Tucked into the mountains, just above the entrance to the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, lies a quaint, peaceful community that goes by the name of Osa Mountain Village, also known as Toucan Valley.
Located in an extremely biologically diverse section of the Earth, this jungle paradise is packed full of abundant wildlife, vibrant flora and fauna, dense jungle, serene waterfalls, friendly faces and overflowing fruit and vegetable gardens.
If you want a "typical tourist" experience when visiting this country, then you will be satisfied with crowded places like Jaco, Tamarindo, or even Manuel Antonio. But for those of you wanting to experience the "real", true, authentic Costa Rica, you will be much more satisfied at a place like this: immersed in nature, surrounded by lush, rugged jungle. Where humans truly are the minority.
The high elevation results in comfortable temperatures all year, and creates breath-taking views of the Pacific Ocean and Cano Island. We spend many evenings watching the vibrant, colorful sunsets over the water from our balcony.
After climbing the mountain road, about 7 km off the Costanera Highway and 40 minutes south of Uvita, the winding entrance to the village is inviting. The resident banana box, where you can always find fresh bananas, is usually our first stop.
Rows of villas line the streets, some located near the pool/bar/community center. Others, with more privacy, are located down at the bottom of the hill. They all feature balconies with spectacular views of the jungle cayon, and the sound of a waterfall raging in the distance.
The saltwater pool is expansive, with a swim-up bar and plenty of lounging chairs around the area. The bar has a TV with cable, a pool table, a ping pong table, and a set of cornhole boards.
Numerous refreshing waterfalls are within a short hike from the village, varying in size and difficulty. The largest is over 300 feet tall and is impressive from close up, and from afar, especially during rainy season.
With upper and lower garden areas, you have access to a seemingly endless supply of fresh vegetables for your meals. I love going shopping for dinner in the gardens.
Bi-weekly veggie baskets are filled with a variety of exotic fruits, fresh vegetables and herbs, and farm-fresh eggs. It is always exciting waking up to see what the garden fairy has left for us in our basket.
When you visit the lower garden, make sure to wander deeper into the jungle, and stop by the volunteer center. Say hi to Jose and check out the legendary pizza oven, which makes the best pizza we've had in Costa Rica.
If you're lucky, sometime during your stay, you may receive an invitation to attend a famous "OMV pizza night". "OMV Pizza Nights" are like Vegas...what happens there, stays there. (Except the leftover pizza. If you're extra lucky you may find yourself eating some for breakfast the next morning.)
If you're feeling adventurous while here there is a canopy zipline tour that goes through the village, which includes 10 zipline courses, an extension bridge, and ends with a Tarzan swing out over the jungle valley.
The wildlife is mind-blowing in this area. At our home we have had visits from three species of monkeys: white-faced capuchin monkeys, tiny squirrel monkeys, and howler monkeys.
And it is named Toucan Valley for a reason, Toucans are everywhere here! Here are some toucan photos taken from our yard.
Scarlet Macaws are only found in a few small parts of this country. We see them nearly every day at our house, and we have seen up to 20 of them fly by at one time.
Osa Mountain Village is a bird-watcher's paradise. Here are some other colorful bird photos taken from our house.
There are plenty of deserted and breath-taking beaches nearby to spend the day at. The nearest beach is Playa Tortuga. But our favorite beaches are secret, hidden Playa Arco, as well as Playa Linda outside Dominical, and the famous whale's tail beach at Playa Uvita. All of these spectacular beaches are within an hour from Osa Mountain Village.
The location is perfect, up high in the hills, just far enough from town to feel like your own secluded slice of nature, but not lacking the modern conveniences you are used to. Most villas and homes are equipped with wifi, A/C, hot water, granite counters, modern appliances, and much more.
The village has a community feel to it, and pot lucks are planned, and birthday parties or holiday gatherings at the bar. It is a place that feels like home the second you step foot onto the colorful, peaceful grounds. The laid-back vibe oozes into your soul within seconds. Osa Mountain Village/Toucan Valley is a place your feet may leave, but never your heart.
If this sounds like a place you could call home for a week, a month, a year or forever, then check out their website. There are empty lots for purchase, or completed homes with more privacy within a short drive of the village. There are villas for sale, or for rent. It is very affordable to rent a place here for a week, or a month or two, if you just need to escape the stress of life.
But be careful! Many people who show up here, never end up leaving. My husband and I arrived here, planning to rent for one month, and nine months later we are still here, and happier than ever. Osa Mountain Village/Toucan Valley has become our home, our family, a new way of life.
Take a look at their website to see what is available. Think less, jump more. What are you waiting for? Claim your own piece of paradise! Right now is all we have, so stop waiting to live...
Kari Pinkerton Silcox
It would be a tragedy to die, having never really lived. Which is why my husband Andy and I quit our jobs, sold our house and decided to chase our dreams. We moved to Costa Rica without a plan, and this is the story of our adventure.