Exploring Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula

From Liza Mora, Expedition Guide, Safari Voyager

As the Safari Voyager anchored near Drakes Bay at the western side of the Osa Peninsula, from the bow I could see the immense mass of green covered with mist just steps behind the beach.

Sounds of macaws, howler monkeys and an array of melodious bird songs could be heard, and my only thought was “I want to go explore this place.”

As soon as we reached the beach we saw a troop of white face capuchin monkeys, moms with juveniles, playing in the branches by the beach and showing their social behavior which was like that of human teenagers. They were pulling, running and screaming at each other, grooming and even sliding on a roof tarp set up by the lodge that was hosting us for the morning.

Not even 200 yards from the spot where the monkeys where, six scarlet macaws were nosily feeding on almond trees. Their intense red and yellow coloring making them stand out in the green canopies. As we continued walking we came across spiny tailed iguanas basking in the sun, basilisk lizards by the streams and golden nape woodpeckers foraging in abandoned palm tree stumps. This all made for an entertaining coastal stroll.

Few people understand what it really means to view animals and animal behavior in the wild because there are only a handful of places on the planet where efforts for environmental education by the authorities have protected animals to the point where they feel comfortable around humans. Costa Rica is one of those places and it’s amazing to view these animals that feel completely comfortable around us.

Entering the trails, more “hard to see” animal species could be heard. With a bird call devise, black bellied wren came to investigate very close to us. As we continued wondering through the jungle, I couldn’t help becoming intrigued by the canopy size, the mysteries of tree growth and the delicate relations between species and plants.

As we made our way back to the boat, I wondered if there was anywhere else like this place.