Plan your trip with Finca Exotica
Finca Exotica is the closest rainforest eco lodge to Corcovado National Park accessible by car, on the southern coast of the Osa Peninsula. We are located in Carate, 42 km from Puerto Jimenez. Passing Matapalo, you’ll find us at the end of the road that accesses the Parque Nacional Corcovado, right before the airstrip.
Commuter flights from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez are a great way to arrive on the peninsula. The flight takes about fifty minutes, and there are two airlines flying daily from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez: Nature Air and Sansa. They charge around $100 to $200 one way, and both offer discounts to children under twelve. It is important to book flights early as they do fill up. We can also help you charter planes directly to Carate.
Here are the links:
Both airlines fly out of the main airport, Juan Santamaria International Airport. Just ask one of the airport staff for directions to the Nature Air or Sansa check in and they will show you the way.
Both airlines have a minimum 45 minute check-in time and there’s a baggage weight restriction of 30 lbs per person – extra weight costs 55 cents per pound (see packing list for suggestions, and remember than ten extra pounds means you pay only an additional $5.50, so don’t stress too much when it comes to packing). Surf boards less than seven feet long are generally not a problem.
Please note that if you are flying with Nature Air, you will have to go back through immigration again which takes longer so get to the airport nice and early if you are flying with Nature Air.
Direct bus to Puerto Jiménez leaves San Jose at 12:00 noon everyday, for an 8-hour drive. AutoTransportes Blanco (Phone: [+(506) 257-4121] offers 2 departures per day from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. From there you can take a privete taxi or a Collectivo to Carate (see above).
The trip by land on a 4X4 or bus from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez can be from 7-10 hours, depending on the weather and road conditions. Please be careful if you drive a rental car.
With regards to getting here from Puerto Jimenez, you have 2 options:
Colectivo- This is the public bus service (an open backed truck) which leaves twice a day from opposite the supermarket ’96′ in Puerto Jimenez. Ask anyone in town if you can’t find it. It leaves at 6am and 1:30pm. The journey on average takes 2.5-3 hours and costs $10 per person. Tell the driver you are coming to Finca Exotica and he will drop you off right outside. Going back to town, you can pick it up at around 8:30am and 3:30pm from right outside Finca Exotica.
Taxi- This will cost around $80 for a one-way trip. It is quicker and obviously you can choose the time you want to leave town. It’s also much less bumpy than the colectivo! We do recommend reserving a taxi in advance so if you would like to come this way, let us know and we shall happily book it for you.
If you are driving, please only come in a 4×4. There are various rivers to cross and for this reason a 4×4 is recommended. The journey takes 1.5-2 hours. Please arrive no later than 5pm- the road is much easier to drive during daylight hours. There is only one road between Puerto Jimenez and Carate- you just follow the road and look out for our main entrance on the right hand side opposite the beach. Our main entrance is found just before the end of the small airstrip. We offer free parking for all guests.
Passport (valid for at least six months after your arrival into Costa Rica)
Drivers license if you want to rent a car
Tickets and itineraries
Cash: American dollars are fine. No Euros, they are hard to change and extra comissions will usually be charged! We don’t recommend exchanging U.S. Dollars for Costa Rican colones before arrival into the country or at the International Airport, as the exchange rate is bad. U.S. Dollars are readily and cheerily accepted everywhere in Costa Rica.
Credit Card: Visa or MasterCard are the only two cards that most businesses accept.
Keep copies of all your documents and cards at home and in a separate luggage, just in case…
IMPORTANT: ONE FLASHLIGHT PER PERSON!
1 pair of long pants: you can use these on the airplane, as a cover up against sunburn, and you may want to hike in them, although most people prefer to hike in shorts.
1 long sleeve shirt for sunburn protection
Light sweater or jacket (really you just need this for the airplane ride and nights at San Jose – rain jackets don’t work too well when the rain is this warm)
2 – 3 pairs of shorts/skirts
4 T-shirts, tank tops, casual shirts and/or blouses
3 swimsuits (most women also like a cover up or sarong)
1 casual dress or skirt is totally optional and just for fun (especially if you plan on salsa dancing)
Tevas with spider rubber are the best in rainy season; Crocs are what we wear most of the time. Flip-flops are only good to go to the beach.
Runners or hiking shoes – chances are whatever you bring will get wet, and some shoes dry better than others. We can provide you most sizes of rubber boots.
1 – 2 pairs of socks
Insect repellent (thanks to a constant breeze we have very few biting insects. However, if you are delicate, try to get a brand that contains citronella or deet)
Again, 1 flashlight per person!!! – if you want to look for turtles (May – December), bring flashlights that have a red covering.
Travel alarm (if planning early morning birding excursions, etc)
Camera (with a decent battery, and your charger)
Ziploc bags to keep things dry
Dry bags if you are planning on doing a lot of kayaking
A mask and snorkel if you would like to enjoy the reef and dolphin tour. We do have some masks and snorkels for your use, but many folks prefer to bring their own. We also have a large variety of fins that you may use, and may prefer these over fitting yours in your luggage. If you bring yours however, we can usually trade them from you, especially if you bring our favorites: Mares Planar Avanti, or Cressi Gara 3000. both excellent fins for Long-gliding. If you also bring your swim goggles (View are the best fitting), you’ll probably have a complete new under water experience and be surprised how fast you can swim!
Bring a good book and maybe donate it to our growing library after you read it?
Finca Exotica provides beach towels and mats.
Finca Exotica Eco Lodge is located on Playa Carate, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. The nearest town to us is Puerto Jimenez, a 42km drive away along a scenic drive passing through both jungle and farmland.
Have you organized travel to the Osa yet? If you are looking to come by plane to the Osa Peninsula, you can flight with SANSA ! http://flysansa.com/
With regards to getting here from Puerto Jimenez, you have 3 options:
Colectivo- This is the public bus service (an open backed truck) which leaves twice a day from opposite the supermarket ’96’ in Puerto Jimenez. Ask anyone in town if you can’t find it. It leaves at 6am and 1:30pm. The journey on average takes 2.5-3 hours and costs $10 per person. Tell the driver you are coming to Finca Exotica and he will drop you off right outside. Going back to town, you can pick it up at around 8:30am and 3:30pm from right outside Finca Exotica.
Taxi- This will cost around $80 for a one-way trip. It is quicker and obviously you can choose the time you want to leave town. It’s also much less bumpy than the colectivo! If you would like to come by private taxi, let us know and we shall happily book it for you.
Please note that we DO NOT receive any commission from taxis, therefore the taxi ride is not more expensive if you reserve it with us. Actually, it is usually cheaper. We strongly recommend organizing a taxi through us if this is your preferred method of travel as there is an increasing number of ´illegal´ taxis now on the Osa Peninsula- we do not want to promote this service by giving these pirate drivers work. The local taxi drivers we use are safe, friendly, and fully licensed.
If you are driving, please only come in a 4×4. Please let us know if you would like to rent a car and we shall recommend you a good company. There are various rivers to cross and for this reason a 4×4 is recommended. The journey takes 1.5-2 hours. Please arrive no later than 5pm- the road is much easier to drive during daylight hours.
There is only one road between Puerto Jimenez and Carate- you just follow the road and look out for our main entrance on the right hand side opposite the beach. Our main entrance is found just before the end of the small airstrip. We offer free parking for all guests.
It has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, one of the oldest democracies south of the United States border, no standing army, and very good salsa dancers! A smile goes further here than almost anywhere else in the world. You should expect to meet wonderful, friendly Costa Ricans called Ticos/Ticas. They are a gentle people, sometimes a bit shy until you look them in the eye and smile. They are not to be feared as thieves or rip-off artists, and unlike other Latin American countries, Ticos rarely bargain over prices but may give you a discount for payment in cash.
Costa Ricans are a soft-spoken yet prideful people, who love children. They shake hands when meeting you, as do their children. They expect you and yours to do the same. Once Ticos are past infancy they do not lose their temper in public. Pura Vida, right? Hence, the only way to really not get ahead in this country, make a fool of yourself, and guarantee to not get what you want, is to lose yours. On the other hand, when you smile, lighten up a situation, try to crack a joke, they will go to any extreme to help you out. They are a genuine people, and appreciate connecting with you on the same level.
If you are traveling with young children, especially toddlers, consider for a moment that the Osa Peninsula is a jungle: a wild and remote place with all sorts of flora and fauna, often beautiful and intriguing but at the same time dangerous. The beach is gorgeous and generally family friendly but is also an ocean, inviting but unpredictable. There is no lifeguard or other beach supervision.
Most visitors to Costa Rica are used to the change of season in temperate northern countries but may not be accustomed to transitions in the tropics. Many people divide Costa Rica’s seasons into two – the dry season (summer) and the rainy season (winter). However, if you delve into the more subtle changes and explore the opportunities presented therein, it is much more dynamic than that.
December starts off what is generally considered the dry season. There is still a little rain in December with relatively cooler temperatures. This is a great time to have warm sunny mornings AND have the opportunity to watch baby sea turtles hatching and making their way to the Pacific. January, February and March are the driest months of the year and often the hottest. These are the months for those looking for an escape from the cold, dreary northern winters who want tropical sun all day. This is what Ticos know as the high season, as the large majority of tourists arrive at this time. These months are also marked by an abundance of naturally sweet fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple and papaya.
April marks the start of sporadic rains to cool things off and relieve the thirsty plants. This is a great month to find a lot of wildlife concentrated around the newly bearing fruit trees, eat lots of fresh mangoes and still enjoy a primarily sun immersed jungle experience. May is known around Costa Rica as a transition month – rains come and go randomly, making after-lunch siestas a welcoming proposition. The last week or two of June is the “San Juan summer” where Ticos are in the streets living it up with fairs and celebrations during this mini summer reminiscent of February.
July and August are great for those looking for a more authentic experience of jungle living – with sunny mornings and rainy afternoons that provide the perfect excuse to lay in the hammock and read, pull out the chess board, or go for a hike beneath the raindrops. From September to November most of the country is inundated with water but that doesn’t mean that it loses its appeal! This is the best time to witness one of four species of endangered sea turtles come ashore to lay her eggs or look on while the babies emerge from their nest by the dozens to race to the sea. If you’re really eager to make a difference, you can volunteer in the conservation of sea turtles during these months.
Most of the major airlines including American, Continental, United, and Delta offer flights to Costa Rica, as well as Avianca/TACA, the top regional airline. Most flights arrive near the capital city of Costa Rica, San Jose, at the Juan Santamaria (JSM) International Airport.
Depending upon the season and your arrival time, you may be able to fly to Puerto Jimenez on the same day. On the other hand, you may need to spend the night in San Jose, in which case we can easily arrange lovely hotel accommodations. Similarly, depending upon your international departure time, you may need to leave Finca Exotica the day before your international flight, spending the night in San Jose. If you want to get down to the Osa as quickly as possible, look for international flights that arrive in San Jose before noon; when leaving the Osa, look for international flights that leave in the afternoon.