Way down south on the Osa Peninsula, perched between the Golfo Dulce and Pacific Ocean, is a lodge that beckons to all those curious about spending a few days in the jungle.
From the moment guests arrive at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest Lodge and are greeted with an ice-cold glass of star-fruit juice (a welcome sight after journeying a hot 45 minutes from the town of Puerto Jiménez) until they check out, this spot provides unique ways to experience all that the Osa has to offer.
That means taking off on your own to explore trails around the 750-acre property leading to creeks and waterfalls through serene primary and secondary rain forest. It means discovering lookout points to take in the Golfo Dulce and Pacific Ocean, or signing up for adrenaline-producing activities such as waterfall rappelling and surfing. Or just hanging out by the pool and sipping the specialty drink of the day.
However guests choose to fill their days at Bosque del Cabo, it’s impossible not to come away with the spirit owners Phil and Kim Spier have injected in the place since Phil moved here almost 20 years ago from Florida.
Since then, the property has been transformed from a finca victimized by slash-andburn farming to an ecologically conscious getaway that practices what it preaches by
producing its own hydro and solar power, processing gray water and reforesting.
Unharmed by agriculture, the rain forest has since reclaimed the land, as the Spiers will proudly tell you, and native fauna have returned.
During my stay, I found myself often conversing with other guests about who’d spotted what animals. The topic naturally comes up, as everyone’s on a common mission.
On my list: spider monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, toucans and scarlet macaws. Others boasted howler monkey, squirrel monkey and agouti spottings.
Three-toed sloths, anteaters, pumas and jaguars are among other creatures that call the grounds home.
The beauty of Bosque is that you don’t need a guide to get out and find these OsaPeninsula gems (though an excellent one is available from the early morning through the night to educate you about constellations, birds and symbiotic relationships in the rain forest, among a plethora of other topics).
Well-marked trails are easy to find and great for exploring the rain forest or heading to your pick of a few pristine beaches.
Even more beautiful is that you don’t have to leave your room to experience nature. In fact, just lying in bed affords a great view of the azure Pacific Ocean beyond trees where monkeys swing and a variety of birds perch. And the bungalows have porches with benches perfectly situated for gazing out at the Pacific.
The accommodations at Bosque del Cabo are in line with the owners’ mantra of living with nature and not allowing its beauty to be overshadowed by human efforts. That said, the 10 bungalows that dot the grounds are comfortable havens complete with details such as silky sheets and plush blankets.
Safe under the mosquito net, you can fall asleep with the doors open, to the sound of crashing waves and the jungle’s nocturnal symphony.
The highlight of each bungalow is the outdoor shower, an ingenious design that allows for both total privacy and great ocean and forest views – a treat for honeymooners and the nudity-inclined. Standing under its stream and looking out at the wilderness makes one feel like a true Adam or Eve, uninhibited by clothes or a roof. A mosaic tile bathtub text to the shower offers another delicious experience of simultaneously soaking, stargazing and listening to the animals nearby.
The four standard bungalows each have two double beds, an outdoor shower and double doors that open out to the ocean, while the six deluxe bungalows each have a king-size bed, an expanded outdoor shower area and wraparound porch.
In addition to the bungalows, Bosque has two houses, Casa Blanca and Casa Miramar. Designed with groups in mind, they have kitchens, living areas, observation decks and porches. And the five-acre TropicalGarden area contains three more bungalows with jungle and garden views.
Finally, the Vista Mar accommodation, located under the owners’ private office, has a queen-size bed, outdoor shower with garden view and private deck.
Given the lodge’s isolation, it’s natural that prices include all meals, which are served at an open pavilion area next to the pool. Breakfast and lunch are à la carte, with banana pancakes, loaded omelets and, of course, gallo pinto among the options. All are accompanied by a plate of fresh fruit, coffee, tea and fresh juice.
Lunch is simple but tasty, with sandwiches such as Phil’s famous tuna melt, cheese and avocado and chicken with mango salsa. Hearty casados with fresh fish, chicken or beef are also always available. For those heading to the beach or elsewhere for the afternoon, the kitchen packs lunches to go.
Dinner time feels a bit like being at camp for adults. Everyone converges around the dining area and pool as 7 p.m. approaches, sipping drinks and snacking on hors d’oeuvres. Then a conch is blown to announce that dinner is served – a Bosque tradition.
Guests choose from a few creative menu options most nights, and Friday brings a buffet spread of flavorful meats cooked on the barbecue, as well as plenty to keep veggie lovers happy.Arugula salad with toasted walnuts and goat cheese and black-eyed pea patties with smoked jalapeño sauce are among the options.
Guests sit together at long tables and usually end up swapping stories from the day, but private tables are available for those who don’t feel like chatting.
The lodge is happy to accommodate vegetarians or those with other special needs, and this flexible attitude extends to all of its services. At guests’ requests, the front desk staff can arrange a wide selection of activities such as sportfishing, snorkeling, horseback riding and boat tours. They can also set up a tour of nearby CorcovadoNational Park, though it’s not essential – Kim says guests who make the trip often come back saying they saw just as much wildlife, if not more, at Bosque. Prices vary during the high season, green season and holiday season. Standard bungalows range from $140 per night for two people during the green season to $175 during the holiday season, while the deluxe bungalows run $165 per night during the high season and $160 per night during the green season. Houses range from $275 to $425 per day, depending on the time of year, and the TropicalGarden bungalows range from $110 to $135 per night for two people. Vista Mar accommodation ranges from $140 to $220.
For a complete list of prices and more information, visit www.bosquedelcabo.com or call 735-5206.
You can get to Bosque del Cabo by land or air. Flying is a much quicker option for those traveling from the Central Valley area; Sansa (www.flysansa.com) and Nature Air (www.natureair.com) both offer daily flights to Puerto Jiménez, 22 kilometers from the lodge. From there, a Bosque vehicle can pick you up.
Driving to the lodge is an adventure. The owners recommend arriving while it’s still light out, as poor roads can be even tougher to navigate in the dark. First, get to the town of Puerto Jiménez, either via theInter-American Highway
, which heads south from San José through Cartago, crossing over Cerro de la Muerte down into San Isidro and on to the OsaPeninsula, or by heading south along the Pacific coast from Quepos until the road connects with theInter-American Highway
in Palmar Norte.
About 30 kilometers south of Palmar Norte is the turnoff for the OsaPeninsula at Chacarita. A sign by a large gas station on the right indicates 77 kilometers to Puerto Jiménez. Bosque’s Web site warns that after this turnoff the road is in bad shape, so reaching Puerto Jiménez takes another hour and a half to two hours. The site also recommends filling up on gas in Puerto Jiménez, since gas stations on the peninsula are hard to come by.
Bosque del Cabo is about 45 minutes’ drive from Puerto Jiménez. The dirt road is rough, and there are several streams to cross. Those traveling during the rainy season should gauge water depth and use extra caution. Two kilometers after climbing some steep hills, the road flattens out, and Bosque’s 1.5-kilometer driveway is the third on the left after the entrance sign for neighboring Lapa Ríos lodge.