Puerto Jimenez

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Welcome to the hub of the Osa, the Cradle of Western Civilization. Founded before the annals of recorded history in the early nineteenth century, the original pioneer dwelling grew tentatively in the early years of the steam engine, losing a few during the period of the American Civil War to malaria, then growing again by the time Bell and Watson made the telephone possible. It was located on the present day bay of Pueblo Viejo, whence mangrove and sunset dolphin watching tours depart daily in modern times, and in the late eighteen hundreds it was identified on international nautical charts as Santo Domingo. The original cemetary has not quite disintegrated into the jungle, though it is well on its way. But when the tsunami hit, an event recorded outside of the oral tradition in a minuscule number of documents, the town moved to higher ground. The new town center was located across the street from the present day Choza del Manglar. In 1910 Puerto Jiménez renamed itself in honor of the visiting President of the Republic, an honor heretofore never bestowed on the district. The town center was moved to its present location in the fifties. During its existence it has seen its economic focus shift from bush and fish to subsistence agriculture to cattle to beans to bananas to gold to wood to rice, and finally to current regional economic mainstay, tourism. While traditional tourism is a mature industry in Puerto Jimenez, Drake, and at sophisticated remote ecolodges, an enormous contribution to the economy comes from expatriate residents from the investment in real estate and development. Nevertheless, there remains a strong agricultural industry in the cattle, rice, and African palm sectors. The Osa is one of the rare places in the world with the climate and topography, coincidentally to support three annual harvests of rice, already a cash crop.

See our sample itinerary below for what’s best to do when you visit PUERTO JIMENEZ!

descarga (1)Today, Puerto Jiménez is a vital center of commerce for the peninsula. It is a town in which Comisariato La Esquina offers eight brands of imported dried tomatoes, for instance, and bleu cheese dressing, though buttermilk and corn meal remain elusive in the cradle. Most of the remote lodges in the Matapalo and Carate area have some office presence in town and purchase supplies and fuel here. Puerto Jimenez as a staging point for the Osa offers many advantages. There are a large number of budget hotels in town, making it economical to stage activities from town rather than from more expensive all-inclusive lodges. Also, Jimenez is somewhat central geographically on the peninsula, reducing driving time for visitors interested in the Drake area of the peninsula as well as Matapalo or Carate.

For the Osa traveler, Jimenez offers the following goods and services:

  • Travel connections and banking
  • Budget, Mid-priced, and Top-Shelf Accommodations
  • Wide latitude of Restaurants
  • Internet, phone, fax, Satellite television, air conditioning
  • Assortment of colorful drinking establishments
  • Fuel 24 hours a day
  • Groceries, beer, ice, hardware, miscellaneous supplies

You almost can’t come to the Osa without at least passing through Puerto Jiménez, but for some of us, Puerto Jiménez is a destination in its own right. I, for instance, waded ashore from the Golfito lancha in 1985 and have made Jimenez my home for seven of the intervening twenty years. Go figure..

Today, Puerto Jiménez is a vital center of commerce for the peninsula. It is a town in which Comisariato La Esquina offers eight brands of imported dried tomatoes, for instance, and bleu cheese dressing, though buttermilk and corn meal remain elusive in the cradle. Most of the remote lodges in the Matapalo and Carate area have some office presence in town and purchase supplies and fuel here. Puerto Jimenez as a staging point for the Osa offers many advantages. There are a large number of budget hotels in town, making it economical to stage activities from town rather than from more expensive all-inclusive lodges. Also, Jimenez is somewhat central geographically on the peninsula, reducing driving time for visitors interested in the Drake area of the peninsula as well as Matapalo or Carate.

For the Osa traveler, Jimenez offers the following goods and services:

  • Travel connections and banking
  • Budget, Mid-priced, and Top-Shelf Accommodations
  • Wide latitude of Restaurants
  • Internet, phone, fax, Satellite television, air conditioning
  • Assortment of colorful drinking establishments
  • Fuel 24 hours a day
  • Groceries, beer, ice, hardware, miscellaneous supplies

You almost can’t come to the Osa without at least passing through Puerto Jiménez, but for some of us, Puerto Jiménez is a destination in its own right. I, for instance, waded ashore from the Golfito lancha in 1985 and have made Jimenez my home for seven of the intervening twenty years. Go figure..

Getting Here

RENTAL CAR: From San Jose, the shortest route is the Panamerican-Costanera route, but there are three routes that can be taken, described below.

Panamerican-Costanera: Take the Panamerican Highway (Hwy 2) from San Jose to San Isidro. Turn right on Dominical Highway. At the end turn left on the Costanera Highway. Drive through Dominical, Uvita, and take a right on the Panamerican Highway at Palmar Norte. Take a right 45 minutes later at Chacarita, and gas up at the intersection as needed. Proceed to Puerto Jimenez.

Panamerican: Take the Panamerican Highway (Hwy 2) from San Jose to Chacarita, passing through San Isidro, Buenos Aires, and Palmar Norte en route. Take a right at Chacarita, and gas up as needed. Proceed to Puerto Jimenez.

Costanera: Take the Puntarenas freeway west past the airport and pick up the Jacó exit and from the coast, pick up the Costanera. Be prepared for abysmal road conditions between Quepos and Dominical, but push on happy from Dominicall all the way to Palmar Norte and your right on the Panamerican. Take a right 45 minutes later at Chacarita, and gas up at the intersection as needed. Proceed to Puerto Jimenez.

AIR: There are 5-6 daily commercial flights between San Jose and Puerto Jimenez between two airlines, of which Natureair is the one least likely to cancel your flight, lose your reservation, or fall out of the sky. The charter airline Alfa Romeo Air Charter also provides charter air service between Puerto Jiménez and any domestic airport desired. Alfa Romeo’s rate schedule for different routes are presented as well.

BUS: Below is a listing of all the bus schedules originating and finishing in Puerto Jimenez. Please note that there are three actual bus pickup points for the different lines, so ask in town to make sure you’re at the right place. There is the Main Bus Station, the Carate Bus Station, and the La Palma buses pick up on the corner beside El Regalón in downtown Puerto Jimenez.

TAXI: You can secure a van and driver for up to six people and luggage from San Jose for around $500.

BOAT: Jimenez is now served by two fast boats that make two round trips daily at various times for a fee of $4. The lancha is the slow boat and travels daily to Golfito, departing at six a.m. from Jimenez, arriving 7:30 at the muellecito of Golfito. It returns at 11:30 a.m., arriving at 1:00 p.m. Commonly two boats make the run daily, and when this is the case, the first departs Golfito at 11:00, or when it fills up. The price is $6 with additional fees for surfboards and packs.

Getting Around Inside Puerto Jiménez

Rent bicycles from Camilo off main street ($10- $15) per day according to season and duration of lease. The bicycle is the conveyance of choice. For C5000. you can get anywhere in town in any taxi, C3500 usually if you’re a local.

Tours and Activities

Self-Guiding Beach: The town beach is very placid and unacceptable for body-surfers though absolutely excellent for parents with very young children as the waters are very tranquil. Five kilometers from town, Playa Platanares presents an extraordinary unspoiled tropical beach with all the wave action one could want for body-surfing. You can actually reach Puntarenitas Point on foot from town in twenty minutes at low tide, but the best way to enjoy is to rent bicycles and ride out to Pearl of the Osa to enjoy the beach. The wonderful Monochingo Bar and Grille offers the sun-weary a shaded breezy open-air space to regenerate and play ping pong and board games, ride the hammock, swill frostie pops and umbrellas, or all three. Beach volleyball court, kilometers of unspoiled beach, horseback, monkeys, this place has got it all.

Self-Guided Mountain: Dos Brazos del Rio Tigre is only a forty minute bus ride from town with three round trip rides a day and taxi service. At the confluence of the two mouths of the Rio Tigre, Dos Brazos has a history closely intertwined with the gold mining industry. In the eighties it was the headquarters of the commercial Rio Tigre mining operation. Today, it retains a few hand miners, most of which make more money giving hand mining tours than actually mining the precious metal. Dos Brazos is perilously close to the Corcovado National Park boundary and has extensive primary rain forest a short hike from the bus’s arrival point. Bird watching, gold mining, wilderness hiking, waterfalls, river swimming, horseback, all available in Dos Brazos, even for visitors overnighting in Jimenez.

Accommodations and Lodging

 

Casa Bella
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The Beach House
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HOTELS AND LODGES

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 Cabinas Jimenezflecha-derecha
Cabinas Marcelina
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Cabinas Tropicales
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Agua Dulce Lodge
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 Osa lodge flecha-derecha
Las Islas Lodge
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La choza de Manglar 
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Cabinas Corner 
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