The Sendero de Oro (Gold Trail) is a conglomeration of a few kilometers of abandoned 4WD road, many following the riverbeds of the Rios Tigre, Piedras Blancas and Carate, a couple of long steep climbs up and down between drainages on indigenous footpaths, and a few kilometers along the beach. It winds generally northeast to southwest across the southern Osa Peninsula starting from Dos Brazos de Rio Tigre outside Puerto Jimenez on the Golfo Dulce climbs to nearly 1,600 feet (500 meters) twice before dropping down to the Pacific at Carate Beach where you turn west to La Leona.
The first afternoon we did a warm-up hike on the north fork of the Rio Tigre exploring the arm that we would not follow with our packs the next day. We found a rope swing vine and a nice swimming hole and everyone had their eyes peeled for shining nuggets in the stream.
Walking upstream was a good test for our gear and helped with footwear choices for the trek. Sue and I were in Solomon water shoes, Edwin was testing his new hightop rubber boots and dual sock combo and Meg and Ryan both decided on Keens for the water walking and switching to light weight gortex hikers for the climbs.
Revisiting Puerto Jiménez, Trekking the Sendero de Oro, Tent Camping at Drake Bay, Across Corcovado National Park & Underwater at Caño Island Biological Reserve
We first visited the Osa over eighteen years ago when we spent a few nights in Jiménez then trekked from La Palma on the Golfo Dulce, up the Río Rincon to Los Patos, down to the Pacific at Sirena and then along the beach to La Leona and Carate.
When we were offered the opportunity to explore a new trans-peninsular hike with our friend Edwin we jumped at the chance. We flew Nature Air from Tobias Bolaños airport in Pavas (San José) to Puerto Jiménez on the Osa Peninsula.
Jiménez has undergone some major changes in the past couple of years, most notably the road from Chacharita on the Pan American highway is paved. The last new bridge was opened while we were there last week and the drive time has been cut in half.
The new modern BM supermarket includes a small soda that supplements Carolina’s as the main meeting place in town and of course a number of restaurants, hotels and lodges have come and gone.
We’ve got about six weeks to update 2/3 of the Costa Rica Guide (the NW was covered on our November trip) and we’re excited to start with a 3 day hiking trek across Corcovado on a route we haven’t taken before.
The first couple of days we’ll base out of Puerto Jiménez to explore to the south and Cabo Matapalo, home to some of the best ecolodges in Costa Rica then west to Dos Brazos del Río Tigre and the Sendero de Oro (the gold trail) southwest across the tip of the peninsula through the Golfo Dulce reserve and Corcovado National Park to Playa Madrigal.
After the trek we’re going to make our way to the north where we’ll spend a couple of nights in the Corcovado Adventures Tent Camp on Playa Caletas an eleven kilometer walk south & west of Bahía Drake. We’ll use this as a base to hike or boat down to San Pedrillo and check out the northern extent of the National Park and all of the exceptional ecolodges in the Drake/Agujitas/Caletas region.
Nature air is flying all of us half-price which gives us two extra days (the drive/bus from San José takes a full day on the road each way) to enjoy the Osa before we fly out of Drake to pick up our SUV rental in San José and get started on WEEK TWO.
We know we’ll be trekking, doing some four wheeling and some exploring by boat, but we’re going a little by the seat of our pants so we’ll be posting updates here as we figure out exactly where we’re going when. The back country of Corcovado and the Osa is one of the last places in the world where there’s no wi-fi, 4G (or any G for that matter) data service or any internet of any kind so be patient; we’ll get the updates and photos out when we get connectivity.