[Photography credits below]

Formation of the Peninsula

The history of the Osa Peninsula is steeped in geological mystery. But the Osa Peninsula is part of the tectonic plates collision of the land bridge between North and South America that rose above the surface of the water. The land bridge between these continents is in large part responsible for the incredibly high biodiversity found in this area. The Park within the peninsula is 4,178 hectares (10,324 acres) and  park ranges in elevation from sea level to 745 meters
(0 – 2,444 feet). The Corcovado park exemplifies the tropical rain forest, with a abundance of species, spectacular buttresses, large woody vines and abundant growth and trees and contains the complete tropical insect ecosystem from Mexico to Panama. It has 23 miles of rugged beaches with dense rain forest dropping into the Pacific Ocean.



Native tribes arrived on Osa Peninsula as far back as 6,000 BC, and various indigenous groups such as the Chiriquí and Borucas hunted in the area.
The nearby Isla del Caño  has a history of being struck by lightning more than any other place in Central America. This is thought by locals to be because Caño Island was a Pre-Columbian cemetery and the land is believed to be sacred. Exceptional round Diquis stones have left behind by a long lost civilization and several Panama Posse Boats have been on the island to explore and dive via operators from Drake Bay.  
Round Stones Diquis Costa Rica - isla del Cano



In March 1579, during his circumnavigation of the globe in the Golden Hind, Sir Francis Drake visited the shores of the Osa and eventually based his entourage from his name sake bay Bahía Drake  a small bay on the north side of the Osa Peninsula.  It was used by Drake during his raids on the Spanish Main in the 16th century and the location of one of the British pirate’s fabled hidden treasures.

The Area is best approached via the Drake Bay Anchorage on the Panama Posse route from the NW entrance to the park

which provides a spectacular anchorage and a coastal hiking trail towards the park. In addition several tour operators which are also based in Drake Bay for exceptional exploring.

This national park provides the exclusive habitat for Costa Rica’s shyest and most endangered inhabitants. Baird’s Tapirs, Jaguars, Scarlet Macaws, Harpy Eagles, Red-backed squirrel monkeys and White-lipped Peccaries. It is wet, remote and rugged, but the trails are decent and features several camping areas near ranger stations. It is a tropical rain forest in the purest sense with waterfalls and pools.

The coast and estuaries of the Río Claro and Río Sirena are habitats to hammerhead sharks crocodiles and bull sharks which are common in Corcovado Lagoon. All four of the sea turtle species that nest in Costa Rica also frequent it’s shores.

All four of the monkey species (including the highly endangered Red-backed squirrel monkey), and all six feline species found inhabit Corcovado.


Over 40 species of frogs including red-eyed tree, rain, glass, dink, and poison arrow varieties, with dozens of snakes including a variety of poisonous and Boas and the dreaded bushmaster, as well as 28 species of lizards.
More than 100 species of butterflies, 400 species of birds including 16 different hummingbirds and the largest number of scarlet macaws and ~ 10,000 other insects species are native to the area

The modern day history also pits the era of the gold-rush, banana plantations, banana corporations, rebels and geopolitics against it each other after 90+ years of human exploitation the jungle won and the park constitutes the birthplace of Costa Rica’s ecotourism -> Follow the link below to find out more about it’s controversial modern day history.