The Osa Peninsula
The Osa Peninsula is a paradise of impressive beauty and planetary importance. To the north is the Térraba-Sierpe Wetland, a Ramsar site of global significance for protecting aquatic birds and home to the largest mangrove forest on the Pacific coast of the American Center. To the east is the Golfo Dulce, one of four tropical areas for watching dolphins and whales. An impressive necklace of coral reefs stretches along the Corcovado National Park and Isla del Caño. Along the beaches is an essential refuge for four of the seven endangered species of sea turtles.
The rapid and little-controlled tourist development appears as a growing threat to the marine life of the Peninsula, mainly due to the commercial and sport fishing fleets.
Few organizations have emerged for the protection of the Osa, of which the following are the best known:
Osa Biological Corridor Technical Coalition
A coalition of national and local conservation organizations includes five well-established conservation groups working on the Osa Peninsula.
Amigos de Osa
A group of landowners in the southern part of the Peninsula manage their land as a private wildlife refuge.
Corcovado National Park
On the Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park, known as “the jewel in the crown” in the Costa Rican park system, is home to numerous endemic species, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects. The Park contains at least 13 critical ecosystems, including lowland forests, cloud forests, lagoons, mangroves, beaches, and coral reefs, and is home to nearly 5,000 plant species, including more than 700 tree species. Projects to guarantee the preservation of biodiversity, such as the Osa Biological Corridor, which will connect Corcovado with more significant extensions of the forest, depend on a lot of cooperation, both official and civil, since half of the ground required is in private hands.
Tha Ballena Marine National Park
The Ballena Marine National Park is recognized nationally and internationally for the annual visitation of different species of cetaceans, such as the humpback whale, pilot whale, Bryde’s whale, and false killer whales, plus three resident species of dolphins, including bottlenose dolphins, spotted dolphins, and spinner dolphins, plus several species of sea turtles – hawksbill turtle, green turtle, olive ridley turtle.
This Park constitutes the first Costa Rican protected wilderness area created exclusively for its marine resources. It has an extension of 5,160 marine hectares and 171 terrestrial hectares, with a 15 km long coastline from the mouth of the Morete River to Punta Piñuela. It presents a humid tropical forest with a dry season from mid-December to mid-April, sporadic rains, and a rainy season from mid-April to mid-December.
Regarding vegetation, the most critical forest patches are in Punta Ballena and Punta Piñuela, where you can find ojoche, Cedro maría, chicosapote, and lizard trees. The mangrove, in Estero Negro and its surroundings, is made up of red mangrove, button, and salt stick.
Regarding fauna, in addition to the humpback whale, you can find species such as the spotted dolphin, the bottlenose dolphin, the manta ray, the hammerhead shark, the parrotfish, and the mackerel. Whale Island is also an important nesting site for the white ibis; Other species of birds found in the Park are the seaport and the cinnamon booby. Whale Islands also have 17 species of corals.