Located in the southwest corner of Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula is a geological formation which developed independently from the rest of Costa Rica, then joined the mainland at a later time. Its unique formation and naturally wet systems, which differ from the rest of the dry Pacific, have produced high levels of biodiversity in a secluded nature wonderland. This area has the single largest expanse of lowland tropical rainforest in Central America and is one of the tallest rainforests in the world. Many rare and endangered species, including the scarlet macaw, the jaguar, and the Central American squirrel monkey, are found on the Osa. It is also home to the rare and endangered Harpy eagle.

The rainforest of the OSA peninsula is made up of the greatest tree species diversity in all of Central America, and supports 4-5,000 vascular plant species, many of which are found no where else on earth. The pristine jungle and the rugged natural beauty of the Osa Peninsula make this region among the most beautiful areas in the country, and the premier eco-tourism destination in Costa Rica.

Because of this rich array of flora and fauna, the more than 100,000 acre Corcovado National Park was created in 1975 on the western part of the peninsula. Part of the Osa Conservation area, Corcovado encompasses 8 distinct habitats from mangrove swamps to montane forest, including one of the most complex fresh water/salt water ecosystems in the world.

Carate, the southern gateway to Corcovado National Park, is the closest point of road access to any of the park entrances. It is a forty minute walk along the beach from the Carate air strip to the La Leona Ranger Station. Besides being a conduit to Corcovado, Carate is a destination in its own right. Boasting miles of pristine Pacific coastline, a backdrop of steep mountains and the Pejeperrita Watershed, the Carate region is teeming with wildlife, waterfalls and mountain streams, and a freshwater lagoon. With the proximity of primary rain forest on the adjacent mountain slopes, Carate has abundant wildlife within easy access, creating a variety of activities for visitors. Wilderness hikes usually include sightings of monkeys, birds and reptiles,  sea turtles, and more recently the Baird’s tapir and puma which have established themselves within the community.

“Playa Lapa”, meaning “Beach of the Scarlet Macaw”, is nestled between the park and the lagoon, and as such, it enjoys a strong awareness of the biodiversity of animal species and vegetation of the rainforest, as well as protection from commercial development within it’s community. Facing the Pacific Ocean with it’s unspoiled beach, Playa Lapa is advantageously situated for day adventures into the Park, kayak excursions on the lagoon, nighttime turtle nesting expeditions, beach jogging, jungle hikes, horseback exploration of the Carate community, or just relaxing on the deck watching the surf and listening to the sounds of the jungle. The photography opportunities are amazing: from macros of tiny metallic beatles, colorful tree frogs and lizards, and brilliant tropical plants, to monkeys, macaws and occasionally anteaters and the “Danta”(tapir) that frequents the jungle adjoining Playa Lapa.