35km (22 miles) W of Golfito by water (90km/56 miles by road); 85km (53 miles) S of Palmar Norte

Don’t let its small size and languid pace fool you. Puerto Jiménez ★ is a bustling little burg, where rough jungle gold-panners mix with wealthy ecotourists, budget backpackers, serious surfers, and the occasional celebrity seeking a small dose of anonymity and escape. LLocated on the Golfo Dulce shoreline in the eastern Osa Peninsula, the town is just a few streets wide in any direction, with a soccer field, a few general stores, budget hotels, tourism offices, an airstrip, some inexpensive sodas, and several bars. Scarlet macaws fly overhead, and mealy parrots provide wake-up calls.

Corcovado National Park has its park service headquarters here, and the town makes an excellent base for exploring this vast wilderness area. Signs in English on walls around town advertise a variety of tours, including a host of activities outside of the park. If the in-town accommodations are too basic, you’ll find several far more luxurious places farther south on the Osa Peninsula.

Cabo Matapalo (the southern tip of the peninsula) is a prime surf spot, home to several dependable right point breaks. Sometimes the waves at Pan Dulce and Backwash actually connect, and can provide rides almost as long as those to be had in the more famous Pavones.