Off the Grid in the Osa: Exploring Costa Rica's Last Frontier - Page 3

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Scarlet Macaw in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
Scarlet Macaw in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica  (iStockphoto)

The interior of the Osa isn’t the only place to find an abundance of wildlife, however. The nutrient-rich Pacific Ocean that surrounds the peninsula teems with marine life. For fishermen, the Crocodile Bay Resort in Puerto Jimenez is the ideal choice—it’s the only place around with its own pier, and it runs a fleet of fishing boats that ply coastal and offshore waters for world-class game fish.

I get an early morning start on board the Croc-and-Roll, and in no time the crew has me trolling around Matapulo Rock, where a veritable undersea fiesta of fish ranges from tiny baitfish to hard-fighting tuna, roosterfish, and sharks. I watch as a fellow traveler hooks into an 85-pound roosterfish, her battle raging for an hour and half before she finally brings the plumed beast up from the deep. Elated, she snaps a quick photo so her adversary can go quickly back to the sea, tired but unharmed.

Before long, everyone on board has landed a fish, and we start the cruise back to port, but a gang of bottlenose dolphins intercepts us along the way, moving in from either side to surf the bow wake of our boat. Not only do dolphins cruise the coastline here, but also many species of whales, including migratory humpbacks.

The first drops of afternoon rain begin to fall, but nobody cares about getting wet as we come upon a mother humpback and her calf, which are nonchalantly lingering at the water’s surface just outside the harbor. The mother swims protectively some 50 feet from our boat while her offspring spy-hops to get a look at us, occasionally barrel rolling and splashing its huge fins on the water.

Amazingly, everything I’ve seen so far is just the prelude to the main attraction—a trip to the interior of the Corcovado National Park. Hiking these trails is an adventure, but getting there is just as exciting. Because there are no roads within the park, visitors must either hike—about eight to nine hours each way—or charter a small bush plane. I take the front seat next to the pilot for a stunning look at lush green expanses below.

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