On the tip of the Osa Peninsula you’ll find this incredible sliver of ecstasy. Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica, will put you in the right state of mind if not already there.
Cabo Matapalo (the Cape of the Strangler Fig) is a small village with a few edifices making up the beach community. It remains a place where wildlife and people intermix freely. In the area you’ll find iguanas, monkeys, toucans and other birds of paradise, small wild cats and sloths. The slower pace of life in Matapalo adds to the charm of the little village and aids in the relaxed mindset of residents and visitors.
The fishing in Matapalo is good. You can cast off the beach, at the nearby Portalon River or you can see about obtaining a watercraft to set out into the sea a bit. Local fishermen will take you on a tour that might be very different from what you would experience with other fishing tours in the more populated tourist destinations. Matapalo is a good place to catch marlin, snapper, wahoo, sailfish and tuna in the waters of the Gulf of Sweetness.
There are a few hotels and lodges in the Matapalo area. They are not the sort of resorts that you might find on the Nicoya Peninsula in the province of Guanacaste, but they are very nice in their own right. Some of the area accommodations include Lapa Rios, Ranchos Almendros, Casa Bambu and Ojo Del Mar.
Matapalo can be reached by plane via the city of Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica. The domestic airlines that fly to Puerto Jimenez are Nature Air and Sansa Air, and the flights are generally forty minutes to an hour. You might want to bring a camera, a swimsuit, a fishing pole, hiking boots and gear and some sun screen for the trip.
From San Jose, Costa Rica, Matapalo is four hours and fifty one minutes on the road. Dainel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia, Costa Rica, is seven hours and thirty three minutes away, and Juan Santamaria International Airport in Alajuela, Costa Rica, is five hours and thirty seven minutes from Matapalo. Keep in mind that the roads may be impassable in the rainy season from May to December, and they are generally quite bumpy. It may be best to travel with a shuttle company that knows the area well, or to rent a four wheel drive vehicle.
Beach: Matapalo beach
Location: Quepos, Puntarenas
Items to bring: a camera, a swimsuit, a fishing pole, hiking boots and gear, sun screen
Distance from San Jose: 4 hrs 51 mins
Distance from Liberia: 7 hrs 33 mins
Hotels nearby: Lapa Rios, Ranchos Almendros, Casa Bambu, Ojo Del Mar
Ways to get here: plane, rental car (4WD), private shuttle, taxi