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Anywhere in Central America as biologically diverse and beautiful as Osa?

Anywhere in Central America as biologically diverse and beautiful as Osa?

Old Jul 8th, 2012, 06:05 PM
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Anywhere in Central America as biologically diverse and beautiful as Osa?

DH and I have been to Costa Rica three times and while we enjoyed Arenal and Manuel Antonio, we fell in love with the Osa Peninsula and have now been there three times, staying at Lapa Rios, Bosque del Cabo, and La Paloma. All were amazing. We took one trip to Belize and weren't as blown away by it as we were by Costa Rica -- it didn't seem as wild and unspoiled. We have about 10 days to get away in early January and would like to try somewhere else in Central America and are wide open -- it could be somewhere in Costa Rica we've never been, or Honduras, Guatemala, or Panama. We love snorkeling and hiking -- and appreciate anyplace with a lot of biological diversity -- but are not divers. We don't need a lot in the way of creature comforts but appreciate a private bathroom and good food and wine. We are both into wildlife photography. We have also enjoyed exploring Mayan ruins in both Mexico and Belize although I think we enjoy nature more than civilization, however ancient. We've also enjoyed exploring islands in the Caribbean including St. Lucia, St. John, and Virgin Gorda, and would consider visiting another Caribbean island, maybe Dominica? Open to suggestions. Not looking to travel into South America or farther afield this time due to a limited amount of time off. We'll be traveling from the Washington DC area. Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 8th, 2012, 08:51 PM
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10 days would be more than enough time for the Peruvian Amazon.

Have you been to Corovado in the Osa? Much more rustic than the lodges you mentioned.

The other places that are known for their intense biodiversity are La Moskitia in Honduras and the Darien Gap in Panama. But, both are 'roughing it' locations.
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 05:56 AM
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Hi Lisa, our interests are similar. Look into Panama! We really enjoyed it after a couple great trips to Costa Rica. Great hiking in the mountainous area around Boquete. Look at Los Quetzales lodging, also Coffee Estates Inn. Fun to stay at other working coffee plantations. It's just a beautiful area up there by the border with CR. In and around Panama City itself is very interesting - you can take a cab to Gamboa area for some good walks and wildlife viewing. Panama is easy to get to- and easier to get around in perhaps than CR. Panama City is a much more interesting and fun capital city than SJ. Even has some good restaurants. I've been to Dominica long ago - just a day trip over from Guadeloupe. Did a nice jungle walk - didn't see that much though. Could be luck of the draw. It's very small..

Know you've nixed SA because of short time available, but did you know Avianca has a direct flight from DC to Bogota? Takes only 5 hours or so. No time change. We were in Colombia for 2 months this winter - gorgeous scenery, fabulous birds and other wildlife. Highly recommend it - if not for this trip - then another. Also - Napo Wildlife Center in Ecuador. . .
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 08:06 AM
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I'm with RAC. We loved the Osa, too, because it was the part of Costa Rica that most reminded us of the Amazon. No snorkeling there, though. Although I did swim in the river with my kids while my husband was fishing nearby from our boat for Pirhana. Now that's an experience. (Most of the time they won't bother you.)
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 09:40 AM
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The Tortuguero area is pretty wild and unspoiled, and the wildlife reminded me a lot of the Osa. Tortuga Lodge is a nice upscale spot with great food and wonderful service. To me, I'd rather go during turtle season though. We saw a lot of amazing wildlife - toucans, parrots, monkeys, crocs, poison dart frogs, otters, caimans, etc. Lots of great photo ops. It's primarily a canal based environment though so mostly boating and kayaking vs. hiking.
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Old Jul 9th, 2012, 07:23 PM
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Forgot to add to RACs mention of Darien. We went there on one of our Panama trips and highly recommend that as well for wildlife viewing and hiking. But as RAC said it's roughing it - and not inexpensive. Best is to go with Ancon Expeditions - fly on small plane to grass landing strip at Cano. 13 hours walk to nearest town! no roads in. just jungle. A bunkhouse lodge - simple beds and shared baths. Dining gazebo.
Good simple food. Electricity just till dark. Wonderful!
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Old Jul 26th, 2012, 10:04 AM
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We were in Panama this spring and loved it! Panama has some interesting history, compared with CR, and it was kinda cool to see the contrast of old colonial PC and glittering Chicago-style skyscrapers across the bay, viewed from our rooftop patio in old Casco Viejo. We got a birding guide to take us into Soberania national park and it was outstanding! You could check into the Canopy Tower and the Rainforest Discovery Center. The Smithsonian tropical research institure is there and you can visit that. A more-visited place with some really terrific snorkeling was Bocas del Toro, which we flew to from PC. Look into Jampan tours for snorkeling there. The town itself isn't much to speak of (more of a party place), but Bocas is an archipelago and there are some really cool places to stay outside of town (Tesoro Escondido, Playa Bluff Lodge)or on outer islands (esp. Bastimentos Island with La Loma Jungle Lodge and Casa Cayuco). Took a cool trip in a dugout (cayuca) canoe to an indigenous village. Lots of great birds, butterflies, monkeys and flowers were seen and hospitality, esp. at Tesoro Escondido, was fantastic.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2012, 06:50 AM
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The Mal Pais region is beautiful, you can find howler monkeys, butterflies and best of all not overwhelmed with tourist. I recommend staying at Mal Pais surf camp. The howler monkeys will be your alarm clock each morning.
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