While Puerto Jiménez has typically been a staging ground for adventures much farther out toward Carate and Corcovado, quite a few activities and tours can be undertaken closer to town.
If you’re looking to spend some time on the beach, head south of town on the airstrip road for a long, pretty stretch of sand called Playa Platanares. Here there are a couple of nice hotels, the Iguana Lodge and the Agua Dulce Lodge. Swimmers beware: The surf can be very powerful. If you head farther south 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 and wave size depending on the swells coming in from the South Pacific. Backwash has a spectacular long wave for intermediate and advanced surfers and an internal wave that is optimal for learners. Pollo Surf School (http://pollosurfschool.com; tel. 8366-6559) offers year-round surf lessons ($55).
Osa Aventura (www.osaaventura.com; tel. 2735-5758 or 8372-6135) is a local tour company that offers 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.
Osa Corcovado Tour and Travel (www.soldeosa.com; tel. 8632-8150) also arranges Corcovado tours, guides, transportation, lodging, and—if you’re looking for your own slice of paradise—real estate, through its affiliate Osa Pen Realty.
Some Extreme Adventure: If you want to get your adrenaline flowing, check in with Everyday Adventures, also known as Psycho Tours ★★★ (www.psychotours.com; tel. 8353-8619). Andy Pruter and his guides specialize in two adventure tours in Matapalo, waterfall rappelling and tree climbing. The latter features a free climb (with safety rope) up a 60m (200-ft.) strangler fig, where you reach a natural platform at around 18m (60 ft.), ring a cowbell, and then take a deep breath for the Tarzan swing, belayed down by your guide. This is accompanied by an informative hike through primary rainforest and can be paired with a couple of rappels down jungle waterfalls, the highest of which is around 30m (100 ft.)—and is scary good fun. You can do either one of the above adventures separately, but I recommend the 5- to 6-hour combo tour, which costs $130.
Chocolate Tour: Finca Kobo ★ (www.fincakobo.com; tel. 8398-7604), near La Palma, 17km (11 miles) northwest of Puerto Jiménez, offers an informative tour of this organic cacao plantation. You’ll see all the stages involved in growing cacao and transforming these precious beans (used as currency by pre-Columbian cultures) into chocolate. At the end of the tour, you’ll get to sample some of the handiwork, dipping local fruit into fresh chocolate fondue. The tour costs $32; children 8 and under are half-price. Finca Kobo also has a few rooms and bungalows for rent.
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). You can also book with Osa Tourz (www.osatourz.com; tel. 8632-8150).
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’d like to do some inshore (inside the gulf) or offshore (deep-sea) fishing, look up Crocodile Bay Resort (www.crocodilebay.com; tel. 800/733-1115 in the U.S. and Canada, or 2735-5631 in Costa Rica). This upscale fishing lodge, one of the largest fishing outfitters in Central America, is close to the Puerto Jiménez airstrip. The owners have added a 28-room hotel and have plans to build a full service marina and a controversial Curio Collection by Hilton hotel and condominium project, starting in 2018. Three-day fishing packages start at $1,985 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 $1,600 for up to six anglers, or surf fishing (from the shore) for $135 to $185 per person with two to four people.
Surf & SUP: Pollo Surf School ★ (www.pollosurfschool.com; tel. 8366-6559), is located near some excellent learning waves on Pan Dulce beach. A 2-hour surfing lesson costs $55.
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.