God’s Grand Crus
Text by: Alex Marashian and Photography by: Rainer Hosch
Little Gem. Imagine how crowded a place with 12 distinct ecosystems, 5 percent of all mammal and 10 percent of all bird species must be. Especially on the bean-sized piece of earth called Costa Rica. The N Magazine shows you the insider’s way to paradise. You are standing in an ancient rainforest, a cool jungle breeze drifting over you. Through a clearing in the canopy, a pair of scarlet macaws glides across the pale blue sky. Gauging by the howler monkeys, who’ve convened their afternoon shouting match, it’s already 4.00 p.m. The howlers may be nature’s second loudest creature (after the Blue Whale), their dinosaur-like roar out of all proportion to their diminutive bodies, but at this particular moment you hardly resister their commotion. It’s that right now you have a rather difficult decision to make: You must decide how to spend the hour and a half that remain before the Technicolor explosion that is sunset.
Is there time to take the trail to your left down to the scalloped beaches and sapphire blue waters of the Golfo Dulce? Or should you follow the right-hand trail down to the Pacific and wade in a natural tide pool? Or- it’s just a thought- should you head back to the swimming pool, order a fresh-fruit cocktail at the thatched roof bar, and prepare yourself mentally for the sunset ahead?
If this little dilemma of yours is causing any stress, take comfort in the knowledge that no choice is the wrong one. It’s simply a matter of knowing what kind of trip you want. Costa Rica occupies just 0.03 percent of the Earth’s surface, yet it comprises 12 distinct ecosystems and plays home to five percent of all mammal species, ten percent of all bird species and the greatest diversity of plant species on the planet. There’s no way to do it all in Costa Rica- much better to do it well. What follows is a neat little itinerary that swings you through three distinct geographic zones. By no means exhaustive, it is premised on the assumption that you are looking for rest and rejuvenation, for white sands and sun and for an encounter with nature at her most majestic.
III. THE OSA PENINSULA on Costa Rica’s southern Pacific coast is, thankfully, one of the country’s least developed regions. The only town here, the sleepy but colourful Puerto Jimenez, has less than 5000 people. Its landing strip (there’s no airport to speak of) is lined with homes, and sitting on the porch watching propeller planes come and go is a common enough pastime. If you’re looking for action, dawdle in Puerto Jimenez just long enough to drink a bottle of Costa Rica’s excellent Imperial beer, then head straight for the peninsula’s main attraction.
Corcovado National Park is the crown jewel of the Costa Rican park system. Some 1200 scarlet macaws live here (the largest population in Central America), along with jaguars and pumas, tapirs and coatamundis and all four native monkey species. Sometimes referred to as the Amazon of Costa Rica, Corcovado is the largest intact tract of primary rainforest anywhere on the Pacific. It’s a two-hour ride on the only road to Corcovado from Puerto Jimenez with monkeys leaping from branches.
Bosque del Cabo
Nestled in a 200-hectare private rainforest, the hotel’s elegant bungalows and villas all have view of the ocean, and US-trained chef Miguel conjures up exquisite meals.