If you want to experience Costa Rica for its natural parks and avoid beautiful-but-touristy places (such as Quepos) head over to Osa Peninsula, home of Corcovado National Park, which is the largest park in the country (and much of Central America). I was just there in November and would recommend it to anybody who is looking for adventure travel. November is a good time to go, too, because it is the end of their rainy season but not quite their high season yet. You will end up doing a lot of trekking–both in jungle and on the beach–so plan accordingly and bring a lot of sunscreen.
We took a local flight on Sansa from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez and rented a 4X4 car from there. You can also take a “colectivo” shuttle bus (cheaply) or a taxi (expensively). It is about a three hour drive to Carate. This is where “the road ended” and we hiked 3 miles on the beach to the eco lodge. The beaches are amazing and so are most of the eco lodges. Still, the key here is modest: tents, simple meals and lots of scenery. Anyone looking to get “eco-pampered” with a massage in the sunset should probably go to Quepos instead.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country that has so much to offer to different types of travelers. Don’t get discouraged just because your neighbor told you it is getting touristy. There are still real gems to find in Costa Rica.
Also: Check out the story + gallery (below) of Gadling blogger Jerry Guo catching bats in Costa Rica.