Iguana Lodge’s Tour Recommendations 2017 - 2018

We recommend the following tours because of the great personalities involved; the interesting and unique aspects of the Osa Peninsula and its environs they illuminate; the guides’ knowledge, support and commitment to the environment; and most importantly because of the continual, overwhelming, and enthusiastic recommendations by our guests.  These tours and guides have received a huge amount of positive feedback, and we believe hands down that these are the most interesting, educational, and safety conscious folks operating on the Osa.  Many of the tours we have chosen are Costa Rican owned and operated.  We are actively involved in encouraging local business.  We believe that by doing so it minimizes the destruction of the rainforest.  There is no order of preference to the following tours.   We also have a naturalist here, and he can work with you in designing special tours for you and your group, should you like.

Upon your arrival, our staff is happy to meet with you and discuss your plans for adventure.  Our office is generally open from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M.  After 4 P.M. it is often difficult to successfully set up tours for the following day.  The Best Case Scenario is to

meet with our tour coordinators soon after your arrival and set up an activity plan.  

You may decide that you want to enjoy these activities with other guests or all by yourselves.  Let us know.  Occasionally there is a premium for a private tour, and at times a discount when you join with others.  Please be as specific as you can with us when telling us what you want.  Do you really want to hike eight hours in the steamy jungle or take a stroll in the rainforest?  Also keep this in mind if you choose to head out on an activity with other guests - do they want what you want?

You do not need to carry large amounts of cash.   We will give you vouchers that you should give to your guides, and we will settle the bill at the end of your stay.  You may, however, want to carry some money for tips (always appreciated).  Once a tour has been set up, there may be a hefty cancellation fee if you fail to cancel within 24 hours.

Many activities will take you to different parts of the Peninsula. Round trip 4 x 4 ground transportation is generally not included in the tour price, and lately the prices have risen beyond belief, especially heading down to Matapalo and Carate.  (Once you see the roads, you may understand why the taxi prices are so steep; not to mention that car importation taxes are out-of-this world - cars are incredibly expensive in Costa Rica.)  Rental cars are available in town, and occasionally a rental car may work out to cost less than taxi fare, depending upon your destination, time of year, etc.

If you head into town to search out your own tours, you may find people willing to offer you special deals.  Good luck!  We wish you the best.  Most of our guests have traveled far to learn about and experience the Osa Peninsula.  We recommend these tours because they have received a huge amount of positive feedback, and we believe hands down that these are the most interesting, educational, and safety conscious folks operating on the Osa.  

Please, if for some reason you are disappointed with your tour, please let us know.  Our Worst Case Scenario is that you leave unhappy, and we never had a chance to fix it.  You also can help us by letting us know if our representations are accurate, and if our tour providers are doing what we are representing (and expecting) them to do.  Many guides guarantee 100% satisfaction, or your money back.  Pura Vida.

There are a few tours where timing is essential, and you actually need to leave here on time (not always easy to do – “Tico Time” hits people pretty quickly down here); many tours, however, are all yours and you can leave whenever you get it together.  Prices are subject to change, and most tours have a two person minimum.   If you will be out for the day on a tour, we recommend you consider swinging by one of the local bakeries in town and picking up some sandwiches - it's fun to go in and check out what they have.

Taxis from town to Iguana run $10 each way (whether you use our taxis or any local taxi).  

HIKING, NATURE WALKS,

and HIGH ADVENTURE

I. Hiking and Nature Walks in the Rainforest

We have a variety of hiking and walking options.  Keep in mind that “hiking” means a variety of things to a variety of people.  Hence, sweaty, hard hiking vs. nature walks (generally walking at an easy place to see all the animals and learn about the rainforest) are not the same, and you should help us make your vacation as great as possible by being specific regarding what you desire and expect. Do you prefer to see animals or plants?  Secluded forest or touristed areas? Also remember, if you choose to go with other guests, you should all agree on yours goals, particularly in regard to the level of difficulty of your hike.  

A.        LOCAL NATURE WALK INTO PLAYA PLATANARES REFUGE

We are surrounded on the north and west by the Playa Platanares Refuge, which is primarily a mangrove estuary (this is also the same area you can explore via kayak or horseback).  There are many large trees, lots of water, caimans, many birds, three species of monkeys, and a variety of other mammals.  

This walk is on fairly flat terrain, and thus qualifies as an easy walk, but it may be muddy.  You should consider taking water, bug juice, and sunscreen.  

The guided tours take about two hours, and it is best to leave early in the morning. Our naturalist, Sidnar has much knowledge to share.  Let us know if you prefer your tour in Spanish or English.

This tour directly helps conserve the Osa.  The owners were big cattle ranchers, but have seen the light, and are moving toward serious conservation.  They have created this refuge which prohibits them from ever turning it into anything else than what it is:  Nature At Its Finest.  

You can also arrange to ride horses or go birding inside the same refuge.  This is also where we do some of the night hikes (see below), although the best night hike is up the Rio Nuevo (lots of snakes and creepy crawlers - if that's your deal).

B. DAY HIKE IN BAMBU

C. MATAPALO ½ DAY NATURE WALK

If animals are what you want to see without having to hike too far, then this is the tour for you.  This is a morning adventure, leaving the lodge around 7 – 8 A.M.  The drive to Matapalo takes about one hour, and on your way you may see any number of birds and mammals.  Meanwhile, once you arrive in Matapalo you can expect to see a huge variety of wildlife, including the peninsula’s four species of monkeys, anteaters, sloths, pisotes AKA coatimundis, a variety of smaller mammals, macaws, toucans, hawks, poison dart frogs, etc, as well as the incredible flora that fills the peninsula.   Matapalo not only has wildlife and gorgeous scenery; people live there and surf there.  Hence, you can expect to see people as well as animals.  

This is a half-day walking tour and you return by 12 or 1 P.M.  Sturdy sandals or sneakers (you will get your feet wet), shorts and t-shirts work great; bring plenty of water.

D. MATAPALO HIKE WITH ANDY (see below under Adrenalin Adventures!)

E.  VARIOUS JUNGLE HIKES, including RIO PIRU

We have many hikes that we can set up for you.  These are generally fairly rigorous, in the deep, dark jungle.  Please come visit and we can chat about setting up all sorts of adventurous hikes.  Some hikes are great for seeing the forest, and other hikes are better to the animals.  Let us know what you are most interested in.   Lauren and Toby, the owners, have hiked a lot throughout the peninsula, so if you are interested in some unique hikes talk to them and/or Sidnar, as our tour coordinators haven't all made the 36 miles one-day marathon hike through Corcovado!  Read also about hikes through Corcovado National Park and from Puerto Jimenez to Carate via Piedras Blancas here.

The Rio Piro hike is on the road toward Carate, and involves quite a drive (about an hour and twenty minutes).  This pristine area is pure primary forest:  jungle, jungle, jungle.  Small trails, few if any people - fantastic.   We will stop by the bakery in town for you to pick up some snacks or sandwiches to take with you.  

F. CHOCOLATE TOUR

This is a very popular tour which supports a Costa Rican family, and preserves the rain forest.  During your guided walk, you will learn a lot about the flora of the Osa - you will learn not only all about chocolate, but medicinal plants and local fruits.  The tour culminates in a chocolate dining extravaganza.  The chocolate tour takes place near Cañaza (about 25 minutes toward San Jose from Puerto Jimenez).  

You can combine this with a zipline tour and/or the Tilapia farm tour, as both are in the general vicinity.  

G. GOLD PANNING NATURE WALK

Here you can head up to Dos Brazos to learn all about gold on the Osa, including how to pan it.  Good Luck!    Many of our guests have brought out some gold.  The tour takes place in a small town where lots of the kids still buy eggs and milk with gold dust.

H. CORCOVADO HIKES (see below under Corcovado)

I.  NIGHT HIKING including Turtle Walk in season

Our naturalist, Sidnar, is available to take you on a variety of night hikes.  Bring your flashlights!  It can be thrilling to walk through the jungle in the dark.  Keep in mind that many animals are sleeping or hard to see, and hence you may see more in the way of insects, e.g. spiders, snakes, etc.  

If you would like to hike around here, if in season, you see turtles as well.  From June through December you may enjoy both watching the sea turtles lay eggs as well as hatch.  On our beach there are five species of turtles laying, although the number of turtles coming to our beach, as opposed to some other beaches in Costa Rica, is minimal.  We have had a turtle project on this beach for twelve years, and depending upon the year and our ability to acquire permits (that are now required), our project may be running when you visit.  Please inquire.  

Our most popular night hike involving heading up to Rio Nuevo and hiking up the river at night.  You can expect to see frogs, shrimp, snakes, birds, spiders, etc.  This is not for the faint of heart.  This is a big old scary jungle experience, snake friendly.  Shrimping (with a spear) is possible.  Or hike in Bambu in the Old Forest.  Talk to us or Sidnar for details.  

J.  AGRICULTURAL ORGANIC FARM – RANCHO RAICES

This is a family project with over 20 hectares of property where you can learn all about growing organic fruits such as bananas, papayas, white pineapple, corn, cocoa beans, avocados, squash, ginger, plantains, yucca, and sugar cane in the tropics.  This is one of our most popular tours. On the tour you can pick fruit and taste it as you go, and the wonderful family is happy to cook you a typical Costa Rican lunch as well.  You are also likely see toucans, monkeys, iguanas and one of the largest trees on the Osa Peninsula.

II. Adrenaline Adventures

A. TREE CLIMBING, WATERFALL RAPPELLING, AND RAINFOREST ECO-TREK IN MATAPALO with ANDY, OUR COLORFUL BIOLOGIST

Andy and Terry offer three tours, all of which are hard to beat and can be combined. These tours take place in Matapalo. The animal life is exceedingly rich in this area, so you can routinely see all four species of monkeys, sloths, anteaters, toucans, macaws, etc.  In addition, you can leap out of high trees and/or scale down gorgeous waterfalls (in the dry season, this may not be a waterfall, but a cliff).  

These tours are not for everyone.  Andy and Terry guarantee "MUDDY, BLOODY, BRUISED AND SWEATY.” We liken it to “Ranger Training,” so get ready.  

Andy’s Tree Climb – The hike can’t be beat if you are the adventurous type. Hiking along in Matapalo, up and in a river, you approach a spectacular waterfall – in the rainy season you can stand in the pool below it and enjoy a refreshing shower before your tree climb.  (This is also the waterfall that one rappels, see below.)  Along your hike, Andy, who is an extremely enthusiastic (and professional) biologist or one of his guides, will explain and demonstrate many of the unique aspects of the rainforest ecosystem.  If your heart is set on going with Andy, himself, please let us know.

Upon reaching the tree you rope in and climb about ninety feet, where monkeys may be greeting you. Then you leap into thin air and swing through the air a la Tarzan.  Finally, you are lowered to the ground feeling exhilarated and glad to have survived. Great fun, highly recommended.  Ages six to eighty-six (record set so far).

Even if you don’t want to climb the tree, you can do the hike with the others in your group, enjoying their shrieks and thrills.

Andy’s Waterfall/Cliff Rappel - Andy also offers a spectacular waterfall/cliff rappelling adventure that total 120 feet.  Depending upon the season, you may rappel down two waterfalls or two cliffs.  Ages ten and upward – super great!

Andy’s Ecology Rainforest Hike – Anyone heading out to climb the tree or waterfall rappel gets a built-in rainforest hike.  For those of you wishing to just hike through the rainforest, or accompany your friends or family on either the tree climb or waterfall rappel, you can sign up for their Rainforest Hike.  Anyone aged from infancy (in backpacks) to 86 can do this one if they are in good physical shape.  This hike is not for everyone:  only those willing to get sweaty, bruised, bloody, and wet.

These tours are generally offered two times a day:  at 8 A.M. and 1 P.M.  Hence, you leave here at 6:45 A.M. and return about 1 P.M., or leave here at 11:45 and return around 6 P.M.   This tour requires you to be timely, as there may be other guests from other hotels on the same adventure.  (There is a maximum group size of eight and a minimum of two.)  We recommend that you take a snack - and everybody loves to stop by the local bakery in town on the way.  Regarding lunch – many people prefer to eat lunch here upon their return or if they are hiking in the afternoon, before they head out.

Other options include lunching down in Matapalo where there are a couple different options.

We consider both the treeclimb and waterfall rappel tours adventure tours: there are higher than normal risks associated with them. Andy and Terry’s harnesses fit up to a 42 inch waist; people who can not walk or who have physical handicaps will find these hikes extremely difficult.  

Clothing:  You start the tour at Andy’s house, so you can take any extra items with you, and leave them at his house.  You'll get wet, so wear closed-toe shoes (sneakers or hiking boots), quick dry shorts, t-shirts, and swimsuits for enjoying the waterfall pool. We recommend you take some extra clothes and/or flip flops to climb into after the tour, as again, you will be wet.  Also bring binoculars and, of course, cameras.  

C. VARIOUS ZIP LINES

We now have two Zip Lines nearby.  It is an exciting adventure, and both zip lines are great.  These are the the first commercial thrill-rides on our peninsula, and highly recommended by a variety of guests.  Andy’s tree climb and/or waterfall rappel is a lot less commercial – but takes a lot more physical effort.   

III.  CORCOVADO PARK – Flying and Driving Options

Please let us know in advance if you are interested in this tour as it may take some time to set up.  To enter the park, you must have a guide and pay an entry fee. This must be done the day before your entry.  Occasionally the park is so full that entry is prohibited, so again, let us know early if you want to see the park.

A. FLY INTO CORCOVADO PARK with Alfa Romeo Charter Service

Corcovado National Park is truly one of the jewels of Costa Rica, and thus, of North America.  Unfortunately, because it is so remote it is quite a hike to get to the heart of the park, Sirena Ranger Station. It takes at least six hours to hike into the park, and potentially more, depending upon the condition of the roads, rivers, and your personal conditioning.  (Please remember it gets hot down here, so don’t say we didn’t warn you!)  

You can fly in and out of Sirena in one day.  Alvaro, the owner of Alpha Romeo Charter Service, is happy to fly you in. Alvaro is one of only three people in Costa Rica allowed to land in the park and has never had an accident in his 4000+ landings at Sirena. (Gracias A Dios, as they say here in Costa Rica). Sirena is the center of all park operations with a full biological research station as well as rustic accommodations for up to 60 people.

 

While the flight takes only 15 minutes, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as you fly over the heart of the park and primary rainforest. Perhaps even more thrilling is the landing at Sirena which is on a 600 foot grass strip among 300-400 foot trees!  The maximum number of people in the plane is six: including the pilot and guide (you must now have a guide to enter the park by law). That means generally four guests fly into the park at a time.

There are numerous well marked trails to explore around Sirena.  You will see incredible trees that create the classic rainforest canopy as well as potentially many monkeys, birds, and other wildlife.  You may also see tapirs, peccaries, and at high tide, large bull sharks swimming up the Sirena river mixing with American Crocodiles.  

Please note that this tour is subject to weather conditions.  It is possible that a rain storm can hit the park in the afternoon and you will have to stay overnight under rough conditions.  The plane will then pick you up in the morning – this has only happened a couple of time, but beware!  Ask us about the time the guests took the boat to Drakes Bay at night...the melody behind Gilligan's hit song, "The three hour tour...", comes to mind.

By the way, plan to be on time for your flight in the morning, as if you are late they may do other things with the waiting airplane, such as fly other people into the park who are scheduled to fly after you, make a run to San Jose or Golfito, etc.  

By the way, Alpha Romeo also offers a fantastic flight over the Osa for $630 an hour, five people maximum.  For photo opportunities, the door comes off and in that case the maximum number of passengers is three.

B. FLY-IN and HIKE-OUT of the Park

For those of you wanting a lot more exercise, this trip can be modified so that you fly into the park and hike out – it’s around 11 – 16 miles depending upon which route you take, Carate or Los Patos, respectively.  We have an excellent guide, and can personally attest to the fact that it is a epic, gorgeous adventure, and the fact that you need to move fairly quickly to get out of the park before nightfall.  

This is a hot tour: dress with light clothing, hiking shoes or sneakers and lots of water, sunscreen and bug spray.

C. CORCOVADO FULL DAY HIKE  

For those of you wanting to go into the park, the easiest and fastest way to see the park is to fly-in, but if prefer, a guide can definitely hike you into the park.  It’s a two hour drive plus a beach hike to the entrance near Carate.  From there, you can either hike on trails at Corcovado Tent Camp, or head straight into the park.  If you are only going for the day, you will hike in and out on the same trail.  Experience shows that often you see more wildlife in Matapalo.  (We do offer other hikes that are similar to the park hike, but closer to us:  please inquire.)  Rarely do folks do a day hike entering through Los Patos; talk to us for more info.

GOLFO DULCE WATER ADVENTURES –

KAYAKING AND BOATING

I. Kayaking the Platanares River

This is a fabulous kayak trip for all ages lasting about three hours.   This is a tide dependent tour, as you paddle up the river at high tide. Starting at the mouth of the Rio Platanares (the same river you cross behind our lodge), you kayak through and around the tranquil mangroves of the river.  You can see caimans, crocodiles, Jesus Christ lizards, lots of aquatic bird life, and a variety of other animals typical of the mangrove.  You then portage over a bit of beach and find yourself in the ocean, where you may see rays, dolphins and other sea life.

If you are there after sunset (depending upon the tide), you may experience the magic of bioluminescence.  Alberto is a charming guide who speaks very good English as does his daughter, Laura. They have a great eye for wildlife and explain the area in wonderful detail. Just about every guest has loved this trip.

Expect to get wet and exposed to a lot of sun:  dress accordingly and put sunscreen on, particularly on your shins and feet.  They have both single and double kayaks.  Alberto also offers a variety of other tour options such as full-day kayaking trips and snorkeling.

II.  Exploring the Golfo Dulce by Boat

The Golfo Dulce is a beautiful body of water with much to see.  We highly recommend these tours, and we highly recommend that you consider adding in the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary or Casa Orquideas Garden Tour.

The gulf was declared by Jacque Cousteau to be one of the most pristine waters in the world, second only to the Norwegian Fjords.  The gulf is rich in wildlife, with three species of dolphins living in the gulf (spinners, spotted, and bottlenose), as well as many visiting whales, whale sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, schooling fish, and seabirds.  

A.  DOLPHIN AND WHALE SAFARI + GOLFO DULCE BOAT TOURS

This tour is a fabulous way to see the beautiful Golfo Dulce.  There are a couple of different tour operators, one of whom offers you the option of plane boarding.  The plane boarding tour is more expensive, but it is a lot of fun.  With three species of dolphins, a variety of whales, whalesharks, sea turtles, etc - exploring the Golfo Dulce is something not to be missed.  You can snorkel too.  It is a great idea to combine this with visiting the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary.  Check with us about renting a Party Boat for groups.

B.  THE RIO ESQUINAS GOLFO DULCE BOAT TOUR

This is categorically the finest boat tour on the Gulf.  You will explore over 40 miles of the gulf, its lush coastline, its deltas, and its mangrove estuaries.  You’ll wind your way through the jungle on an informative, guided excursion up the Rio Esquinas (or not, if you prefer to merely go with a boat captain, and not a naturalist guide as well).  Spectacular birding and natural wonders abound.  The turn-around spot is a clear mountain fed ‘cool pool’.  You also have plenty of time to plane board and snorkel near dolphins and over reefs.  The tour is tide dependent, so check with us regarding departure times.

If you are a birder, it is critical that we know this, and schedule this tour early in the morning.  Because of the tides this tour for birders is optimal only several days out of every month.

 

C.  WATER TAXIS

To the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary or Casa Orquideas 

D. DELFIN BLANCO CHARTER BOAT & MARVITO'S PARTY BOAT

Both boats can hold around 30 - 40 people, and offer a spectacular tour of the Golfo Dulce.  Marvito's Boat even has a slide!  Talk to us for details.

VISITING THE OSA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

The Osa Wildlife Sanctuary at Cana Blanca is located in one of the most remote areas of the Golfo Dulce and accessible only by boat.  Here, injured or abandoned animals and birds of all sorts are cared for, and many are eventually released back into the jungle.  This is a must-see down here on the Osa, and we highly recommend that you combine this with a Golfo Dulce Boat Tour. Watch your glasses, pockets, etc., and please leave any dangling jewelry at the lodge.  We know of two visitors who have been bitten by monkeys, and while there have been no serious injuries, we want you to know about these incidents.  Children under age six are not allowed.  

 This is a morning tour, leaving here around 8AM where you then hop on a boat, and the tour starts at 9 AM across the gulf.   The tour lasts approximately two hours.

HORSEBACK RIDING and MOUNTAIN BIKING

1. PLAYA PLATANARES REFUGE HORSEBACK RIDE

Ivan, our neighbor, will meet you at the Pearl with his horses and give you a fabulous tour.  You start by riding north along the beach to Ivan’s family refuge, and then head into the forest.  The tour lasts about two hours.

Occasionally Ivan is unavailable, and then our friend, Fernando Quintero is happy to bring his horses.  He doesn’t take you into the Refuge, but is happy to rent his horses to you (with or without a guide).  

2. SANDALO HORSEBACK RIDE INTO THE PRIMARY FOREST

This is a fabulous horse ride into the primary forest bordering Corcovado National Park as well as through the valleys and rivers leading up to the park.  This is a cooperative tour set up by several local farmers who wanted to create a business which would generate money for them in ways other than cutting down their trees. By supporting this tour you have a direct effect in saving our rainforest.  

You will be guided on sure-footed horses through rivers and hills covered by primary forest.  While the animal life is not as intense as in the Matapalo area, there is still a very good chance of seeing wildlife and often intense birdlife while experiencing the wonders of the primary rainforest.  

For those of you who are expert horse riders, talk to us about specialty horseback tours on the peninsula.  For example, take a ride from Puerto Jimenez to Carate via the goldminer's trails...excellent adventure!

3. MOUNTAIN BIKING

Talk to the staff about biking throughout the Osa. There are crazy trails, and people happy to lead you through them.  Or, we will rent bikes for you in town, and you can just spend some time on cruisers enjoying the Osa Peninsula.

        

BIRDING

1. BIRDING HERE AT IGUANA

The birding here at Iguana Lodge is extraordinary.  Our guide is ready to go at 5:30 A.M., and you will return around 8 A.M. for a lovely breakfast.  

2. BIRDING IN OTHER SPOTS AROUND THE PENINSULA

Birding is fabulous throughout the peninsula, and our naturalist, Sidnar, is a gifted birder.  He can accompany you to Rio Nuevo, Bambu, Rio Piru...talk to Sidnar about arranging your perfect birding adventure.  

3. DOS BRAZOS BIRDING WATCHING with Abraham

For the consummate birder, this tour is the best of the best.  The tour starts in the Dos Brazos area up in the hills of the Osa Peninsula, early (very early) in the morning.  You need to leave here around 4:30 A.M.  You will be met by Abraham and his lovely wife, Liz.  They will serve you light refreshments and off you go up the mountain trails for a two to three hour morning walk/hike with one of the best birders on the peninsula. Abraham will typically point out at least 50 different species of birds and sometimes up to 100.  When you return, they will serve you a hearty breakfast.

Abraham is a talented guide who has been walking the mountain trails of the Osa for over 25 years. His knowledge of the flora and fauna of the rainforest is amazing, and his English is good.  They also offer a variety of other great tours which can include, but need not, birding.  

4.  RIO ESQUINAS BIRD WATCHING – see above Rio Esquinas Boat Tour

GARDEN TOURS

1. CASA ORQUIDEAS BOTANICAL GARDEN TOUR  with the McAllisters

If you want to know everything about floral and edible plant life in the tropics, you could not pick a better tour. In the 25+ years that Ron and Trudy have lived in the area, they have developed a true expertise for the floral and edible plant life of the tropics.  In fact, they advise a number of famous botanical gardens throughout the world.  They give guided tours on Sundays and Thursday, are closed on Friday, and are open every other day for self-guided tours.  

On the guided tour Ron or Trudy will take you around their finca, rich with a variety of trees, spices, vegetables, flowering gingers, orchids, heliconias, bromeliads, palms, aroids, and other fragrant and unusual plants.  This is not just a visual tour but a tour of all the senses including touch, taste and smell.

For the guided tours you must arrive at 8:30 A.M. and so must leave the lodge at 7:30 A.M.  You need to be on time for this tour, as others may come from all around the gulf for this tour.  You never quite know how many people will be there for the tour, but often there are 6 – 10 people.  

This tour can also be enjoyed in combination with a Gulfo Dulce Boat Tour.  Talk to us for details.

2.  FINCA KOBO CHOCOLATE TOUR

See above under hikes for a fabulous chocolate and spice tour.

SURFING

1. SURFING LESSONS

Join Oldemar for a surf down in Matapalo on Pan Dulce or Eddy and Michelle in Playa Sombrero (you can just rent a board here too).  Check with us regarding tides and swell.  Surf for approximately one-and-a-half hours (believe me; your arms get tired paddling).  The boards are large and soft.  It is a GREAT time.  

2. SURFING FOR THOSE WHO KNOW HOW TO SURF

Richard, a local surfer, is happy to take surfers down to various breaks in Matapalo for the day.  You need to know how to surf.  He isn’t a surf teacher, but will go surfing while you surf too.  He also has a boat and is happy to take a group over to Pavones to surf it up for the day.  

You can also just rent boards down in Matapalo at Encanta La Vida or with Michelle and Eddy, and enjoy a great day of surf.  There are three breaks in Matapalo (four if you are really good), and one in Playa Sombrero.

SCUBA DIVING

CANO ISLAND SCUBA DIVING and Snorkeling Trip

with La Paloma Lodge

You haven't dived in Costa Rica unless you have dived at Cano Island.  You leave our lodge at 5:00 A.M. and take a two hour taxi ride to Drakes Bay (optional flight at around 6:30 A.M. which is more costly, see below).  The drive to Drakes is beautiful in and of itself, as you cut across the Osa Peninsula.  In Drakes you will be met by La Paloma's comfortable and large dive boat and whisked out to Caño Island.  There is a good chance of seeing dolphins and occasional whales on the way.

Once at Caño Island you will set up for the first of your two dives.  There are six possible dive sites which include deep canyons; impressive landscapes; lots and lots of fish both small and large, as well as sharks, eels, etc. The price includes lunch that they provide and all dive equipment for a two-tank dive.  You will be led by a certified dive master and you must have your open water certification.  You will arrive back in Drakes Bay around 3:30 in the afternoon.   You can also go to Caño Island to snorkel, although for snorkeling only, it is a long and expensive trip.

FISHING

There are many different fishing options; fishing down in the Osa is fantastic, both inshore and offshore.  You can sign up for a full or half day.  Prices vary dramatically - as do the boats and tackle - from $400 to $1200.

We offer different fisherman and companies such as Tropic Fin with Cory, Almentour with Henry, and Crocodile Bay.  All offer excellent fishing with experienced captains and upscale fishing gear.  

 

A variety of other fishermen offer a variety of trips, so please contact us so that we can get you set up.  If you set up trips on your own, good luck!  You often get what you pay for, so make sure you have an agreement regarding boat size, bait, drinks, etc.  

VOLUNTEERING and LOCAL CULTURE

The NGO Give A Day Global now operates on the Osa Peninsula.  Check it out at www.giveadayglobal.org.  At present this company offers guests the opportunity to help tag  sea turtles and assist in mangrove preservation.  Check with us for more details.

Also inquire at the office for more possible volunteer activities, as well as a cultural tour to the Guayami Reservation.  

DANCE, YOGA and SPA

Dance Lessons:

We are big time dancers.  Should you want a lesson, please inquire. Our neighbor, Giovanni Araya Salas is the finest dancer on the Osa Peninsula - and he has five other brothers that all dance too.  Some of our staff can offer dance lessons too!  We recommend you consider taking lessons prior to Friday Night Salsa. We highly recommend taking a lesson prior to Friday Night Salsa Parties.  Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and Bachata all available.

Yoga:        

Lauren (aka Gloria) offers complimentary Yoga Classes and Cirque du Soleil Tricks approximately three times a week...  this is contingent upon her being at the Lodge (of course).  Lauren is qualified as a teacher in several techniques - with a major in Vinyasa and Yogicarts, with a minor in Budokon - so give it a try.  Other yoga instructors may or may not be available.  Feel free to leap, tumble, and levitate in the studios on your own - try the gymnastic mats!

SPA TREATMENTS, MASSAGES, FACIALS, MANICURES/PEDICURES, ETC.

We have recently opened our fabulous spa!  Please come look through it.  It has a wet room for fancy exfoliations, and we offer many types of treatments and massage options with extremely competent therapists.  In your room there should be a spa menu.  We hope you take advantage of our tropical treatments.

 

We hope you enjoy your adventures. If you have any problems or suggestions , please let us know. Our goal is that you have a wonderful time, and that our descriptions are accurate,  our providers wonderful, and your experience beyond your expectations.

Pura Vida

                                  IGUANA LODGE  TOUR PRICE LIST

(Prices subject to change - we do not operate these tours nor do we set the prices. Renting a car may be less expensive than taking taxis, as taxis are quite expensive - the roads are bad, and things cost a lot down here in our remote part of the world. . Please note:  The Osa Peninsula is not an inexpensive place to explore.)

                     Hiking, Nature Walks, and High Adventure

1.  Hiking and Nature Walks in the Rainforest - two person minimum for prices quoted

     

a. A day hike in our local refuge ($25pp)

b. A primary jungle hike in Bambu ($50pp)

c. ½ day Matapalo Hike ($80pp, less expensive if take collectivo or have own car - $55pp) 

d. Hike with Andy in Matapalo (see Adrenalin Adventures below)

e. Various jungle hikes (various prices), Rio Piro hike ($90pp, less expensive if take collectivo or have own car - $65 pp)

f. Chocolate Tour, Rancho Raices ($35pp, $80 taxi)

g. Gold Panning Tour ($55pp, $75 Taxi)

h. Corcovado hike (see below)

i.  Night hike near Iguana ($30pp), in Rio Nuevo or Bambu ($50pp)

 

2.  Adrenaline Adventures

a. Tree Climbing and Waterfall Rappelling (Tree climb $65,                              Waterfall/Cliff rappel $95, Combo $130, Hike Only $50, plus         transportation - options include collectivo for $10pp, $100 - $120 taxi.   (Taxis charge extra for waiting- so we need to coordinate if you are planning to spend extra time on the beach or at a restaurant.)

b.  Two Zip Line Options ($65pp, $20 Taxi)

3. Corcovado National Park - Flying and/or Driving Options -

 

Fly in - Fly out

 

The cost for the flight is $790 and you can fit up to 4 people in the plane, plus the guide and pilot. (Certified guides are required for entry into the park.)   Guides run $75pp (two person minimum), plus  $17pp park fees, as well as a $20 taxi ride round trip to the airport. Hence, total cost with guide for four people $1178.  Split four ways that is $294.50 per person.

Fly in - Hike Out

Total cost for four people is variable depending upon your route and transportation choices. The fly in (or out) is $395. The guide fee is $75pp via Carate, $100pp via los Patos (two person minimum). A private pick-up taxi from Carate is approximately $120; the collectivo taxi leaving Carate at 3 PM is $17pp; a plane ride from Carate $190. A pick-up taxi from Los Patos is approximately $100. Additional fees include $20 RT taxi to the airport and $17pp park fee.

Corcovado Full Day Hike - Driving

The cost is $75 pp (two person minimum); entry to the park is $17pp, and transportation is $20 RT for collectivo - $240 RT taxi.

Water Activities -  Exploring the Gorgeous Golfo Dulce via Kayak and Boat

1.  Kayak a beautiful, nearby Mangrove River ($45pp, plus $20 Taxi)

2.  Golfo Dulce Boat tours - same prices for Rio Esquinas Boat Tour, add $20 RT taxi to dock.

a. Josh: $350 - if sharing boat often runs $65 pp

b. Others: $250 - if sharing boat, often runs $45 pp

3.  Water Taxi - To the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary or Casa Orquideas ($150 for 1-5 pax, $25 for additional folks) + $20 RT taxi to dock.

4.  Marvito's Party Boat or Changing Tide Party Boat - talk to us for details, great for large groups w/ 15 people or more.

                                Osa Wildlife Sanctuary  

This is must see for animal lovers (in this author’s humble opinion). Here we have our own Dian Fossey of the Osa.  Combine this with a Golfo Dulce Tour or just hop on a water Taxi.  (Sanctuary donation $30 - helps pay for the Purina Monkey Chow).  Minimum tour group size at the sanctuary is four, which usually isn't a problem.  

                                   Horseback Riding

   

1.  Horseback Riding in our local Refuge (2 hours, $30pp)

2.  On beach and around town ($45 per horse, plus additional $45 for optional guide)

3.  Sandalo Horseback Ride ($60pp, plus $20 taxi ride to town)

4.  Other Horseback trips (prices vary)

                                       

                                           Birding

1.  Birding at Iguana Lodge ($25pp, two person minimum)

2.  Birding in various other locations with Sidnar (price vary depending upon location)

3.  Birding in Dos Brazos with Abraham ($50pp, plus $75 taxi)

4.  Birding in Rio Esquinas ($350 boat, $120 optional guide, plus $20 taxi)

                               Surfing and Scuba Diving

1.  Surfing Lessons ($55pp in Matapalo, $45 in Playa Sombrero, plus transportation or with Richard $75, includes transportation)  Board rental $25.

2.  Surfing tours (approximately $200 to Matapalo, $450 to Pavones)

3.  Scuba diving at Cano Island - certification required ($130 approx. pp plus transportation - flight and taxi options exist)

                                         Fishing

 Inshore and Offshore Fishing available, half day or full day ($450-$1350)

   Dance Lessons

Lessons are $30 an hour per person - minimum of two. We highly recommend taking a lesson prior to Friday Night Salsa Parties.  Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia and Bachata available.

Yoga Classes, Massage & Spa Treatments

1.  Yoga Classes - Lauren offers complimentary classes several times a week - classes range from 30 - 45 minutes - when she is on the property.  Our neighbor and yoga teacher, Tracey Whiteford, is also available for lessons for a fee.  Often at the lodge we have retreats with teachers from all over the world, and non-retreat guests may be invited to attend, depending upon the instructor - fees vary.  

2.  Our Spa offers excellent massages and other treatments. Please see our Iguana Lodge Spa Menu.