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Puerto Jimenez is, without a doubt, one of the most underrated places to visit in Costa Rica. This small town of only a few thousand people may not be overly pretty at first glance, but its location on the Osa Peninsula is, and it couldn’t be more perfect for wildlife enthusiasts.
Not only does Puerto Jimenez sit on the doorstep of Corcovado National Park, but it also sits on the shores of Golfo Dulce Bay, as well as across from Piedra Blanca National Park and Golfito National Wildlife Refuge. So it’s safe to say Puerto Jimenez is heaven on earth for wildlife.
To top it all off, the lack of visitors Puerto Jimenez receives compared to other towns and cities in Costa Rica, such as Puerto Viejo, makes it a hidden gem that you just NEED to visit.
To help you plan your upcoming trip and maybe even inspire you to visit, here are the 10 best things to do in Puerto Jimenez as well as tons of information to know before you go! Without further ado, here is your complete guide to visiting Puerto Jiminez, Costa Rica.
Things to do in Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
1. Visit Corcovado National Park
Corcovado National Park is without a doubt the highlight of Puerto Jimenez and the entire Osa Peninsula. This huge area of untouched wilderness is home to Costa Rica’s most diverse range of wildlife. In fact, Corcovado is home to 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity – that’s mighty impressive!
Visiting the park was a bucket list experience for us, and we did so via boat. From Puerto Jimenez, we traveled along the coastline to Sirena Station. Along the way, we spotted dolphins, sea turtles, and even some of the last remaining humpback whales (a mother and baby) of the whale season (ending in November.) Although a bumpy ride (not suited to those who get seasick), we loved it.
Once in the park, our guide walked us around the many different trails in search of wildlife, and it didn’t take long to find some. In fact, we saw all four species of monkeys in Costa Rica, lots of birds, and even a tapir in the distance over our half-day trek.
By the end of the tour, we were exhausted but so glad we decided to make the trip to Corcovado National Park. We then took another boat from the park to Drake Bay – our next destination. Those returning to Puerto Jimenez will do so via boat as well.
Although I enjoyed the boat ride, it was a long journey from Puerto Jimenez. In fact, it’s over 1.5 hours each way, and the sea is rough! For that reason, if I had my time again, I would do the full-day tour to the closer, La Leona Station instead. La Leona station can be reached by road from Puerto Jimenez.
This specific tour includes 4wd transport to the park and much more time to explore the park (it’s a 12-hour tour.) Although a bumpy ride, you’ll be able to stop along the way to spot wildlife (they don’t stay in the park boundary.)
If visiting Corcovado National Park is a bucket-list expereince for you, then I highly recommend overnight tours such as this 3-day adventure with one night in the national park. Although they cost more, you’ll get a much better experience and have better chances of seeing rare wildlife such as pumas. Most people spot these animals first thing in the mornings before all the day-trippers make it to the park.
Please note, you must visit Corcovado National Park on a tour as visitors MUST be accompanied by an approved guide. Although this makes your visit a little more expensive, it is an important measure to preserve the park and wildlife within in.
Related read: Spotting wildlife is also one of the best things to do in Monteverde
2. Sunset or sunrise kayaking tour
Corcovado National Park might be the number one attraction in Puerto Jimenez. However, my personal favorite activity was the mangrove and ocean kayaking tour we did.
This unique wildlife experience has you exploring a mangrove filled with wildlife, swimming with bioluminescent plankton, and even paddling right next to dolphins (depending on how lucky you are.)
Our tour began in the dark at 4 am with a swim with the plankton before heading up the mangrove to explore. Here, we learned all about the fragile environment and wildlife here. Afterward, we stopped on a beach for a coffee before transferring our kayaks to the ocean from the mangrove. Here we got to opportunity to paddle with dolphins – a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us.
After another quick stop on a beach to enjoy a Fresh pineapple, we enjoyed a slow paddle back, watching birds, and even seeing our friendly dolphins friends again.
The tour then finished with a short nature walk to see crocodiles, monkies, and lots of birds. We saw a ton of wildlife for only $50 USD!
You can either enjoy the tour at sunrise or sunset, but we did ours at sunrise due to time constraints. If you do yours at sunset, such as this specific tour, it’s done in reverse.
3. Rent a bike and explore
Puerto Jimenez is a small town, and the best way to get around is by bike. You’ll even notice it’s the locally preferred method of transport.
You can explore the entire area on a bike, visiting different beaches, restaurants, and even some local farms (I mention one on this list.) It’s the best way to spend half a day exploring.
Bike rental in Puerto Jimenez starts at $20 USD for a full day or $15 USD for a half-day. You can rent bikes from all over town, but we got ours from our hotel called Chosa Manglar Nature Hotel.
4. Visit a nearby beach
Puerto Jimenez is home to its own beach. However, as you’ll find out when you arrive, it’s not that appealing, especially when compared to some of the nearby beaches. So, don’t spend your day in town. Instead, take a trip out to one of the nearby beaches.
My favorite during my stay was Playa Plataneres, located around 5 kilometers from town. Although you can walk, riding a bike only takes 20 minutes, and you’ll ride past beautiful tropical forests and small local farms. Once at the beach, you’ll likely have it to yourself.
5. Join the amazing coffee tour at Rancho Raices de Osa
I have done many coffee tours over the years in Colombia, Ecuador, and even Costa Rica. For that reason, I don’t usually jump at the opportunity to join another one.
However, after doing some research, I quickly realized there was something special about the tour at Rancho Raices de Osa. Every review was 5 stars. So, I just had to check it out.
On this unique chocolate tour, you”ll be guided around a beautiful property home to farm animals, cacao, banana, and pineapple. However, mixed in is lots of local flora, and the entire operation is organic. You’ll learn about the plants, their organic farming processes and visit a 350-year-old tree that you can climb. We even enjoyed fresh coconuts along the way.
Afterward, it’s time to see the chocolate-making process from start to finish. It’s a really in-depth tour of the process, and you’ll try the cocoa at every stage.
Once complete, you’ll make some chocolate for yourself while enjoying some fresh fruits from the property. The tour finishes with a cocoa face mask which makes your skin feel amazing!
If you’re going to only do one chocolate tour in Costa Rica, make it the Rancho Raices de Osa chocolate tour.
Rancho Raices de Osa is located around 15 minutes from Puerto Jimenez. You can easily reach it via the bus or collectivo (I talk about this below) heading north to Cañaza, and the tour costs $40 USD.
6. Enjoy drinks by the ocean at Los Delfines
After a day of exploring, there’s no better way to relax and unwind than at Los Delfines for a cocktail, beer, or juice. This gorgeous bar and restaurant is located right on the water in Puerto Jimenez with uninterrupted views of the ocean.
Their beer is really cheap at only 1,200 colones or $2 USD, and it’s served ice cold. I also highly recommend their cocktails made from scratch – no syrups required from fresh local fruits. You’ll also likely see a huge range of birds and even monkeys from the bar, so be sure to bring your camera.
7. Go dolphin or whale watching
One of the highlights in Puerto Jimenez is Golfo Dulce which is home to an abundance of wildlife. That includes humpback whales and dolphins who love the marine-life-rich bay and calm waters.
On tours from Puerto Jimenez, you can head out to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. The playful dolphins in the bay can be seen all year round in huge pods. Although you still need some luck, the locals know where the dolphins love to feed, so your chances are really good.
Whales must be seen during the right season as they only visit Golfo Dulce to give birth and raise their young before migrating north. The season for whale watching in Puerto Jimenez is July to September. However, you can see them as late as December (as we did.)
On our boat trip, we got to see a humpback whale with a baby swimming in the bay. It was beautiful! You can book tours in town, and prices vary depending on the time of year but cost around $75 USD and include some snorkeling.
8. Horseback riding
One of the more natural ways to explore the jungle around Puerto Jimenez is on horseback. Rancho Tropical is the company that offers these tours just south of Puerto Jimenez.
They have a 3-hour tour that travels through lowland meadow, dense tropical jungle, the top of mountains, and the beach. It’s a great tour suitable for everyone. The tour only costs $68 USD, but you’ll need to get yourself to the farm or organize transport (at an extra cost) with Rancho Tropical.
Although not in the national park, expect to see lots of wildlife and fantastic views!
With so much marine life, it’s no wonder sport fishing is one of the best things to do in Puerto Jimenez. There are a ton of tour companies you can book through, but Chosa Manglar Nature Hotel works with the best guides in the area.
You can either book full or half-day tours that start at $500 USD per boat. If you want to go deep, you’ll need to book the full-day tour ($700 USD.) Expect to catch a huge range of fish including sailfish, blue, black and striped marlin, dorado, and tuna.
The best part is, due to commercial fishing restrictions in the area, it’s one of the best places to land great fish in Costa Rica.
10. Spend the day at Agua Dulce Beach Resort
Although our hotel did not have a pool, that didn’t stop us from enjoying a gorgeous day with cocktails and food next to one.
In fact, most don’t realize, Agua Dulce Beach Resort is open to the public, and for $3 USD, you can use their pool and enjoy delicious food and drinks from the restaurant.
The restaurant and hotel is located on Playa Platanares, around a 10-minute taxi or 30-minute bike ride from town. The food at the restaurant was delicious, and we also loved the cocktails.
Where to Stay in Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
Puerto Jimenez might be a small town, however, it’s not hard to find a great place to stay for all budgets. Bailey and I stayed at a gorgeous hotel called Chosa Manglar Nature Hotel that I’ve mentioned a few times above.
Although our room came with simple facilities, the property is surrounded by stunning gardens that attract a huge range of wildlife. Every morning we were visited by macaws, who came to feed in the trees above the garden. We also got to see a sloth and an Anhinga. Sometimes we wondered if we even needed to leave?!
Our room came with air conditioning and a super hot shower, and the hotel is super affordable (they also have a hostel on the property called La Palapa Hut. We booked some of our tours from the hotel, and the kitchen saved us from eating out for every meal. We would love to visit again, you can visit their website here which has lots of info on tours and the area too.
Of course, if you’re a luxury traveler, no exceptions, then there are some upper market hotels around Puerto Jimenez too. I mentioned Agua Dulce Beach Resort above, and if you don’t mind staying out of town, it’s a good option.
Another luxury option is Corcovado Private Villas Private Renting, located outside of Puerto Jimenez. Although a decent drive outside the city, the property is beautiful and perfect for those who have a rental car.
Getting around Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica
Although you can explore much of Puerto Jimenez on foot or via bicycle, the bus system is also really easy to use. Buses that head both south or north leave from the corner of the street corner of Corcovado Hiking Tours (link to Google Maps.)
You can also use the collectivo system. These small shared taxis leave from the same spot. A trip north costs 2,000 Colones ($3.50 USD) to Cañaza, but they travel further north. Just ask the driver for the price before getting in, but they are pretty honest.
Getting to Puerto Jimenez
One of the things that turn most people off visiting Puerto Jimenez is its location. However, many people don’t know that you can easily get to Puerto Jimenez, especially from San Jose.
From San Jose
The first option from San Jose, and how Bailey and I traveled, is by plane. SANSA Airlines is the company that operates this flight, and there are three flights every day.
What I loved most about the short 50-minute journey was the experience of flying in a small plane called a Cessna Caravan. These small aircraft are often used for skydiving or scenic flights, and wow, was the flight scenic! Expect to pay around $130 USD for this flight with limited baggage.
If you want to take the bus, it’s a much longer journey but still simple. There is a direct bus from San Jose with Grupo Blanco that runs every day and takes 8 hours. However, it’s not suited to those who get motion sickness. The bus costs around $15 USD each way.
From Drake Bay
From Drake Bay, there are two ways to get to Puerto Jimenez. The first combines a visit to Corcovado National Park with your transport. You can book this option in Drake Bay with a tour company. Basically, you’ll take the boat from Drake Bay to Sirena Station, explore the park with your guide and then board another boat to Puerto Jimenez afterward. This is what we did!
The other way is via bus and water taxi. You’ll begin by taking a ferry from Drake Bay to Sierpe ($15 USD) and then a bus from there via Palmar Norte. This journey takes around 4 hours. Expect to pay around $25 USD for the entire trip.
If you’re traveling from Uvita or anywhere north or Uvita, you’ll take the bus the same way through Palmar Norte.
Thanks for reading!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read our guide to Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica. I hope you found it helpful!
If you did, then why not check out more of our Costa Rica blogs? We have lots of in-depth guides such as: