifully carved Boruca masks, and jewelry directly from the artists, and rain forest products directly from the people who make them. And ice cream! A real treat to find in the tropical rainforest! Along with the comida deliciosa, there is likely to be music and dancing. It’s so much fun! Martina’s is within walking distance of Ojo Del Mar.

 

Again, morning and afternoon yoga will be offered.

28th January:

Free day; Optional Night Hike (price is separate, not included in the total. Est. $24/person) PS – a night hike in the jungle is a spectacular experience!

Spend the day your way ...

After four FULL days, we’ll be ready to kick back and simply enjoy the beach, pool, and beautiful grounds of Ojo Del Mar. Walk, swim, nap in a hammock, read or journal in your cabina, meet in the lodge for card games… spend the day your way.

In the evening, an OPTIONAL night hike will be offered. ($24/person, not included in the cost of the trip). I highly recommend you take advantage of this trip. To be immersed in the rainforest after dark is an amazing experience. We will do this with an experienced guide.

Morning yoga will be offered. Due to the night hike, we may skip the afternoon class.

29th January:

Shared transport to Puerto Jimenez airport, flight from PJ to SJO

¡Muy Triste!

Muy triste! This is the day you’ll be saying goodbye to the Osa. Our drivers will transport you to Puerto Jimenez to the airport for your Sansa flight back to San Jose. The Sansa flights begin early in the morning so you can almost certainly catch your flight home out of San Jose on the same day. However, if for any reason you are not flying home until 1/30, you’ll be able to again stay at the Adventure Inn for $126 per person for a single, $74 for a shared room.

29th or 30th January:

Fly home; on own

More about what to expect

“Glamping” in Ojo Del Mar

We will be staying at Ojo Del Mar (Eye of the Ocean) in Matapalo. There are 2 choices of type of accommodation and 2 different prices (first come, first served). Shared accommodations may be from 2 to 4 people.

Expect farm-to-table food with a tropical flare. Loads of fresh fruits and vegetables. Ojo Del Mar is set to meet special dietary needs. The lodge boasts a chemical-free hand-built pool (small), comfortable, earth friendly lodging, Pacific Ocean beach access, and beautiful grounds. Here is the link again so you can view their video to get a taste of what’s in store: https://www.ojodelmar.com/

Prices:

Prices are based on a minimum of 10 and maximum of 15 participants.

The price estimate per person is: Discounted!

  • $2,186 sharing a cabin in Ojo del Mar (2 to 4 people per cabin) (13 9 spaces available) $1,920
  • $1,905 sharing a beach nest in Ojo del Mar (4 spaces available) $1,640  Sold

 

For detailed information on what prices include and how to register, click HERE and send a message using the contact form.

What’s included:

  • all transportation from San Jose on 1/23, to and including return to San Jose on 1/29. This includes RT airfare (puddle hopper) from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez (transportation is a big deal in this part of CR – bad roads, long, distances, crazy scheduling, very little public transportation, and fuel cost… phew!)
  • all meals (except dinner at Martina’s as noted)
  • all excursions and admission prices (except night hike as noted)
  • all taxes (there is a 13% tourism tax on all this in CR)

 

What is NOT included:

  • Airfare to SJO (San Jose) airport (right now, American and United both have fares around or under $900 RT.) I’m watching fares. As of 8/21 American has at least one option under $700. In year’s past the typical fare has been between $800 – $1,000 RT.
  • Hotel in San Jose if needed (but we have secured a discounted price for you of $126 for a private room at Adventure Inn; free transportation from the airport. Or share a room and it is $74/person.) You may not need a hotel if you can get a flight that arrives in SJO before 12:00pm, but that is not always possible. Last puddle hopper of the day to Puerto Jimenez usually leaves around 2:00.
  • Tips for guides (typically $5-$10/ activity per participant, but optional)
  • Alcohol
  • Dinner at Martina’s (typically $15-$20)

 

How to register:

Secure your spot with a 25% deposit. Second 25% deposit due October 1. Balance due by November 10th. Deposits are non-refundable unless the organizers cancel or significantly change the trip itinerary.

Travel insurance that includes airline delays and cancellations, emergency medical care and evacuation is required. Use the Contact Form to request registration forms and payment instructions.

We will have 2 planning meetings to review all the important details, work out room mates, answer your questions, and bring you any last-minute updates. Those meetings will take place in October and early January, at least one will be in person. Dates TBD.

If you’re interested in this trip, I have lots more information I’ll share with you regarding things like vaccinations, passport requirements, what to pack, trip insurance, safety rules, language, currency, etc. LET ME KNOW!

 

Cap’n Crunch (Nancy)

Nancy@SummitTrekTravel.com

513-260-5737