After exploring all the possibilities for excursions from Golfito, some travelers may feel the urge to explore new shores. No problem: all you have to do is take the ferry to Puerto Jimenez on the Osa Peninsula. Leave the Panamericana at Piedras Blancas (“White Stones”), or more precisely at Chacarita, a village with at restaurant and a gas station. Take Highway No. 245 via Mogos and Rincon where the paved portion ends; continue southward until you come to Puerto Jimenez, the only major town (4,000 inhabitants) on the Osa Peninsula.
Until 1964, Puerto Jimenez was a sleepy hamlet. Then the Costa Rican lumber industry discovered it and began cutting down the rain forest in the area. Later a few lucky prospectors found gold. The village boomed and the land suffered great damage through clearing and pit mining.
Today, Puerto Jimenez is a relaxed, easy-going place where young backpackers make up the bulk of the tourists. Several white sand beaches south of the town provide ideal sunning and bathing conditions. Surfers try their luck at the beaches of Platanares, Tamales, Pan Dulce (“Sweet Bread”) and Carbonera. On weekends many Ticos from the north come here to shop in the free-trade zone and combine a few days shopping with a short vacation on the beautiful neighboring white beaches. Puerto Jimenez has survived its boom and bust years, and now first and foremost serves Costa Rican travelers and globetrotters as the gateway to the nearby Corcovado National Park.