I’m an animal lover, but I can’t stand zoos.
Costa Rica has ruined them for me.
That’s because being in Costa Rica is like living in a giant, open-air zoo, especially on the Osa Peninsula where Blue Osa is located. It’s the most densely biodiverse place on EARTH, and there are animals everywhere.
Getting to live amongst the animals and witness them in their natural habitat is a special treat that’s so different from watching them in a zoo. You see them as they’re meant to live. Even the “domestic” animals, like Blue Osa’s four cats and three dogs, behave differently getting to roam around in the wild.
If you’re not an animal lover when you come, you certainly will be when you leave. Here’s why…
21 Wildlife Experiences You Can Have At Blue Osa
#21. White-faced monkeys at the gym
These little stinkers are everywhere – the whole rainforest is their jungle gym. Sometimes we catch them swinging around in Aaron’s gym, though!
#20. Howler monkeys as your morning alarm clock
Every morning when you wake up at Blue Osa, you’ll hear the calm ocean waves, the pretty songbirds, and the loud call of the howler monkeys, sometimes right outside your window.
#19. Squirrel monkeys on the beach
My first day at Blue Osa I went for a walk on the beach, laid my towel down to sunbathe, and was surprised when I looked up by a family full of adorable, tiny squirrel monkeys playing in a palm tree behind me.
#18. A sloth falling out of the tree
Sloths are hard to spot up in the trees because they barely move at all. From afar, they often look like a birds next curled up in the treetops. However, on my morning walk one day, a sloth fell from his tree branch down to the road right in front of me! Luckily, he was fine, and slowly made his way back to his home tree while I photographed his goofy, smiling face.
#17. Meditating with the Macaws
Almost half of the more than 800 species of birds in Costa Rica can be found in the Osa Peninsula, including the highest concentration of the majestic scarlet macaws.
Sunrise is the best time for bird-watching, and also the best time for morning meditation on the beach at Blue Osa. Although my eyes are closed for meditation, I may peek once or twice for a glimpse of the red, yellow, and blue striped parrots flying across the brilliant sunrise.
#16. Sun bathing with the toucans
There’s a tree that grows by the Blue Osa pool with nuts on it that the toucans just love. Every afternoon, without fail, they are hanging out at that tree cracking away at the nuts. Not a bad pool companion.
#15. Cats cuddling on the desk
The cats at Blue Osa may be ferocious hunters, but they’re also fierce cuddlers. They love to spend rainy mornings snuggling up in our office, spooning on the desk or napping inside our file organizers.
#14. Rescuing Fiona the dog
We love our dogs at Blue Osa, and we recently welcomed a new one who came to us in the middle of the night. Aaron named her Fiona, and she was prancing and roughhousing on the beach with the big boys (Rama and Pete) in no time.
#13. Turtles hatching on the beach
The Osa Peninsula has four different species of sea turtles that hatch during certain times of the year, and if you’re lucky enough, you can witness it or even help them hatch, as many of our guests have.
You’ll see nests start to rumble with activity, and hundreds of eggs will hatch. One by one, baby newborn turtles will emerge from their shells and crawl out to the ocean, making their journey into life. Sometimes they falter, but don’t help them! If these little turtles don’t make the walk on their own, they will never develop the ability to survive on their own.
#12. Jungle spiders decorate the forest
The spiders here may be a little bigger, but they’re also more beautiful, as are their shiny webs dotted with rainforest dew.
#11. A boa snake neighbor
I’ll never forget the day Alex, one of Blue Osa’s gardeners, found a boa constrictor behind the laundry room, curled up under some foliage.
Even I, whose only fear is snakes, felt calm and collected because they clearly knew how to handle and remove snakes safely – but not without letting us have a look first! As he held the snake, we could see its scaled turn beautiful rainbow colors in the sun.
#10. Horseback riding to waterfalls
Horses are magical creatures. But there’s nothing like horseback riding in Costa Rica. Our guide took a group of us from Blue Osa through fields and farms filled with cows, lambs, pigs, scarlet macaws, toucans, and falcons, across rivers, and then into the woods and up a mudslicked rainforest mountain to a summit view of the entire ocean, all the way to Panama, and then back down to an incredible waterfall.
#9. Hermit crabs literally everywhere
There are so many of these little weirdos here. I love sitting on the beach and watching them scuttle around and hide in their cozy shells.
#8. Migrating flamingos?
One evening on the beach with a Blue Osa yoga teacher training group, while we were watching flocks of birds at sunset, a few bright pink birds flew overhead. Flamingos!
Turns out flamingos are not native to Costa Rica. So, we either got really lucky and caught them migrating, or what we saw were actually local Roseate Spoonbills, a beautiful bird with feathers that ombre from white at the head to bright pink at the tips of the wings. Probably the latter!
#7. Boating through a school of dolphins
On one of our boating tours, an entire school of dolphins actually joined the boat at one point and swam alongside it for a while – pretty incredible!
#6. Watching whales flip their tails
Another group on a whale-watching tour at Blue Osa spotted a mother and baby whale swimming together and slapping their tails against the water.
#5. Doing yoga with the dogs
Nothing will bring you joy like doing yoga on the lawn with a view of the ocean and Rama, Pete, and Fiona – Blue Osa’s pets – playfully rolling around in front of you while you’re trying to hold tree pose.
#4. Being awoken from savasana by the geckos
Did you know that geckos make noise?!
Most people don’t. Google it! You’ll hear them at Blue Osa all the time, even if you don’t realize it’s geckos you’re hearing. Often, I’ll be drifting off during shivasina in the yoga studio and hear the faint clicking noise of a little gecko hiding somewhere up in the rafters.
#3. Gardening with the butterflies, hummingbirds, and caterpillars
Blue Osa’s garden isn’t just filled with delicious treats – papaya, spinach, basil, turmeric, squash, and pineapple – it’s also filled with all sorts of pollinators that help it grow! Just walking through the gardens you’re sure to spot some of Costa Rica’s startlingly vibrant butterflies, crazy looking caterpillars, and adorable hummingbirds.
#2. Swimming with bioluminescent plankton
One night close to the new moon, when the sky was black enough to spot even the faintest of lights, we went out to the beach in search of bioluminescent plankton we were told existed but had never seen.
We got lucky. Not only was it dark enough to see them light up the curls of the waves coming in (they are activated by strong movement), but we got into the ocean and watched them light up in hordes around our bodies as we moved, like sparks of fireflies in the water.
#1. Reading bedtime stories by the light of the fireflies
Whether you’re looking out onto the lawn or the ocean, you’ll spot twinkling lights flickering on and off throughout the night. Fireflies abound at Blue Osa, their luminosity at night rivaled only by the incredible view of the stars.
If you’re somehow not convinced by the incredible animals, here are 25 more reasons to pack your bags and come visit us at Blue Osa right now.
About The Author
Elizabeth Aldrich is a lifelong traveler and freelance writer specializing in arts and entertainment, travel and lifestyle, and finance and business writing. She’s written for outlets as varied as Rawckus Music & Arts Magazine, Credit Karma, Sweden Tips, and Engadget. Elizabeth has a knack (read: obsession) for finding the best deals, travel hacks, and hidden gems everywhere she goes, which she blogs about at Temporary Provisions. You can find her playing the urban romantic in NYC, downing Stumptown coffee in her hometown of Portland, OR, or retreating from the madness in the rain forests of Costa Rica. To see more of her work, visit her at www.elizabethaldrich.com.