Pto Jimenez, Costa Rica
Welcome to the hub of the Osa, the Cradle of Western Civilization. Founded before the annals of recorded history in the early nineteenth century, the original pioneer dwelling grew tentatively in the early years of the steam engine, losing a few during the period of the American Civil War to malaria, then growing again by the time Bell and Watson made the telephone possible. It was located on the present day bay of Pueblo Viejo, whence mangrove and sunset dolphin watching tours depart daily in modern times, and in the late eighteen hundreds it was identified on international nautical charts as Santo Domingo. The original cemetary has not quite disintegrated into the jungle, though it is well on its way. But when the tsunami hit, an event recorded outside of the oral tradition in a minuscule number of documents, the town moved to higher ground. The new town center was located across the street from the present day Choza del Manglar. In 1910 Puerto Jiménez renamed itself in honor of the visiting President of the Republic, an honor heretofore never bestowed on the district. The town center was moved to its present location in the fifties. During its existence it has seen its economic focus shift from bush and fish to subsistence agriculture to cattle to beans to bananas to gold to wood to rice, and finally to current regional economic mainstay, tourism. While traditional tourism is a mature industry in Puerto Jimenez, Drake, and at sophisticated remote ecolodges, an enormous contribution to the economy comes from expatriate residents from the investment in real estate and development. Nevertheless, there remains a strong agricultural industry in the cattle, rice, and African palm sectors. The Osa is one of the rare places in the world with the climate and topography, coincidentally to support three annual harvests of rice, already a cash crop..
Today, Puerto Jiménez is a vital center of commerce for the peninsula. It is a town in which Comisariato La Esquina offers eight brands of imported dried tomatoes, for instance, and bleu cheese dressing, though buttermilk and corn meal remain elusive in the cradle. Most of the remote lodges in the Matapalo and Carate area have some office presence in town and purchase supplies and fuel here. Puerto Jimenez as a staging point for the Osa offers many advantages. There are a large number of budget hotels in town, making it economical to stage activities from town rather than from more expensive all-inclusive lodgeS. Also, Jimenez is somewhat central geographically on the peninsula, reducing driving time for visitors interested in the Drake area of the peninsula as well as Matapalo or Carate.
For the Osa traveler, Jimenez offers the following goods and services:
travel connections and banking
Budget, Mid-priced, and Top-Shelf Accommodations
Wide latitude of Restaurants
Internet, phone, fax, Satellite television, air conditioning
Assortment of colorful drinking establishments
Fuel 24 hours a day
Groceries, beer, ice, hardware, miscellaneous supplies
You almost can't come to the Osa without at least passing through Puerto Jiménez, but for some of us, Puerto Jiménez is a destination in its own right. I, for instance, waded ashore from the Golfito lancha in 1985 and have made Jimenez my home for seven of the intervening twenty years. Go figure..
RENTAL CAR: From San Jose, the shortest route is the Panamerican-Costanera route, but there are three routes that can be taken, described below.
Panamerican-Costanera: Take the Panamerican Highway (Hwy 2)
from San Jose to San Isidro. Turn right on Dominical Highway. At
the end turn left on the Costanera Highway. Drive through Dominical,
Uvita, and take a right on the Panamerican Highway at Palmar Norte.
Take a right 45 minutes later at Chacarita, and gas up at the intersection
as needed. Proceed to Puerto Jimenez.
Take the Panamerican Highway (Hwy 2) from San Jose to Chacarita, passing
through San Isidro, Buenos Aires, and Palmar Norte en route. Take a
right at Chacarita, and gas up as needed. Proceed to Puerto Jimenez.
Costanera: Take the Puntarenas freeway west past the airport and pick up the Jacó exit and from the coast, pick up the Costanera. Be prepared for abysmal road conditions between Quepos and Dominical, but push on happy from Dominicall all the way to Palmar Norte and your right on the Panamerican. Take a right 45 minutes later at Chacarita, and gas up at the intersection as needed. Proceed to Puerto Jimenez.
AIR: There are 5-6 daily commercial flights between San Jose and Puerto Jimenez between two airlines, of which Natureair is the one least likely to cancel your flight, lose your reservation, or fall out of the sky. The charter airline Alfa Romeo Air Charter also provides charter air service between Puerto Jiménez and any domestic airport desired. Alfa Romeo's rate schedule for different routes are presented as well.
BUS: Below is a listing of all the bus schedules originating and finishing in Puerto Jimenez. Please note that there are three actual bus pickup points for the different lines, so ask in town to make sure you're at the right place. There is the Main Bus Station, the Carate Bus Station, and the La Palma buses pick up on the corner beside El Regalón in downtown Puerto Jimenez.
TAXI: You can secure a van and driver for up to six people and luggage from San Jose for around $250.
BOAT: Jimenez is now served by two fast boats that make two round trips daily at various times for a fee of $4. The lancha is the slow boat and travels daily to Golfito, departing at six a.m. from Jimenez, arriving 7:30 at the muellecito of Golfito. It returns at 11:30 a.m., arriving at 1:00 p.m. Commonly two boats make the run daily, and when this is the case, the first departs Golfito at 11:00, or when it fills up. The price is $2 with additional fees for surfboards and packs.
Getting Around Inside Puerto Jiménez
Follow the link at the end of this paragraph to a detailed map of Puerto Jimenez that lists all the local businesses, public institutions, churches, and landmarks. The attached image file is pretty big, so I wouldn't bother with it at all if you don't have broadband. PUERTO JIMENEZ TOWN MAP. Rent bicycles from Camilo off main street ($-5-10 per day according to season and duration of lease. The bicycle is the conveyance of choice. For C1000 you can get anywhere in town in any taxi, C500 usually if you're a local.
Tours and Activities
Self-Guiding Beach: The town beach is very placid and unacceptable for body-surfers though absolutely excellent for parents with very young children as the waters are very tranquil. Five kilometers from town, Playa Platanares presents an extraordinary unspoiled tropical beach with all the wave action one could want for body-surfing. You can actually reach Puntarenitas Point on foot from town in twenty minutes at low tide, but the best way to enjoy is to rent bicycles and ride out to Pearl of the Osa to enjoy the beach. The wonderful Monochingo Bar and Grille offers the sun-weary a shaded breezy open-air space to regenerate and play ping pong and board games, ride the hammock, swill frostie pops and umbrellas, or all three. Beach volleyball court, kilometers of unspoiled beach, horseback, monkeys, this place has got it all.
Self-Guided Mountain: Dos Brazos del Rio Tigre is only a forty minute bus ride from town with three round trip rides a day and taxi service. At the confluence of the two mouths of the Rio Tigre, Dos Brazos has a history closely intertwined with the gold mining industry. In the eighties it was the headquarters of the commercial Rio Tigre mining operation. Today, it retains a few hand miners, most of which make more money giving hand mining tours than actually mining the precious metal. Dos Brazos is perilously close to the Corcovado National Park boundary and has extensive primary rain forest a short hike from the bus's arrival point. Bird watching, gold mining, wilderness hiking, waterfalls, river swimming, horseback, all available in Dos Brazos, even for visitors overnighting in Jimenez.
HERRERA BOTANICAL GARDENS
Herrera Botanical Gardens and Reforestation Project. Inaugurated in 2000, Herrera Botanical Gardens comprises 119 acres of secondary scrub and cattle land right on the outskirts of Puerto Jimenez under an innovative reforestation plan to draw animals in from the creek that transects the property with fast-growing orchard plantations and the much slower growing tropical hardwood plantings interspersed. Kilometers of self-guiding trails, tree platforms, individual gardens, the best campground in the entire Southern Zone, Herrera has got it going on! Self-guided tour: $5. Guided: $35 three hours. Can be arranged on site, no need to reserve. Uncontested winner year after year of our pick for top ecotourism value anywhere!
Mangrove Kayaking. A three hour tour on sit-on-top individual sea kayaks. The tour explores the Platanares River mangrove estuary and is timed around high tide. The tour is around three and a half hours long and includes water and fruit. Dry bags carried for protection of cameras. Very close to town. $35 per person. Reserve.
SUNSET / DOLPHIN-WATCHING KAYAKING
Sunset Dolphin Watching Kayak. A three o'clock departure allows a late afternoon kayak on the Gulf adjacent to Platanares Point for swimming and dolphin-watching on their daily trip southeast toward the Pacific. Enjoy a six p.m. sunset and phosphorescent algae. Three and a half hours, dry bags, refreshment. $40 per person. Reserve.
MATAPALO DAY TOUR
Matapalo Rain Forest Hike. This all-day tour in Cape Matapalo includes primary rain forest, wild life, waterfalls, and beach. Departure 6 a.m., returns 3:30, transport, lunch included. $45 per person. Reserve.
Bird Watching. Most guides are familiar with the regional birds, but Liz Jones in the Dos Brazos area is the peninsula's foremost birder. She leads birding expeditions mornings early from Bosque del Rio Tigre Lodge $35 per person. Reserve.
Horseback Riding. Horseback tours are available in all the areas of the peninsula by local outfitters. Prices are typically $35 for a four-hour ride, guided. CafeNet picks include the Matapalo, Rio Nuevo, Playa Platanares, and Bosque del Rio Tigre, Dos Brazos area tours. Reserve.
CROCODILES FEEDING AT NIGHT
|Crocodiles by Candlelight: Be scared, really scared. Take a walk on the wild side in a deep, dark, creepy mangrove swamp, in the black of night. The swamp is alive with a thousand eyes, all of them watching YOU! (and your bag of chicken guts). Caymans and crocodiles, up close and personal. Very low impact, you don´t get wet, and we have not lost anyone this year. Drinks afterward at a Tiki bar on the beach. One hour, departure Puerto Jimenez, STARTING DECEMBER 1: $30 Reserve.|
GOLFO DULCE MOTOR BOAT TOURS
Golfo Dulce Motor Boat Tours: The Golfo Dulce is the tenth deepest gulf in the world and encompasses shorelines ranging from nearly vertical on the northeastern coast to mangrove swamps in the Esquinas corner and near Rincon. Humpback whales calve in the Gulf, and whale sharks make annual pilgrimages into the still gulf waters. Porpoises are a dime a dozen and can be come across in pods of hundreds of individuals. Motor boat tours up to six hours in duration provide a spectacular low-impact activity. Enjoy snorkeling and swimming. The signature experience is with Changing Tide Tours which offers six hour tours for $65. Reserve.
INSHORE SPORT FISHING
Inshore Sport Fishing: The placid waters of the Golfo Dulce are host to some of the hottest inshore fishing action in the world and home of over 40 world records. Red, yellow, black, and cubera snapper, grouper, roosterfish, African pompano, snook, sea bass, to name a few. All outfitters have well-maintained fast vessels, full instrumentation, top grade gear, tackle, first mate, and seasoned captain. Fish all day, eat all night. Full day trips start at $850 for up to four, half days start at $500. Reserve.
OFFSHORE SPORT FISHING
Offshore Sport Fishing: Fish the cobalt waters of the Pacific for sailfish, marlin, wahoo, tuna, and dorado. All outfitters have well-maintained fast vessels, full instrumentation, top grade gear, tackle, first mate, and seasoned captain. Full day trips start at $850 for up to four. Reserve.
GOLFO DULCE SCUBA DIVING TOURS AND CERTIFICATION
Golfo Dulce Diving Tour. Highly experienced diving duo offers diving in different Golfo Dulce destinations. One tank trips are $65 per person, four person minimum. Reserve.
CORCOVADO DAY TOUR
Corcovado National Park: Corcovado National Park tours are available from a wide variety of guides. Rates vary according to the expedition planned, since Corcovado tours typically are two or more days in duration. The best outfitter and guide is Mike Boston, and his Osa Aventura offers expeditions up to twelve days long. Reserve.
Accommodations and Lodging: Top Shelf and Mid Priced
FULL DETAILS, ALL JIMENEZ LODGING HERE!
A WORD ABOUT PRICING: Too avoid the possibility of dated information, Sol de Osa, no longer publishes prices for lodges. We rate accommodations as budget (BUD), mid-priced (MID), and top-shelf (TOP) according to the relativities of the class of destination. Most lodges are all-inclusive and are priced per person. Others do not include taxes in their pricing structure, and hotels and vacation rentals are normally priced per night based on double occupancy. Please inquire for current pricing.
|AGUA DULCE LODGE AND RESORT is a world class get-away on the spectacular Platanares Beach ten minutes from town. The hotel boasts full extras, beach front, sumptuous rooms, swimming pool, restaurant and bar, hot water, air conditioning, jacuzzis, villas, suites, rooms, all under new management and with aggressive pricing, all steps from the most spectacular swimming beach on the whole peninsula. Reserve yours now!||TOP|
|THE CROW'S NEST: The only fully-outfitted townhouse for short term rentals in Puerto Jimenez, the Crow's Nest has it all: AC, hot water, satellite television, wireless/wired Internet, computer upon request, full kitchen, living room and dining room set, office desk and chair, veranda, locking automated intercom entrance, great views, downtown, meal plan available, laundry service, housekeeping, full support. Nothing more to want than this!||MID|
|THE FISHACK: The Fishack is a luxury villa overlooking the Puerto Jimenez harbor. It has three separate rental units that can be secured for individual daily or weekly rentals. Alternately the entire facility is available for parties of up to thirteen. Fully furnished, satellite television, air conditioning, broadband Wi-fi, security, catering, laundry, full extras. There is nothing like the Fishack.||TOP|
Casa Celeste is a spacious vacation home that comfortably fits a family of
five. This house boasts a fully-equipped kitchen, satellite TV, A/C,
internet upon request, washer, dryer, two bathrooms, and three bedrooms.
While conveniently located a few-minutes-walk from the center of town, it's
situated in a quiet, safe, residential part of Puerto Jimenez. An
ideal base of operations for all kinds of activities in and around Puerto
|LAS ISLAS LODGE: Featuring top-shelf lodging with a full-range of activities and a focus on sportfishing packages, Las Islas Lodge is located two kilometers from the entrance to Puerto Jimenez. Nestled among manicured gardens, the ten secluded bungalows offer AC, hot water, queen- and king-sized beds, refrigerators, gorgeous accents, and more. Full-service restaurant and bar, sport fishing, eco-tours. Look no further. Top shelf.||TOP|
|CABINAS TROPICALES offers six different rooms, including Standard rooms, Loft rooms, and Deluxe rooms! All of the rooms are unique, and each room has a private indoor or outdoor bathroom and hot and cold showers.||BUD|
|PARROT BAY VILLAGE: Nestled in a secluded immaculately landscaped enclave in the Mangroves, the upscale Parrot Bay Village is the most upscale lodging in town. It is located on the beach and is a 10 minute walk from downtown and conveniently located near the airport. The facility has eight individual bungalows for parties varying in size from 1-4 people and one large house holding up to eight. There is a bar and restaurant on the facility grounds, beach volleyball, and kayak usage is part of your hotel stay. Regional tours can be arranged on site. Top Shelf.||TOP|
|CABINAS JIMENEZ: This delightful waterfront hotel offers accommodations ranging from budget at $20 to upscale for a $60 bungalow. Rates in between as well, some rooms have decks overlooking gulf, all have optional AC, and hot water private bathrooms.||MID|
|CABINAS MARCELINA: Eight nice cabinas with in downtown with private bathrooms and fans, two with air conditioning. Private parking. No restaurant, bar, or other amenities, but convenient downtown location puts it within easy walking distance of the same. Budget.||MID|
|CROCODILE BAY LODGE: The largest sport fishing outfitter in Central America, Crocodile Bay offers sumptuous accommodations and fine-dining just outside Puerto Jimenez. In addition to world-class sport fishing, offers a wide variety of eco-tours. Bar, restaurant, swimming pool, gift shop, air conditioning, hot water. Top Shelf.||TOP|
|CHOZA DEL MANGLAR: Ten comfortable cabinas nestled in sprawling private grounds immaculately landscaped. Incomparable decor for fine dining in onsite Restaurant and Bar. Full service hotel, newly remodeled, private bathrooms with hot water, wireless internet for laptops, A/C optional, abundant wildlife, 125 meters from the Air Strip, tours available. An excellent mid-priced Puerto Jimenez destination. Open only December 1 - March 31. Fully booked for 2009: please do not inquire.||MID|
|PEARL OF THE OSA: Now the Iguana Lodge Club Rooms and located on beautiful Playa Platanares, the Pearl of the Osa boasts a pristine beach and secluded location, yet it is only a ten minute drive from town. Rooms are equipped with fans and private bathrooms. The Mono Chingo Bar and Grill serves top-notch cuisine and is a favorite destination for townspeople to spend Sundays at the beach. Beach volleyball, ping-pong, board games, and Friday night all you can eat spaghetti dinner with live salsa music and dancing are all featured. Regional tours can be arranged on site. Top shelf.||TOP|
|IGUANA LODGE: Located on beautiful Playa Platanares, Iguana Lodge is an upscale all-inclusive resort lodge featuring beautiful beachside bungalows, gourmet cuisine, and privacy for more discriminating visitors. Regional tours can be arranged on site. Located adjacent to Pearl of the Osa and owned by the same couple, all of the amenities available at Pearl of the Osa can be enjoyed at Iguana Lodge. Top shelf.||TOP|
|HOTEL ARENAS DE OSA is new, in town, and has all the amenities: air conditioning, hot water bathrooms, in room refrigerators, wireless Internet, cable television, full service support, convenient to everything.||TOP|
|THE BEACH HOUSE is a gorgeous, 3-story vacation rental located a kilometer from Puerto Jimenez. Facing the gentle, lapping waters of the Golfo Dulce, the Beach House is a luxurious and spacious home that can accommodate up to eighteen people. The house is built and furnished with mostly wood giving it a warm, natural atmosphere. This is a great choice for a holiday trip with the family, or the extended family.||TOP|
|THE PALMS HOTEL is waterfront, over-looking the Puerto Jimenez harbor. Newly remodeled this mid-priced hotel is a newly favored in-town destination. Delightful open-air restaurant and bar make for a delightful dining ambiance with the whole Gulf right out front and the haute cuisine of the distinguished house chef dishing up international favorites. Rooms are small-ish but newly remodeled, and all feature air conditioning, private baths, and hot water! Rates $59-89 high season:||MID||
Accommodations and Lodging: Budget
FULL DETAILS, ALL JIMENEZ LODGING HERE!
|CABINAS IGUANA IGUANA: Located at the entrance to Pto Jiménez, Iguana Iguana is quiet, clean, and a popular destination for budget travelers. With thirteen rooms, they can accommodate from 1 up to 4 people per room. Swimming pool, 24-hour security with ample parking, manicured gardens, restaurant and bar. No advance reservations.||BUD|
|HOTEL BOSQUEMAR: This relatively new hotel has 15 rooms, 3 with air conditioning, the remainder with private baths and fans. Rooms are for one to three guests. All rooms have hot water and cable television. Facilities include a small soda. Tours and overland transport can be arranged onsite. Twenty four hour security for your vehicle. Budget.||BUD|
|CABINAS ORO VERDE: 8 clean rooms located downtown. All rooms have fans and private bathrooms. No restaurant, limited parking with security, but a friendly staff and centrally located. No children. No advance reservations.||BUD|
|CABINAS THOMPSON: For the budget traveler, these are the least expensive accommodations in town that have both private baths and fans. Six cabinas. Located near the bus station. No restaurant or bar. No advance Reservations. Backpacker Budget.||BUD|
|PENSION QUINTERO: For the radical budget traveler, this is the destination of choice for field hippies and shoe-string travelers that don’t mind shabby accommodations and shared bathrooms. All 12 rooms have fans. No advance reservations. Backpacker Budget.||BUD|
Located in the downtown.15 nice bedrooms, air conditioning, private bathrooms, tv and cable. No advance reservations.
|CABINAS THE CORNER: 5 Nice and clean bedrooms, located in the downtown in Puerto Jimenez. Laundry service tent and camping equipment for rent. No advance reservations.||BUD|
Puerto Jimenez has the welcome distinction of having one of the most spectacular fine-dining experiences available in all of Costa Rica at Jade Luna on the outskirts of town. $35 per person with drinks. Juanita's Mexican Bar and Grille is the most popular night spot in town, featuring Mexican, Seafood, and International favorites ($5 plates) and boasting the only all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet ($4) on the peninsula. Bar y Restaurante Carolina is the most popular lunch spot with reliable Costa Rican and international standards ($5). Ristorante Giardinia offers excellent Italian cuisine with escargots and sashimi also ($8). Parrot Bay Village offers three different dishes daily often featuring fresh fish ($12). Monochingo Bar and Grille at Perla de Osa on Playa Platanares offers great Mexican and International favorites ($6) and an all you can eat Italian buffet with live music on Fridays ($5). Pizza Rock ($6) and the Italian on main street ($5) both offer great pizzas, and Pollo Opi Opi ($2) is the standard in fried chicken, Pollosa the best in grilled ($3). Agua Luna offers abundant Chinese fare and Costa Rican dishes ($6). In addition there are a wide range of sodas that offer breakfast as early as 5:00 a.m. ($2.50), casados all day long ($3.25), and fried fish and arroces and typical tico fare in the evenings ($4). Don't forget the ambulatory vendors at night on main street and on Saturday nights in front of the disco for horse sausage gallos, bistec, and sloppy greasy hamburgers.
Across the street from Choza del Manglar
Jagua Gift Shop
Osa Tropical Tica
For general reservations inquiries, please fill out our Osa Peninsula Travel Information Questionnaire. Alternately, please write me or call at one of the phone numbers provided below. From the United States, remember to use the 011 direct dialing prefix.
Osa Corcovado Tour and Travel / CAFENET EL SOL
Travel and Tour Agency, Information and Reservation Services, Internet Café
Downtown Puerto Jiménez, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
English: 506 8632-8150 / Español: 506 2735-5719 / Fax: 506 2735-5717
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