There’s no need for an alarm when you want to wake up for a dawn surf at Osa Clandestina…
Ensconced in the jungle with an abundance of wildlife for company, here the howler monkeys and macaws will raise you from reverie as the sun comes up. Lie in the hammock with a coffee, slumber in your queen-size bed and soak up your surroundings, or leap up and grab your surfboard – starting your day here is simply magical.
A day in Paradise
Strong Costa Rican coffee, fresh coconut milk and granola awaits if you decide to get up for a wave or wander to the beach. You’ll usually spot spider monkeys, blue morphos (the butterfly emoji in real life) and perhaps even an agouti on the way from your room to the coffee jug. Pad two-minutes to the beach and make the first footsteps in the sand, the hermit crabs scattering beneath your footfall. If the surf’s up, paddle out to cruise along the peeling right-hander at Pan Dulce, or you might nudge on along a short jungle track to a more punchy peak at Backwash Bay. Depends on the tides. Depends on your mood.
Even when there’s not a ripple in sight, this is a beach lovers’ paradise. Stretch out with sunrise yoga on the beach, gaze out across the ocean towards the border of Panama, and dive into the glassy emerald waters with just pelicans and turtles for company. Osa Clandestina is the sort of place that highlights how family surfing holidays aren’t just about riding waves. It’s one of the most bio-diverse places on the planet, where nature is your playground and wildlife far outnumbers people.
Mealtimes also highlight your surroundings – each dish freshly made using the best local ingredients – much of them plucked from the owner’s farms. “We own the farm and we made the table,” the owner explains simply, as we sit in the alfresco dining room, where squirrel monkeys swing past in the canopies. The full Costa Rican breakfast sets you up for a day on the beach or exploring the jungle – huevos rancheros, guacamole, galle pinto, salsa picante and homemade sourdough. There isn’t a set menu. The talented chefs come in three times a day to home-cook a fusion of Costa Rican and Western cuisine, according your tastes and dietary requirements. Our other firm favourites included the flourless chocolate cake, Costa Rican-style roasts using coconut-fed pork, and seared tuna steaks served with organic rice.
When it comes down to surfing, yoga and other activities on offer at Osa Clandestina, it’s really up to you how much, or how little, you want to do. There are a few soft-top surfboards to use at your leisure, and surf instruction can be arranged with local experts. With a mix of mellow point breaks (Pan Dulce) and hollow reef breaks (Cabo Matapalo) on the doorstep, there’s usually a spot to suit every level. If you’re not competent surfers, it’s advisable to hit the waves with an instructor. If you don’t fancy surfing or hit a flat spell, it’s a veritable beach paradise none-the-less. And if a swell rolls in and you want to hit the water without the kids in tow, a bi-lingual babysitter can be organised so that you can max out on time in the water.
At Osa Clandestina, exploring the jungle and encountering wildlife is all part of daily life. A simple walk to the beach and scramble along the trunk of a palm tree can end up with the sighting of humpback whales just a few hundred metres off shore. A walk to the local Catarata waterfall might involve meeting a boa constrictor on route. If you want to embark on organised, adrenalin-fuelled adventures, head into the wild with Andy from Everyday Adventures, who will take you waterfall rappelling, introduce you to the region’s edibles – including termites and hibiscus – and have you climbing up a 70ft fig-strangler tree and leaping like Tarzan from the canopies.
Wildlife and Adventure Paradise
A family surfing holiday to the Osa Peninsula isn’t a regular family surfing trip. It’s a mind-blowing, eye-popping adventure to one of the most beautiful and wild destinations on the world. If you’re looking for a heady dose of waves, adventure and wildlife, then it’s a must-go. The off-grid sanctuary of Osa Clandestina is a rare place that enables you to indulge in jungle life beside the waves, while at the same time relaxing in luxurious surroundings with the treasures of this beach paradise at your fingertips.
Getting here: Transfer: The easiest way to get here is via a domestic flight from SJO to Puerto Jimenez (about 55 minutes) on Sansa Airlines or Skyway. Private charters can also be arranged. A private taxi will be arranged from Puerto Jimenez onto Osa Clandestina (about 30 minutes’ along a dirt track).
Climate: Av. temps 28-30C year round. The ‘rainy’ season is from May to October, with most rain in September and October.
Best time to go: December to August. Dec-Feb for smaller swells, but there can also be flat spells during this time. From March–May the swell is more consistent and it’s dry season. Although May–August is considered rainy season, it’s a great time to visit, with most rain falling at night and some consistent swells rolling through.
Surf level: Intermediate to Advanced. These are point breaks with rocks and hazards. Beginners’ can try Pan Dulce on a small swell, just be aware that there are no sand-bottomed breaks.
Other activities: Horse riding, waterfall rappelling, tree climbing, sport fishing, yoga, wildlife tours.
Time zone: GMT-6