Cabo Matapalo

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Visting Cabo Matapalo, Osa Penisula

Cabo Matapalo Costa Rica, or more commonly referred to as Matapalo, is a small beach community located on the tip of the Osa Peninsula approximately an hour south of Puerto Jimenez. This area is recognized for its sustainability initiatives and most of the lodges and cabins rely on solar energy. The beaches in the Matapalo area have received the highly coveted Blue Ecological Flag. All for their emphasis on maintaining the natural beauty of the area and minimizing the carbon footprint of those living and visiting the area. Visitors to the Playa Matapalo area are sure to find secluded, untouched beaches with abundant plant life and animal activity. A gem in the southern Pacific region of Costa Rica! So sit back on the Playa and enjoy a tropical drink or if you are feeling more active, take a horseback riding tour and enjoy a stunning sunset while spotting wildlife such as howler monkeys and various birds.


Corcovado National Park

CorcovadoMiles of great trails exist for avid hikers to explore along with a knowledgeable guide. Also, you are very likely to see some of the exotic animals the park is famous for including, Scarlet Macaws, monkeys, sloths, and tapirs, etc. Sea turtles frequent this area annually, allowing visitors to observe the nesting and hatching process. Corcovado’s numbers are quite impressive. You can find 13 major ecosystems, all four monkey species, all four sea turtle species and over 40 frog species. In addition, there are 100 butterfly species, 10,000 insect species, several types of snakes, over 25 lizard species all six feline species, tapirs, crocodiles, peccaries and over 400 bird species!


Matapalo Costa Rica SurfingCabo Matapalo Costa Rica consists of a series of three beaches extending over a five-mile stretch. Surfers will love the uncrowded beaches and the spectacular surf breaks! The waves at Matapalo are not always consistent but are large and perfect for experienced surfers.

The Pan Dulce is the most famous of the surf beaches with its long swells, which regularly produces long tubs! The third beach referred to as Backwater and is more famous for long boarding on its steep waves. Several local surf instructors and guides can be found in the area and there are places to rent and repair equipment if needed. But keep in mind that these locations are pretty remote so necessities can be harder to come by compared to other surfer beaches.

King Louis Waterfall

Waterfall RappelingThe King Louis Waterfall is a short hike from Cabo Matapalo and can be achieved with or without a guide. It offers waterfall rappelling adventures down the 90-foot elevation as well as swimming in the pool at the bottom. Also, at the waterfall offers a unique tree climbing adventure where thrill seekers can attempt to climb a 100-foot Strangler Fig and ring a bell at the top!

Cano Island

snorkeling cano islandCano Island is a top destination for scuba diving, snorkeling and kayaking. Be prepared to spot Manta Rays, Dolphins, Whales, Sharks, and turtles as well as the stunning coral reefs. Located 20 kilometers off the shore of Drake Bay, this island also serves as an archeological site. Mysterious, spherical stones have been found that date back to pre-Columbian times.


Visit between December and March: This is the Costa Rica dry season and generally the best time to visit. Especially the Osa Penisula which is known for more temperamental weather! The rainy season can flood most of the roads and can make for rough seas.

Hire a local guide for Corcovado: Corcovado is a stunning national park known for its diversity, but is best not explored alone.

Great for the experienced surfer: This is not a beach for rookie surfers! If you are a beginner surfer, go to places like Tamarindo. Matapalo is great for the surfer who is highly independent and won’t need many facilities to get by.

Getting there

Closest International Airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)

sansa airline airplanesThe best way to go to reach Matapalo is to take a domestic flight from San Jose. You can also fly to the Palmar Sur Airport. Driving to Matapalo is possible but it takes a long time and sometimes the roads are quite inaccessible. A solid 4-wheel-drive vehicle is a must. If you rent a car, keep in mind that most agencies do not include water damage in the insurance package.


Gallo Pinto VegetarianCabo Matapalo is pretty remote but you will be able to try some tasty, local dishes at Buena Esperanza. Make sure to try the Gallo Pinto for breakfast and the Casado for lunch! For more options, you can travel to Corcovado, Puerto Jimenez or eat at your hotel / resort.

Where to stay

El Remanso Eco Lodge ViewCabo Matapalo has some stunning ecolodges for you to choose from. El Bosque del Cabo is the perfect location if you want to please the naturalist within. The private cliff-top bungalows offer a unique romantic getaway and a nature lover’s dream come true! El Remanso Eco Lodge is for those who are looking for a bit of adventure and a retreat in the middle of nature. Shutterbugs will be pleased with the many stunning photo opportunities. Lapa Rios Eco Lodge is where the wild rainforest meets the Pacific Ocean in Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. Whether you are a beach bum or a jungle adventurer, there is something for the whole family in Lapa Rios Ecolodge!

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Cabo Matapalo Hotels

Bosque del Cabo Lodge

Bosque del Cabo Lodge

From: Over $300
El Remanso Eco Lodge

El Remanso Eco Lodge

From: Over $300
Lapa Rios Ecolodge

Lapa Rios Ecolodge

From: Over $300
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