Golfo Dulce and the Osa Peninsula

The word “Osa” comes from the name of a powerful indigenous leader who, along with his people, occupied the region before the arrival of Ponce de Leon in 1516. The Spanish, however, made no attempt to colonize this part of Costa Rica because it was so densely forested, using it only to restock supplies. Significant settlement and development did not begin here until the mid 19th century, although the relocation of United Fruit’s company headquarters to the Osa in the 1930s was probably the most significant growth factor in the region’s history. Nowadays, although this is still the least developed region of the country, the tourist industry has come to dominate the area’s economy, causing a steady growth of touristic and infrastructural development – for better or worse.