- Summary: The Sweet Gulf is home to Golfito, Zancudo and Pavones; known for excellent wildlife watching, sport fishing and beautiful beaches.
- Landscape: Beaches, Ocean, Rainforest, River
- Attractions: Golfito Wildlife Refuge, Osa Wildlife Sanctuary, Piedras Blancas National Park, Wildlife
- Activities: Bird & Wildlife Watching, Sport Fishing, Surfing
- Caters to: Luxury Travelers, Nature Lovers, Surfers
- Quick Facts: Adjacent to the Osa Peninsula ; Sea level ; 78-92°F
Golfo Dulce Snapshot
The Golfo Dulce, or Sweet Gulf, is bordered by the Osa Peninsula to the west and the towns of Golfito, Zancudo and Pavones to the east. Intense natural beauty, seclusion and an abundance of wildlife epitomize the area. Verdant rainforest, mangrove estuaries and golden beaches blanket the shores of the large bay, which is home to dolphins and humpback whales.read more close
Wildlife watching is excellent along the Golfo Dulce. Together, the Piedras Blancas National Park, Osa Wildlife Sanctuary, and Golfito Wildlife Refuge are home to nearly as many plants and animals as Corcovado National Park – the most biologically intense place on earth.
The region's rainforest is lined with ribbons of secluded beaches, including Playa Nicuesa and Playa Esperanza. These secluded shorelines offer peace and relaxation, as well as gentle swimming waters. South of Golfito, the village of Pavones beckons surfers to hang ten on one of the world's longest left point breaks.
Avid anglers flock to the Golfo Dulce for sport fishing excursions based out of Golfito and Zancudo. Fishing is excellent year-round, and the Pacific waters regularly yield yellow fin tuna, marlin, wahoo and roosterfish; Pacific sailfish season lasts November-May.
Piedras Blancas National Park
Once part of Corcovado National Park, Piedras Blancas boasts an incredible diversity of plant and animal life. The Esquinas and Piedras river basins keep the region's wetlands and rainforest teeming with monkeys, poison dart frogs, crocodiles and over 330 bird species. Rescue initiatives for endangered wild cats and scarlet macaws have had luck at the park, mostly due to its hospitable habitat and isolation.
Osa Wildlife Sanctuary
Illegal pets, wounded animals and injured wildlife are cared for at the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary, a rehabilitation and release organization located adjacent to Piedras Blancas National Park. Meet spider monkeys, scarlet macaws, sloths and other animals at this unique rescue foundation. Tours are available everyday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and include transportation from Golfito, about 30 minutes away by boat. Tel: 8837-1631
Casa de Orquideas
A rainbow of botanical blooms greets visitors to the Orchid House, home to heliconias, bromeliads, and orchids. The gardens are located approximately 15 minutes by boat from Golfito, but may also be reached in kayak or on foot by visitors to Playa San Josecito. Guided tours are offered Sundays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m and self-guided walking tours are available Monday through Wednesday and on Saturdays. 8829-1247.
Golfito Wildlife Refuge
Originally created to protect Golfito's water supply, the refuge is bordered by Piedras Blancas National Park to the north. Hiking and wildlife watching are excellent at the refuge, where Costa Rica's four monkey species – howler, capuchin, squirrel and spider – join collared peccaries, pacas, agoutis and white-nosed coatis.
Air: Sansa and Nature Air offer daily flights to Golfito. A direct flight takes approximately 50 minutes.
Boat: Boat taxis run at least five times daily between Puerto Jimenez and Golfito. The fare is about $6 and takes a half-hour.
Bus from San Jose: $12.15; 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. (direct, no stops); 8 hours. Departs from Plaza Viquez. 2221-4214.