¡Pura Vida! Part 3
The Osa Peninsula: Diving Isla del Caño & Exploring Remote Bahia Drake
Another reason we came to the Osa Peninsula was scuba diving of course! I chose Bahia Drake because of the proximity to Isla del Caño. A pristine deserted island, it seems the only inhabitants are people relaxing between dives. It was my first time scuba diving in the Pacific and I couldn't wait to dive in!
Unlike the Caribbean side, there are no vibrant corals. Instead, the big players hang out on the Pacific side - whales, dolphins, sharks and the top of my diving bucket list: manta rays!
After a delicious 5am breakfast of fresh guanaba juice, fruits, huevos and galle pinto, we moseyed to the beach for out boat pick up. Seasoned boat boarders by now, the moment the crew held the boat steady against the hungry tide we hopped on board. After gearing up and a brief briefing,
I did the James Bond roll into the warm sea. As I descended into the abyss, I immediately noticed the difference from the crystal clear waters I was used to. Not only was the visibility a fraction of what I was used to, but the current was much stronger than I'd ever experienced. Currents carry a wealth of nutrients, which is what attracts so many creatures in the first place, thus attracting so many divers - myself included! Before I had a chance to get used to the intense environment a giant manta ray soared above my head. I couldn't believe what I was seeing! Knowing seeing these creatures is by no means guaranteed - mostly it's luck - a minute into my first dive one appears! Suddenly a second silhouette appears right behind - and before I know it two massive manta rays are dancing around me, their fins gently propelling their giant bodies through the sun's rays.
Diving Caño? Worth it.
After a dive filled with various types of rays, turtles, sharks and schools of fish so massive they blocked the sunlight, we took a break on the idyllic island. Basically a shore lined with dense jungle, thousands of hermit crabs scurried across the sand only to cower into their shells, mimicking rocks as I approached. I switched between cooling off in the turquoise waters and lounging on the beach, completely understanding the Tico's mantra now: Pura Vida, indeed.
We stayed at the Mohagine Hotel, a gorgeous property surrounded by jungle. All of the huts were made from local mahogany, simple, rustic yet extremely comfortable.
One night we explored the forest, finding frogs, insects, and numerous types of spiders. Thousands of leaf cutter ants marched in trails dozens of feet long, working hard through the night, traveling with giant leaves towards their homes.
The 'airport' was a shack next to a dirt runway, and the town itself was tiny - no
ATMs, sometimes no power, and just a couple of delicious restaurants serving up their catch of the day. At times it seemed deserted, only a few residents out for a meal or an errand. Horses walked lazily down the beach, and dozens of dogs curiously trailed behind us as we walked the dirt roads. The water was bath-like, warm and soothing. Thick jungle crept to the beach and Scarlet Macaws squawked overhead, feasting on the local almond trees lining the shore. In the evenings we drifted off to sleep serenaded by the sounds of the jungle, dreaming of Pura Vida.