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karenf Jun 18th, 2003 06:04 AM

Help with Osa plans
We are leaving intwo weeks and still trying to finalize plans for Osa. Those of you who have stayed at Bosque del Cabo, are the animals on the grounds as it is described on their website. We are debating between staying there or renting Casa Bambu where they say the monkeys are right there but it also involves groceries, cooking or walking to restaurants. I love the idea of being on the beach though.Any thoughts? I remember someone is renting a house near there. Also, Marilynn, I think you mentioned you drove down to Puerto Jimenez. We are thinking of having a car delivered down there but want to know about the drive itself. We did drive all over Costa Rica last year so we are not afraid to drive and want to go to Dominical when we are done. We hate to double back to San Jose and rent there and it seems that Travelair does not stop in Quepos. Also thought about spending a few days at Iguana lodge after Bosque just to have beach time. Thanks. Any advice appreciated.

juliejj Jun 18th, 2003 12:26 PM

We saw lots of birds at Bosque del Cabo(scarlet macaws, toucans, etc.) and a snake but no monkeys or any other animals on their property. We were there for 5 nights in Dec. At Tulemar near Quepos we saw lots of monkeys, coatamundi, racoons, sloths, but no makaws or toucans; however we were there in August for 9 nights.

karenf Jun 18th, 2003 01:12 PM

Dear Juliejj, Thanks for your reply. Did you go on any hikes on their property at Bosque? Their website certainly implies that it is just as easy to see animals there as at Corcovado. If this is not the case then we probably do not want to go there because that is the point of the trip. We have been to Manuelk Antonio but assumed there would be more wildlife down in Osa.What did you think of it overall at Bosque? Thanks again.

Iza Jun 18th, 2003 03:59 PM

Just wanted to chime in Travelair - they do stop in Quepos upon request. We were at Lapa Rios in August of 2001 and flew from Quepos to Puerto Jimenez. The regularly scheduled flight from SJ to Puerto Jimenez stopped in Quepos to pick us up. Lapa Rios made flight arrangements for us.
As to animals at Bosque del Cabo - I am surprised that people stayed there for 5 days and saw no monkeys. We had daily visits from monkeys and coatimundis at Lapa Rios, we could observe them right from our deck.

DaveS Jun 19th, 2003 05:35 AM

We stayed at Bosque last August for four nights in one of their houses. We saw spider, howler, and white face monkeys several times every day. The howlers hang around in the trees above the pool/dining area, the spiders more in the forested areas, the white face in many different areas. Take the night tour and you'll see a wide variety of snakes, frogs, bats, and other nightime dwellers. Other interesting things we saw were sloths, morpho butterflies, coatamundi, leaf cutter ants, and much to my wifes chagrin a ferdelance snake. You can hike down to or get a ride to some really nice variety of beaches on the gulf side or hike to the Pacific side beach. Our stay at Bosque was the best part of our trip even with the heat/humidity. Travelair (now Nature Air) dropped us off in Quepos on the way back to San Jose. I believe you have to request this in advance though.

karenf Jun 19th, 2003 07:25 AM

Dear Dave, Thank you so much for your reply. It is just what we wanted to hear. I contacted Travelair(now natureair ) and they told me they fly from Quepos to Puerto Jimenez but not from Puerto Jimenez to Quepos. Maybe they only do the reverse in the high season? Are the beaches you can hike to suitable for spending the morning on the beach? Did you by any chance drive or did you fly? We are debating about driving but can't find out the current road conditions. I emailed Bosque but they have not answered back yet so flight plans and driving are on hold. Thanks so much for your reply

juliejj Jun 19th, 2003 08:36 AM

Karen-We did not go for long hikes on the Bosque property, maybe if we had we would have seen more mammals as Dave said, or maybe he saw more because of it being August. The people there were great, the setting very nice, food good. There were 2 beaches to hike down to- the Pacific side which was a shorter steep hike and unswimmable beach; and the bay side much longer hike with wider beach and swimmable. They were raw beautiful beaches with nobody around. We hiked down and they gave us a ride back (charged us for ea. pickup). What I didn't like was they mowed their grass- made it less "jungly' feeling, and being charged for a ride back from the beach. Pool was very small. We stopped for a drink at Lapas Rio to see it and were impressed by the views there. Saw lots of monkeys, but it seemed more"formal" vs. "homey' at Bosque. I think it we went back to that area we would try La Paloma near Drake bay- we heard the Bosque owners vacation there! But I would recommend Bosque del Cabo.

DaveS Jun 19th, 2003 10:54 AM

Karen - We flew from SJO to Puerto Jiminez to Quepos then back to SJO. I can tell you the road from Puerto Jimenez to Bosque is very rough and includes a couple of stream crossing (at least in August). If you drive definitely go 4WD. We typically did our hikes in the morning while it was not so hot then headed to the beach in the late morning. Phil packed a nice lunch for us and we walked, hung out at, and swam on the gulf beaches. There are four beaches on the gulf side easily accessible ranging from very rough closet to the Pacific to almost placid on the end. Our kids (10 & 12)loved all of the beaches. As Julie did, we made arrangements to be picked up. We did the same thing on the Pacific side except as Julie said it is very rough and swimming is not recommended. Also, no pick up, save some energy for the walk back up. It is absolutely beautiful though with the jungle coming right down to the beach and we didn't see another person the whole four hours we walked and hung out. There is a nice waterfall about a mile down the beach and tide pools you can cool off in/under.
As far as not hearing back from them quickly, Phil and Kim are very nice and very laid back (almost too much for a New Yorker like myself). We were a bit nervous coming down that everything wasn't going to be in order, but our driver was waiting for us when we got off the plane and everything went like clockwork after that.

Ally Jun 19th, 2003 11:58 AM

Just a word about Casa Bambu.
We stayed down the street at a place called Rancho Amlendros, also known as Rancho Kapu. While there, we walked down to Casa Bambu to meet the owner as we were thinking about renting it, but found out he would be there the same time we would.
It looks like a nice, although somewhat rustic place. I noticed there were no screens on any of the windows and wondered if there would be a problem with bugs. I assume so.
But the property is great. Their backyard is only steps from the ocean and very private.
However, unless I was going to be there for a week or more, I don't think I'd want to cook on my vacation, and there is not much in the way of restaurants. In fact, you'd have to go up to Lapa Rios or one of the other lodges in the there were no real 'restaurants'. Also, even in the rainy season, it's SO hot and humid that I would enjoy the pool at Bosque, even if it is small.
Also, even if there are renters in the house next door or nearby, it's so quiet in the area there may not be anyone else to talk may find yourselves alone. If that appeals to you, check out Ranco Almendros. We stayed in their honeymoon cabina which we loved. It's like a tree house. They say they have a pool, but it's actually just a tiled area about 7 feet around, and about 1 1/2 ft deep. It's spring fed, as is the outdoor shower so no hot water...but very refreshing. The best thing is that they are only about 50 yards to the beach, flat land (no uphill or downhill hike) and they include meals in the price, so no cooking! There are excellent hiking trails all around with plenty of wildlife to see, including all the critters named above. Our favorite hike was through the jungle to Lapa Rios, where we stopped and had a cold beer before heading back. Just another option for you, but Bosque would be better if you want some 'company' other than the property manager.

karenf Jun 19th, 2003 02:54 PM

Dear Julie,Ally, and Dave, Thanks so much for answering.Since we can walk to beaches maybe we will just stay at Bosque the whole time. Ally, you echoed my thoughts about Casa Bambu. I thought the pool, small as it looks, would be refreshing in July. Still have not heard back from Bosque regarding the road. They said the road from Quepos is "not bad"." What does that mean? We have been communicating with Hugo and Leonardo? I am concerned about the road from Puerto Jimenez to Bosque. I really do not wqant to ford streams or get stuck, although after doing the Arenal-Monteverde trip, how bad could it be? Julie, I don't blame you for not wanting to be charged for the trip back up to the lodge from the beach. Just found out from Adobe they will deliver a car to Puerto Jimenez for $100.00. No more free delivery after December 31,2002.So I guess we can fly down, have the car delivered, drive to Quepos, stay there a few days and then return the car in San Jose. The details of this trip are so time consuming.Any other transportation thoughts I'd appreciate it.

Iza Jun 19th, 2003 03:23 PM

I can only relay what I heard from a couple who drove from either Montezuma (or Dominical) to Lapa Rios. They had no complaints about the road. I think it is a paved road all the way to Puerto Jimenez. (After that going to Lapa Rios it was not paved but in fairly good shape - there are a couple of small streams to ford).
I think your plan of flying there and then having a car delivered to drive to Quepos and then on to SJ sounds good.

karenf Jun 20th, 2003 05:09 AM

Dear Iza, Thanks for your reply.It ould save time and effort to have the car delivered. We were thinking it might be an adventure to drive all the way and that way we could stop where we wanted to on the way down and not have to worry about the car actually being delivered, etc. Also, wanted to use the same agency since we had good luck with their rate and professional service last year.The other option is to reverse the trip and go to Quepos first and then fly from there and then fly back to San Jose. Since we really would not need the car once we were at Bosque perhaps that makes sense, also. Very few people ever mention that they have driven to Puerto Jimenez. Maybe that is because they go to a certain place on a package?

Iza Jun 20th, 2003 05:55 AM

Karenf, actually reversing the order of your trip may be a good idea. MA & Quepos may be disappointing after Osa! As to car deliveries, I heard that the rental companies are very good about it. The couple I mentioned drove to Lapa Rios and the car company sent someone from SJ there to pick the car up. The couple flew back with us to San Jose. There is really no need for a car on Osa.
I also spoke to someone who drove from SJ to Quepos and then had the car picked up in Quepos. They said it was easy to arrange as well.

Maybe the way to do it for you would be to rent the car in SJ, drive to Quepos, then drive to Puerto Jimenez and have the car picked up there and then fly back to SJ?

karenf Jun 20th, 2003 07:37 AM

Dear Iza, Thanks for the idea.Actually we were in Manuel Antonio last year and know what to expect. We have been debating about where to return to as this will be our third trip to Costa Rica. We were thinking of just doing beaches like you plan to do, I think, but the Osa and also Tortuguero seem tempting. Actually my husband loved Selva Verde so we might go there for a day or two after San Jose if we rent the car there before we drive to Quepos if we use your plan to drive there first. Have never been to Nosara, Samara,etc. so that is still on the list.Casa Bambu sounded tempting because the website says that the monkeys are right in the trees on the property and the beach is right there.Lapa Rios, even in the rainy season is quite expensive and the atmosphere does not seem casual. Appreciate any more suggestions. Thanks

Iza Jun 20th, 2003 01:04 PM

Karenf, our trip in August will be our third to Costa Rica as well. We still haven't made it to Monteverde or Tortuguero, but a beach vacation seemed more appealing this year so we're going to Malpais, Nosara, Tamarindo and 1 night at Arenal (this will be our second attempt to see the volcano).

We visited Selva Verde briefly on a day trip during our firt visit to Costa Rica and my husband liked it a lot too!

Having never been to either Bosque del Cabo or Bamboo House, here is my take on your dilemma: I would definitely stay at Bosque del Cabo. I think renting a house on Osa will be a very lonely experience and you will feel very isolated. I generally do not like resorts with a lot of people around but even at Lapa Rios the isolation and remoteness bothered me. I don't think I would like to be alone in a house on Osa with nobody around.

karenf Jun 20th, 2003 05:31 PM

Dear Iza, Thanks for your reply. We originally were going to do the same trip as yours. Did you ever find a good web site for hotels for Nosara?Nothing in the guidebooks seemed appealing to me.Also, did you make reservations or are you just winging it?We had a good time in Monteverde last year but the drive there from Arenal was awful. I thought we were prepared but it was so much worse than we thought and then when you got to MOnteverde the roads in the town were just as bad if not worse.I thought about the loneliness factor. The website for Casa Bambu has a lot of comments from people who say things like "it's just like being in a discovery channel movie", etc, monkeys all around,etc. Thanks again

Suzie2 Jun 23rd, 2003 10:45 AM

Hi Karen,
My husband and I have stayed at Lapa Rios and Bosque del Cabo. For many reasons we love Bosque much more than LR. Regarding your question about the animals. Just sitting on the deck eating breakfast there would be wonderful birds (scarlet macaws, toucans, trogons for an example). We were sitting at the bar by the pool watching the white faced monkeys come right to the bar looking for pipas (coconut shells that people have had the juice from-the monkeys like the meat inside that is left). Every afternoon we would take a break from the heat and hiking and every afternoon a troop of monkeys would go by right in front of our bungelow. We did not see any large animals but saw prints and could smell some at one point.
Bosque is right on the point and you can hike down to the Pacific or the Gulf. While we were there several people hiked down to the Gulf and then went sea Kayaking with a company just down the beach from the trail. Bosque will then pick you up. They will even pack you a box lunch with drinks if you want to go down to the beach and spend the day and will pick you up at a pre determined time. If for some reason they don't pick you up just have the people from the kayak place radio them. Most communication down there is done by radio.
On the Pacific side there is a waterfall you can hike to from the beach. Unfortunately you do not get to be picked up from this side and it is a tough climb back up. We did not go too far down the beach but that particular area is pretty rocky.
You mentioned possibly thinking of Iguana Lodge, be warned that the undertow during the tidal changes can be very strong.

beachmama7 Jun 23rd, 2003 12:06 PM

Dear Karen--
As I just wrote to Marylentz about Zancudo, we experienced HEAVY rains while we were down in the Osa Peninsula. Because of the rain, we didn't see anywhere near the amount of animal life we'd seen in two previous trips.
If you are lucky enough not to have the heavy rains, you will see incredible animal life down in the Osa. If not, you will be stuck with little to do down there. We couldn't go in kayaks, like we did before, and hiking was a real chore due to the muddy roads.
We left the Osa with a car that was delivered to us at Puerto Jimenez. The road was initially bad leaving P.J., but it got much better within an hour or so.
We drove up to Manuel Antonio, which is where we stayed for the duration of our trip, and we found the weather and animal life was much better there.
It just depends on the weather and your luck.
Good luck!
Beachmama Marilyn

karenf Jun 23rd, 2003 02:27 PM

Dear Marilyn, Suzieand everyone else answering. Thanks so much for the information. Marilynn, was it smooth having the car delivered to Puerto Jimenez? We have been to MA before and love it but it is pretty crowded there.Do you know if the rains (I know it is rainy season, this is the same time we were there last year) are worse in Osa? In MA last year I think we got a little rain each day. We are just in a quandry because of the season the the big expense involved of going there. If it rains too much we will have wasted a lot of time and money and most places want big deposits. Thanks Any further help is appreciated. Glad to hear there are lots of animals at Bosque.Any good car rental recommendations?

Suzie2 Jun 23rd, 2003 03:45 PM

To find out about rainfall I would contact any one of the places you are thinking of. For Bosque you will most likely be hearing from Leo who was a big help to us.
The two gals that help Iguana out are great and they will be more than glad to answer questions regarding rain. I suspect that the Osa, especially the lower part will be getting a little more rain. Toby and Lauren actually prefer the green season because it is so much prettier there.
Either one of those places can also help you make travel arrangements if you decide to fly.(don't know about a car-drove the first couple of trips 10 years ago and haven't driven since).

lynla Jun 24th, 2003 07:08 AM

As owner of Casa Bambu, I wanted to correct a couple of inaccuracies posted by people who hadn't actually stayed there. One is bugs. This is not a big issue, even though almost all houses in the area are open. I've experienced much worse in New England and Texas! I've only used repellant in the evening when needed and this took care of it. Custom netted beds take care of sleeping. (Often I leave the net open, because I don't need it).

People were also concerned about the loneliness of staying in a house. This has never been a problem. We have wonderful American managers who live nearby, check in with the guests and help with the logistics of being there. We hire them to be your friends in the jungle! There is also a lovely Costa Rican family right next door who caretake the place and interact with the guests. And there is another bamboo solar house 100 feet away. Again, I've never heard from anyone that loneliness was a problem! If you want to interact you can, and if you want privacy, you've got it!

Staying in a house is a trade-off because meals aren't automatically provided - although a cook can be arranged. Also, to correct Ally's post, there ARE two small restaurants in the immediate area, in addition to the eco-resorts, as well as more spontaneous food options (traveling produce market, girls selling tamales, neighbor baking pizza, etc.)

It boils down to preference and the pros of a house (economy, privacy, etc.) vs. a lodge (meals, etc.) Either way, the area is amazing, the wildlife is everywhere and you can't go wrong!

Suzie2 Jun 24th, 2003 08:03 AM

Hi Casa Bambu,
I just looked at your web site and think I know exactly where the house is as I have spent quite a bit of time in that area. I believe I have walked by it several times. It is a lovely area. Martinas is a great place to hang out and if you are lucky enough to be there when they are having a party (Valentines Day is great!) you won't be disappointed.
I have never had trouble with bugs on the Osa.
I am glad this came up as it is something my husband and I would be interested in.

marilynn Jun 24th, 2003 09:25 AM

Hi Karen,
Yes, I drove down to Puerto Jiminez from Dominical. The Pan Am Highway was terrific and when we turned off to the Osa the road was good for about an hour (Ithink) then it was like the road between Manuel Antonio and Dominical. Not as bad as Monteverde! We had a Pathfinder so we forded streams after huge downpours last July. I prefer having a car as you are able to do as you please. Our guide traveled with us in the Osa so that was helpful - I leave tomorrow for our place in Tamarindo and can't wait as we have had the coldest, wetest spring in history here in the northeast. If you are up that way come and visit my husband and I at the Bahia Longosta condos #3A - we will be there for a few weeks and I would love to hear about your travels.We have lots of guests coming down to see the sights so it should be fun.
Marilynn Aymar

beachmama7 Jun 24th, 2003 12:16 PM

Dear Karenf--
I can only share with you OUR experiences in the Osa, and, yes, I think it is much rainier than other parts of C.R.
As I mentioned previously, we recently (early June) spent about a week in the southern part of C.R. We had torrential rain conditions, instead of the more usual tropical rain. It is hard to know what you can expect while you will be there because the weather is so unpredictable--especially lately.
For us, we regretted having spent so much time down south. In fact, we cut two nights out of our anticipated four nights in the Osa because it was clear the weather was getting worse, not better.
The car delivery was SMOOTH. We rented through Adobe, and they were prompt and courteous. The delivery man even spent a little extra time explaining all of the car's features. BTW, we never had any need for 4 wheel drive.
By the time we got to M.A., we were practically dancing from the elation of leaving the buggy, rainy conditions down south. The weather was MUCH better in M.A., and I was even able to get a tan from the time there!
It's up to you about whether you go or not. If I were you, I would not pay too much in advance. You can always add days once you're there, but it might be difficult to get refunds if you decide to leave early.
Best of luck!
Beachmama Marilyn

karenf Jun 24th, 2003 04:12 PM

Dear Friends, Thanks for all your help.I feel much better about driving there.It will be a better idea to rent in San Jose, drive to MA, and then see how the weather is. beachmamma, where did you stay down there? Marilyn, I have been to Tamarindo in January and got to see the turtles and go to Rincon. In fact, that was how we got hooked on Costa Rica. I saw a round trip airfare for Chicago for Liberia for $299.00 At that time it was cheap, so we grabbed it and went on the spur of the moment.Interestingly enough we got a round trip this year for $303.00 Chicago, San Jose.Those of you who have been lately, do you feel tourism is down there compared to last year? Just curious.

Ally Jun 26th, 2003 07:14 AM

Okay, I stand corrected. There were tons of spiders around when I was there, and as we eat by candlelight at night, the cicadas were bothersome while trying to eat. I assumed they would be in the houses without screens, but as I've said, I've been corrected.
And, walking from Lapa Rios, pass Bambu to the end of the road at Rancho Kapu, I didn't see any restaurants, but I guess I should not have assumed that there were none around.
I hope I didn't offend you lynla, and I did say property was great. I was only trying to give my observations having seen the house and walked around the area. God Bless.

Nicci Jun 26th, 2003 08:40 AM

Karen F

Sorry to chime in so late on this thread.
As a former guest of CASA BAMBU, I would highly recommend staying there if you like beachfront, hiking trails at the backdoor, wildlife everywhere, privacy and relaxation. Each morning we enjoyed our coffee on the porch front while watching the titi(squirrel) monkeys eating bananas out of the trees in our yard. On our hikes we saw Toucans, Scarlet Macaws, Bats, Sloths, White-Faced Capuchin Monkeys, Squirrel Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Coati, Agouti and some type of black animal that looked like it had the head of a cat and the body of a weasel.

We didn't feel the need for a swimming pool because we were cooled off by the surrounding nature in the surf and while climbing the refreshing waterfalls. Since we were on the waterfront, there was always a nice breeze to cool us off and keep the bugs away. The insects were only a bother at night when they were attracted to the lights. This was not an issue when sleeping, as Lyn mentioned, the four post beds are entirely secured by netting and entered by zipper. While in bed, we enjoyed listening to the sounds of the ocean waves and the Howler Monkeys. The house was immaculately clean and provided containers to prevent ants and other varmints from trying to eat the food. We didn't cook our own dinners, instead went to Lapa Rios and enjoyed local Costa Rican meals prepared by the caretaker's lovely family. Lapa Rios picked us up from Casa Bambu so we would not have to hike up the hill. Valentin, the caretaker, has lived his whole life in Matapalo and knows the area like the back of his hand. He took us on a fantastic hike showing us wildlife, spectacular views and explaining effects of the medicinal plants.

One day we hiked up to Bosque del Cabo and enjoyed a drink at the bar. The service was very friendly and the grounds were nicely landscaped. However, it was a bit like leaving our adventurous Tarzan and Jane jungle experience for more modern conveniences.

We traveled all over Costa Rica and Osa was by far our favorite place. I'm not the roughing it type and loved staying at Casa Bambu. We look forward to returning someday.

beachmama7 Jun 26th, 2003 12:45 PM

Dear Karenf--
While in Matapalo, we stayed at Encanta La Vida. Suffice it to say that it was absolutely an AWFUL experience. I've written to the owner, delineating our terrible time, and I've asked him for a full refund. We are NOT fussy or particularly difficult guests, but this pushed all our bounds for decency. If the owner, Bryan, fails to respond to my letter, I will write here about everything that happened. As it stands, I definitely do NOT recommend Encanta La Vida, even though we stayed there many years ago and had a great time. More later!
Beachmama Marilyn

Suzie2 Jun 26th, 2003 01:11 PM

Thanks for the heads up beachmama,
We have spent years making our way through the hotels on the Osa (we enjoy staying at different ones each time). Will cross that one off the list.

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