While Puerto Jiménez has typically been a staging ground for adventures much farther out toward Carate and the park, quite a few activities and tours can be undertaken closer to town.
If you’re looking to spend some time on the beach, head just east of town for a long, pretty stretch of sand called Playa Plantanares. The waves are generally fairly gentle, and quite a few hotels have begun to pop up here. If you head farther out on the peninsula, you’ll come to the beaches of Pan Dulce, Backwash, and Matapalo, all major surf spots with consistently well-formed right point breaks. When the waves aren’t too big, these are excellent places to learn how to surf.
Osa Aventura (tel. 2735-5758 or 8372-6135; www.osaaventura.com) and Osa Corcovado Tour & Travel (tel. 8632-8150; www.soldeosa.com) are local tour companies that offer a host of guided tours and wildlife-watching expeditions around the Osa Peninsula and into Corcovado National Park. Rates run between $80 and $300 per person, depending upon group size and the tour.
An Aptly Named Adventure Tour -- For a real adventure, check in with Psycho Tours ★★★ (tel. 8353-8619; www.psychotours.com). These folks, who also call themselves Everyday Adventures, run a variety of adventure tours, but their signature combo trip features a free climb (with a safety rope attached) up the roots and trunks of a 60m-tall (200-ft.) strangler fig. You can climb as high as your ability allows, but most try to reach a natural platform at around 18m (60 ft.), where you take a leap of faith into space and are belayed down by your guide. This is preceded by an informative hike through primary rainforest, often wading through a small river, and followed by a couple of rappels down jungle waterfalls, the highest of which is around 30m (100 ft.). You can do either one of the above adventures separately, but I recommend the 5- to 6-hour combo tour, which costs $120.
Chocolate Tour -- One unique option is the chocolate tour at Finca Kobo ★ (tel. 8398-7604; www.fincakobo.com), near La Palma, 17km (11 miles) northwest of Puerto Jiménez. These folks offer an informative tour through their organic cacao plantation. You’ll learn about and see all the various stages involved in the process of growing cacao and transforming these precious beans into chocolate. At the end of the tour, you’ll get to sample some of their handiwork, dipping some local fruit into fresh chocolate fondue. The tour costs $32; children 8 and under are half-price.
Kayaking -- Kayaking trips around the estuary, up into the mangroves and out into the gulf are very popular. Aventuras Tropicales (tel. 2735-5195; www.aventurastropicales.com), which is set up in front of the soccer field, offers daily paddles through the mangroves, as well as sunset trips where you can sometimes see dolphins. More adventurous multiday kayak and camping trips are also available, in price and comfort ranges from budget to luxury (staying at various lodges around the Golfo Dulce and Matapalo).
Osa Wildlife Sanctuary -- Reachable only by boat, the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary (www.osawildlife.org; tel. 8348-0499) is a delightful animal rescue center on the shore of the northern Golfo Dulce, completely surrounded by Piedras Blancas National Park. Here you can see an ocelot, kinkajous, sloths, tayra, peccary, scarlet macaws, a porcupine, and capuchin and spider monkeys, most of them rescued from the pet trade or from crippling accidents. Daily tours are offered by volunteers or founder Carol Patrick, who is as charming as her wards. A donation of $25 per person is requested for the tour. To arrange transportation by boat, check with your hotel, any tour office, or captains on the public pier.
Sportfishing -- If you’re interested in doing some bill-fishing or deep-sea fishing, you’ll probably want to stay at or fish with Crocodile Bay Resort ((tel) 800/733-1115 in the U.S. and Canada, or 2735-5631 in Costa Rica; www.crocodilebay.com). This upscale fishing lodge is close to the Puerto Jiménez airstrip (airport code: PJM); Three day fishing packages start at $1,895 per person based on double occupancy. Another top outfitter is Las Islas Lodge (www.lasislaslodge.com; tel. 2735-5510), 1km west of downtown Puerto Jiménez, which offers half- and full-day inshore and offshore fishing trips for $1,200 to $1,800 for up to six anglers, or surf fishing (from the shore) for $135 to $185 per person with two to four people.
Surf Lessons -- If you want to learn to surf, contact Pollo’s Surf School ★ ((tel) 8366-6559; www.pollosurfschool.com), near some excellent learning waves on Pan Dulce beach. A 2-hour lesson runs $55 per person.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.