Updated: Jul 10, 2019
Get ready for your jungle explorations around Ojo del Mar.
With over 750 species of trees, nearly 460 resident and Neotropical migratory bird species, 117 species of reptiles and amphibians, around 120 species of large and small land mammals - there is plenty of opportunity to encounter wildlife during your visit.
But, while it is only 700km square, the Peninsula has more than 20 distinct ecosystems, all with their own unique features and residents. Add to that the surrounding Pacific and Gulf waters - with nearly 4,000 marine species reported there - and it becomes nearly impossible to learn about all the inhabitants of the entire Osa Peninsula.
This guide helps narrow things down, by focusing on the land, sea and sky nearest Ojo del Mar, to help maximize your rainforest experiences before, during and after your trip.
Before You Arrive
It helps to get familiar with the area right around Ojo del Mar.
We are on the southwest end of the Osa Peninsula, between Puerto Jimenez and Cabo Matapalo. Our three acres start at the Golfo Dulce, and stretch up into the forest.
Use our GoogleMap - it’s tagged with lots of good information! Check out both the Map view for the roads, and the Satellite View to see the topography around us.
Once you get the lay of the land, go check out iNaturalist.org. This is an app and a website that lets anyone share observations and information about plant, animal and other organisms around the world. It is crowd-sourced, so it relies on people adding their sightings and place-markers to build the data. Given the rich biodiversity of our area, there is lots of information - and it makes a great start to your personal Spotting Guide.
You can check out the entire Osa Peninsula region - from there, you can zoom in on the area around Ojo del Mar - or - just follow this link to go right to our clicking our “Bounding Box” (seen on the left.) You can also follow dedicated groups and projects.
[call out] You can add to iNaturalist. Use the iNaturalist mobile app to take a clear picture of organisms you find on the Osa, then tag and upload your observations. This will help in monitoring and cataloging the Osa’s flora and fauna, and provide important species records and other data.
During Your Stay
If you have a short time, there are a few places that can get you quickly into the thick of things:
Corcovado National Park is a popular item on the list, and for good reason: its 127,000 acres of primary rainforest is home to an astonishing diversity of wildlife - tree frogs and snakes, monkeys, sloths, jaguars, and tapirs. We recommend the entrance near Carate - from there, you can either hike on trails at Corcovado Tent Camp, or head straight into the park.
For a shorter hike, Matapalo is a great destination. It takes about an hour to reach Matapalo from Ojo del Mar, and on your way you can expect to see a huge variety of wildlife, including monkeys. anteaters, sloths, coatimundis, macaws, toucans, hawks, poison dart frogs --as well as the incredible flora that fills the peninsula.
A tour of the Golfo Dulce - and the mangroves of Rio Esquinas - will bring you into the world of marine life and coastal species. Out on the gulf, you may see rays, whales, dolphins, aquatic birds and other sea life. In and along the river, you might see caimans, crocodiles, basilisk lizards, lots of bird life, and a variety of other animals typical of the mangrove.
Of course - Ojo del Mar is itself a great place to see animals. Look up, down and in the foliage all around you!
After Your Visit
Share your experiences through photos, videos, and stories. Be sure to use hashtags on your social media posts (and include #ojodelmar!) so more people can pick up your images. Create detailed captions that also give information about the conservation status or other unique attributes of the animal and plant life you feature.
Make a Difference. Now that you’ve seen a *real* rainforest, you probably have more understanding of what the Osa is up against. Your awareness and first-hand experience gives you something not everyone has - how can that help you make a difference when you get home?
Maps and Life Lists
Students from Dartmouth College created a great guide to the animals of Corcovado that gives a beginner-friendly overview of the park's mammals, reptiles, marine animals and insect life.
For serious Spotters, visit the IUCN Red List for deep information on the endangered, threatened and vulnerable organisms near us. Our map of the Red List Animals logged within 25km of Ojo del Mar is a good place to start - it shows details on 12 Endangered and Vulnerable species in our immediate radius. The site provides images, habitat and behavior information; by using the search filters you can change the types of species, locations, status and more.
Articles and Guides
Increased ecotourism has brought increased stress to jungle animals and their habitats. Take some time to review our guide on Responsible Rainforest Adventures.
This report from Stanford University offers a detailed overview of the issues faced by the Marine Ecosystems of Osa and Golfito.