Casa Rio Sierpe is located among 2500 acres of private reserve and adjoins the Térraba-Sierpe National Wetlands in the Osa Peninsula—one of the most beautiful and wild parts of this country and home to 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity.
THE OSA PENINSULA
Located in the south west of Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula is one of the most remote, most spectacular and wildest regions in the country. It is one of the last places in Costa Rica to be settled - it is only within the last 10 years that it has had road access - and consequently much of the Peninsula is still covered in majestic, pristine rainforest. At least half of the Osa's extensive tracts of rainforest and swamps are protected by Corcovado National Park, and Private Reserves. Its forests are home to endangered species such as Baird's tapir, the white-lipped peccary, the jaguars the America crocodiles, and the harpy eagle (only recently been re-sighted). It boasts the largest population of the endangered scarlet macaws in the country, and is the center of the very restricted distribution of the endangered Central American squirrel monkey. This small peninsula is host to almost half of Costa Rica's 860 species of birds (that is almost 5% of the world's species!), 140 species of mammals, and 117 species of reptiles and amphibians. Almost 750 species of trees have been cataloged in the area, more trees than in all of the North temperate regions of the world combined. Impressive credentials indeed! Per unit area, the Osa Peninsula holds possibly the highest natural diversity on earth. The National Geographic magazine described the Osa Peninsula as 'the most biologically intense place on earth'. This description is a reference to the incredible abundance of wildlife on the Osa Peninsula -not only in it's rainforests, but in it's surrounding marine environment as well. Botanically, the Osa Peninsula has strong affinities with that of the Amazon and Orinoco basins, and its unique forests contain more endemic plants and animals than in any other area of Central America. Climatically, the Osa is the wettest place on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, receiving up to 160 inches of rain annually. Some of the Osa Peninsula's landmarks are described below.
RIO SIERPE and the Terraba River valley
The Rio Sierpe and its watershed, the Dequis Valley, isolate the Osa Peninsula from the mainland. This substantial river is unusual in that it is tidal almost up to its source, the Sierpe Lagoon. The Rio Sierpe is roughly divisible into two wetland areas: the flooded forests of the upper Rio Sierpe basin, and the extensive mangrove swamps of its delta.
The upper Rio Sierpe wetland is virtually uninhabited, relatively unspoiled and it contains large areas of raffia palm swamp, flooded forest and lagoons. Fingers of high ground, thickly clad in rain forest, permeate this area.
The delta of the Rio Sierpe, which it shares with the Rio Terraba, is the most extensive area of mangrove swamp in Costa Rica and largest in Latin America (almost 50% of all the mangrove wetland of the country). This swamp is permeated by a maze of channels in which it is easy to become lost! The eight species of mangrove found here are some of the tallest in the world – red, black, grey, and tea mangroves being the most common varieties. The impressive mangroves provide a valuable coastal ecosystem to an abundance of avian, mammalian, reptilian and aquatic animals.
Birding enthusiasts come from all over the globe to experience the area’s phenomenal birdwatching opportunities. Both resident and migratory birds visit these swamps, which also boast two endemic hummingbird species: the mangrove hummingbird and the yellow-billed cotinga.
On the coastal fringe of this delta, near the mouth of the Rio Sierpe, lies Violin Island. Sir Francis Drake reputedly buried a large treasure here. The many attempts to find this treasure have met with no success. However, Violin Island has yielded many gold nuggets of one or more kilos in weight.
CAÑO ISLAND BIOLOGICAL RESERVE
Located 12 miles of the western coast of the Osa Peninsula, Caño Island is 300 hectares in area with 5,800 hectares of Sea included in the Reserve. While the Island itself is home to relatively few animals and plants, its surrounding waters abound with marine life: colourful reef fish, impressive schools of large pelagic fish, manta rays, sharks, turtles, whales and dolphins. Caño Island is second only to Coco Island in the quality of its diving in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica not only offers some of the best sport fishing in the world, it delivers as well. With over 44 line class records, 14 fly records, and 18 all-tackle records, the fishing experience here is nothing short of a bona fide phenomena ;Sailfish, Black marlin, Blue marlin,Yellow fin tuna,Albacore,Grouper,Pargo,Pomano,Dorado,Wahoo all had to be caught has given this land its claim to fame!