Golfito is a Little town and port. Located in the South pacific area of Costa Rica. It is small and it is quite simple. It’s history goes back to the banana company taking over this little tiny bay to turn it into their headquarters and creating their own little country within, with a marked classes difference (There were different neighborhoods according to the nationalities and/or positions in the company) including the fact that there was an “American Zone” that was secluded and parted for the U.S. high officials only. With the best houses and the prettiest areas.
It has an international port, that was made with dynamite by the company also and probably one of the most beautiful settings in all of Costa Rica… A tiny little gulf… Immersed in jungle. With a view to some of the most iconic marine areas of the country: Golfo Dulce.
There are two national Parks in the area, and surrounding Golfito: Piedras Blancas National Park and the Golfito Wildlife Reserve.
Four species of monkeys, and over three hundred species of birds, some of them endemic to the area are only part of the magnificence of this place.
On top of this, Golfito was, before the company arrived a huge mangrove (Some of it still there), up untul today the water is very still and yachts come every year from all over the World just to be safe from hurricanes and storms.
Then… Why is it unknown? Why is it poor?
Amazingly, the average Costa Rican that goes to Golfito thinks Golfito to be “ugly” to say the least. But… why?
Well! After the banana company left, and in an effort to help the thousands of unemployed villagers left, the government created the “Depósito” a round duty-free commercial center where electro domestics are very cheap if you compare prices with the rest of the country.
People got used to go to Golfito just for the shopping… and to be fair, yes, the famous “depósito” has no grace at all. Another shopping area in an extremely hot place. Very few people really stopped to see the landscape, much less to visit the few attractions of Golfito.
But then there is another disgrace… Realtors discovered it. And some of them, knowing its real value bought very cheap “American Zone” houses and turned them into palaces, selling them for outrageous prices. Some of them have been sold. Some others wait for years for a yacht owner to find them and create a nest in this warm paradise.
Why is that a disgrace? Well! Real Estate and even the rent of an apartment in Golfito, is more expensive than it would be in San Jose… or Guanacaste. Which is actually quite absurd.
Now… If it is so… What is there to see in Golfito?
First as we already said, two magnificent and untouched national parks, several places where you can hike and a canopy tour up on the mountain… No lines on the trails, no crowds, and lots of animals and amazing trees and plants. But then… you look out to the ocean… and Wow! That is where the wonders really start!
In the area of Golfo Dulce you can find huge schools of dolphins and humpback whales come to give birth in the area every year. There is a magical botanical garden and a rescue center that will take your breath away… If you travel by night on a boat, the bioluminescence is unbelievable… like traveling over a million moving stars.
The Coto River Mangroves are home to dozens of aquatic bird species and Esquinas Rainforest Lodge is one of the most known bird watching havens in Costa Rica.
If you travel about an hour and a half to the South of Golfito you can also find Pavones, a surfers goal, with the second longest left wave in the World… A wave that takes a mile to break…
Golfito is serious business for nature lovers, bird watchers and photographers. There are some good hotels and some more rustic options…
Because here Nature is the real and most exclusive luxury.
Written by Olga Sáenz Carbonell for Camino Travel.
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