Here are some of the other major cities in the southern part of Costa Rica:
Located at the northern part of the Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay is 90 miles south of San José. Despite the fact that Drake Bay has seen a huge increase in population recently, it still is one of the more isolated places in Costa Rica. There is a small air strip here. It can also be reached now by car via a dirt road from the highway during the dry season. Many still reach Drake Bay via water. The wilds of the Osa Peninsula lay south of Drake Bay, including Corcovado National Park.
This is a place for the adventurous explorer. There are naturalists, fisherman, and scuba divers here. The Río Agujitas is a great place for small boats, canoeing or swimming. There are tide pools, spring fed rivers, deserted beaches and dense primary tropical rainforests. It offers a paradise for bird watchers. It is also a great place to get away from it all. This may be a good place to visit if you want to see Corcovado National Park.
It was named Drake Bay or Bahía Drake after Sir Francis Drake who is believed to have anchored here in 1579. Rumors swirl that this is the location of one of the British pirate’s fabled hidden treasures.
Located just 25 miles south of Golfito, Playa Pavones, one of the best places for surfing, is famous for having one of the longest rideable waves in the world. As such, this town is filled with surfers year round, although the most consistent waves occur during the rainy season, April to September here. You can rent surf boards and boogie boards, although many bring their own. Take surfing lessons. Ride horses and bikes as well. The beach is rocky and the ocean bottom is cobblestoned where the waves break, so you may want to check with the locals for a good place to swim. Some people like the Río Claro for swimming.
Pavones offers scenic black sand beach with incredible views across the Golfo Dulce. This is a great location to watch sunsets.
Playa Zancudo is located 22 miles south of Golfito and is perfect for people that really want to get away from it all. The six mile beach is one of the calmest on this coast and offers a good place to swim, especially at the northern end. The best times to swim are two hours before and after high tide.
Kayaking is also popular here and you can arrange a boat trip to the nearby mangrove estuary where you can see birds and crocodiles. Others may wish to fish. Zacundo is home to one of the best sport fishing operations at the Zacundo Lodge.
Puerto Jiménez is located on the Osa Peninsula 22 miles west of Golfito by water or 56 miles by road. It is the largest town on the Osa Peninsula and boasts an airport. It has the feel of a frontier town and is really the last civilized outpost before going off the grid deep into the jungle. There are internet cafes so this is the place to send your e-mails and stock up on supplies.
The National Park Service has a headquarters here and they can answer questions about hiking trails in the Corcovado National Park.
The people you meet here are an eclectic mix of jungle gold-panners, budget backpackers and wealthy eco-tourists. It is hot and humid here and mosquitos are present so remember your bug spray.