What Costa Rica’s South Pacific Coast is all about!
Costa Rica is a country of contrasts in many ways. This little corner of the world is the fusion of mountain ranges, beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, rivers, vast plains, and islands compacted into a small yet immensely beautiful place. With such a range of landscapes and spaces, comes a diversity of wildlife too and together, a nature wonderland comes to life. This is what exploring Costa Rica´s South Pacific Coast is all about!
Ready for a journey of intense untouched, close-to-nature experiences?
Costa Rica is bordered by the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. While both are dotted with beaches, rivers, and coastal lowlands, they are very different, just another example of beautiful Costa Rican contrasts. Both are extraordinary in their own right too and when visiting Costa Rica, are worth visiting and exploring in the comfort and reliability of your Poas Rent a car.
Where is the South Pacific Ocean Coast?
The south Pacific Ocean coast begins at the surfing hub of Dominical and extends right down to the Panama border. This long stretch of coast is bordered by the impressively towering Talamanca Mountain Range that is home to Costa Rica´s highest peak, Chirripo. This mountain-climbers dream destination reaches the very impressive height of 12,500 feet above sea level. From the highest mountains to the shores, this region of Costa Rica is intensely beautiful.
How do I get there from San Jose?
The South Pacific Coast can be reached from San Jose using one of two routes out of the city that ultimately connect upon reaching Dominical. Let´s map them out.
- Via Route 27: This privately operated modern road means you are in the South Pacific zone in no time. This new and improved access has been one of the best things to happen to Pacific Coast and has contributed to its growth and visitation. Driving is easy and very scenic as you wind down the mountains onto the coastal lowlands.
Look for the signs to Jaco and Dominical which will take you onto the coastal road Route 34, that borders the beaches, small fishing villages and tourism hotspots. This is a surfers and a beach-lovers paradise so keep your eyes on the road as you may be distracted as you glimpse the pristine waters through the lush vegetation that embraces the coast!
- Via Route 2: This route will take you through and over the Talamanca Mountain Range and the highest altitude roads in the country. Thanks to this, dramatic paramo landscapes, cloudy forests and quaint rural towns will be your travel companions as you make your way over the range and down into the thriving city of San Isidro del General, also known as Perez Zeledon.
You will pass through the city to connect with the road that will take you down onto the coast to Dominical and here you will take a left onto Route 34, the coastal highway that extends to the Panama border.
Which route is better? That is a difficult one to answer as both are beautiful. While Route 27 may be an easier drive, Route 2 is a more scenic one so make your call as you hop into your car on the day you travel south.
What are the “must-sees”?
The South Pacific coast of Costa Rica is full of amazing places to visit and experiences to live.
- Whale Watching at Marino Ballena National Park: The Humpback Whales just love this marine sanctuary, and they travel every year to mate, give birth to their calves and nurture them in preparation for their long swim back to the Poles. This is nature at its best.
- Hiking through the rainforest on the Osa Peninsula: Considered one of the most bio-diverse places in the world, the Osa Peninsula is home to Corcovado National Park, and it is teeming with wildlife. Hike the rainforest and experience the very best of this tropical paradise.
- Exploring the Golfo Dulce: One of the four tropical fiords in the world, this calm body of water is spectacular. Perfect for dolphin and whale watching, exploring the river inlets, beaches, lush rainforests that border it or just sit in quiet contemplation.
- Surfing at Pavones Beach: For the surf fans, Pavones Beach is a dream come true. It´s claim to fame in the surfing world is that it is the world´s longest left. Not only is it a surfer´s paradise, its remoteness and location is stunning and untouched. Well worth the drive down the coast to what the locals call the “deep-south”.
- Visiting the Pre-Colombian Stone Spheres: One of the archeological mysteries of the world are found on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Perfectly carved stone spheres were created by the Diquis culture that existed between AD 700 to 1530. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are a number of hypothesis in relation to these spheres that range in size from a few centimeters up to 2 meters in diameter. What they were made for remains the unanswered question.
Will I see lots of wildlife?
The South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is a wildlife lovers dream come true. National Geographic named the Osa Peninsula “the most biodiverse intense place on earth” and they are the experts. With 2.5% of the world´s biodiversity and covered in lush rainforest that is protected within a national park that is part of Costa Rica´s protected areas network that covers 25% of the country.
You can drive onto the Osa Peninsula where the Corcovado National Park easily nowadays as there is a new road that makes getting there all the faster.
Thanks to the fact that this region of Costa Rica remains less developed that other parts of the country and tourism is predominately eco based with boutique hotels, lodges, retreats, the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is a haven for nature lovers and off-the-beaten-track followers. The great thing is that you can still get behind the wheel of your car and drive into the wildness!
Poas Rent a Car has a modern fleet of sedans and SUV´s that will take you to the farthest corners of Costa Rica, including the vivid close-to-nature experience of the South Pacific Coast. With offices in the two international airports, pick up is seamless and you will be on the open road, ready to explore this beautiful country in no time. Ready for some adventures?