• The Osa Peninsula
  • Drake's Bay

Inside Scoop

The Sierpe rivermouth hosts the largest mangrove ecosystem in Central America. All of the coastal estuaries are plentiful with fish and more than a few sharks and crocodiles, so stay vigilent. The towns of Sierpe, Drake's Bay, and Puerto Jimenez have plenty of boat captains to take you on a surf trip adventure, where you will most likely not see another surfer in the lineup.


Once you get south of Playa Ojochal, there is one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in the world. The road turns inland for awhile, and you are staring at the western flank of the Talamancan Range, watching the rainsclouds settled in the peaks. Then you can continue south towards Pavones or turn west back towards the Pacific. Adjoining the northen part of the Osa Peninsula is the town of Sierpe and south of that, Drake's Bay. Bahia Drake is a protected stretch of beach, with rainforest meters from the boutique eco-lodges and fishing village. Then to the South begins Corcovado National Park, with access to surf only by foot or by boat. At the southern tip of the Osa Peninsula is Cabo Matapalo, with three right point breaks to surf.

How to get there

There are two direct routes. From the San Jose airport - I recommend driving west to the coast and then south through Jaco and Quepos. This route takes only three hours by car because of the new highway connecting San Jose to Caldera. Also, the road from Quepos to Dominical is now paved and so the last leg takes only 35 minutes. Drive slow to watch out for monkey and pizote crossings. From Dominical, keep driving south past Uvita and Palmar Norte. After another 2 kilometers, you will see the sign to turn off to Sierpe.

Go another 20 kilometers to Chacarita and then look for signs to Rincon and Puerto Jimenez. Rincon is about 30 kilometers, and then it's another 30 km. to Puerto Jimenez. Expect this to take twice as long as you think due to rain and road hazards.

From there to Playa Matapalo, it is another 25 kilometers. The first 20 are on well grated unpaved roads and the last 5 kilometers can be brutal, especially from May to November. A 4wd vehicle is almost mandatory.

The other route is to fly into the capital San Jose and take one of several daily Nature Air or Sansa flights to Puerto Jimenez. The flight is about forty five minutes, and then you can find a taxi to take you further or to your hotel.


Bulletins - Anuncios

Support the Corcovado Foundation in their efforts to protect the Osa Peninsula. Their members are local businesses who care about their community.

Surf Spots

Drake's Bay has no surf, but there is a left point break 20 minutes away by boat (see the photo at the top). The part of the Osa directly facing the Pacific is a massive beachbreak with hundreds of unridden sandbars. This is the southern tip of Costa Rica, and the waves are as wild as the landscape. Best access is by boat, although during the dry season it can be accessed by 4wd. The beaches and rock ledges pick up swell from the South and Southwest and certain peaks light up depending on the tide and wave size.

Rio Terraba Rivermouth

The Terraba river is one of the largest in Costa Rica, so the rivermouth has a lot of rip currents and a few crocs and sharks to worry about as well. The wave breaks about 500 meters out and can hold any size surf. Hardly anyone ever surfs here since the best access is by boat.

Cabo Matapalo

Matapalo has three breaks, this one is the furthest out on the tip of the Osa Peninsula. The slim beach has lots of white washed cobblestones and larger boulders and ledges out in the lineup. There needs to be swell or it will go flat. Waves can get up to triple overhead and break for 300 meters with a solid West Southwest swell. Best tides are low to mid tide, it can mush out at high tide. Blue water, scarlet macaws, monkeys in the rainforest - it is a paradise to surf. Too bad when it's good there are 20+ surfers on the peak.

Matapalo - Backwash

At the tip of the Osa Peninsula, this peak is marked by a giant rock sticking up in the lineup. The waves need to be head high or bigger for this place to work. Best tides to surf it are low to mid tides. It is very remote, and never too crowded since it takes about 1.5 hours to get here from Puerto Jimenez by 4wd. Many take boats from Pavones.

Pan Dulce

Pan Dulce 'sweet bread' is the third break at the tip of the Osa Peninsula. It needs a really big south swell to break, but when it does the right can go on for 300+ meters. Best just before or after low tide. At dead low is it just too rocky, at high tide will mush out. Best access is by boat from Pavones.

Playa Zancudo

Playa Zancudo 'mosquito' is about an hour drive from Golfito. It is a beachbreak with a huge rivermouth at the north end, building up nice sandbars for whatever swell squeezes up into the Golfo Dulce. Best tides to surf it are higher tides. It needs a big south or SSW swell to work. And it's more a fishing village than a surf spot, so it is rarely crowded.

Surf Camps

Everyday Adventures

Description: Specializing in jungle and ocean adventures, relaxation, and good vibes. Expect to see monkeys, sloths, scarlet macaws, toucans, big cats, crocodiles, and much, much more while staying only steps from Cabo Matapalo and minutes from Backwash and Pan Dulce.
Cabo Matapalo


Use the map above to book directly or contact us to help you plan a customized trip.

Cabinas Jimenez

Puerto Jimenez 2735-5090 $40+

Casa Bambu

Cabo Matapalo 512-263-1650 or 8702-5906 $155+

Lapa Rios

Cabo Matapalo 2735-5130 $215pp+

Ojo del Mar

south of Puerto Jimenez 2735-5531 $45pp+

Encanta La Vida

Matapalo 506-2735-5678

Luna Lodge

south of Puerto Jimenez (888) 762-4069 $100pp+

(R) - This hotel has a review written for it. Click the 'R' to read it.

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House Rentals

Las Olas Beach House

The 2 bdrm/2 bath beach house is ideal for the active family looking for adventure off the grid in unspoiled tropical wilderness. Scarlet Macaws, toucans, monkeys and sloths are commonly seen from the lanai and adventure is just outside. Great right hand point waves when the swell is on, or adrenaline pumping adventures offered through Everyday Adventures when it's flat. steps from Cabo Matapalo Contact Us $100/nt+

Surfside Bungalows

between cape and Backwash 506-2735-5702 $100/nt+

Recommended Restaurants

Restaurant Carolina

Description: for fresh fruit smoothies and cool cervezas

Il Giardino

Description:  Specialties are seafood and homemade pasta. Decent Italian wine selection. Visit their blog.

Puerto Jimenez  

Soda Deya

Description:  One of the many 'sodas' or tiny local restaurants in town. Try their 'casados'! Puerto Jimenez

Surf Shops

None at this time that I am aware of. Closest are in Pavones or Dominical.