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Dolphin Tour through the Golfo Dulce

Destination: Puerto Jimenez, Golfo Dulce, Golfito


  • Location : Bay of Puerto Jimenez pier
  • Hours : Vary depending on your schedule, but the morning is best
  • Time length : 4 hours
  • Price : $60 per person, with a minimum of five guests

The Golfo Dulce is where the sky comes to recline, where it presses its wispy image against the impossibly elastic glass sheen of the water.

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Almond and palm trees bend toward the coastline from their earthen ridges and slopes that flank the water’s edge. A dozen rivers spill their last drink here.

Whales travel here to mate and have offspring. And dolphins find feasts at river mouths.

All things seem drawn to its restful aura, and you likely will be too.

Marcus Taboga, a local resident who researches marine life with universities and conservation organizations, leads dolphin and whale tours through the gulf. Starting at the pier in Puerto Jimenez, he circles the gulf in search of dolphins and other animals like sea turtles.

Surrounded by two national parks — Corcovado along the west and the Piedras Blancas along the east — the terrain looks largely untouched by human hand.

About 60 bottle-nose dolphins and 150 spotted dolphins reside in these waters, drawn by the warm temperatures and abundant fish brought in by the surrounding rivers. You’ll likely see at least a handful of them during the tour as they either travel from one side of the gulf to the other or dive for food.

From August through October, you may see whales as they migrate to the gulf to breed free of predatory threats primarily because here, the water is too warm for carnivorous sharks.

Even if you only see birds resting on floating logs, including white footed boobies or pelicans, the four-hour trip is a delight. Taboga can answer in Spanish just about any question you have about the marine life, and stocks the boat with cooler full of drinks. If you ask in advance, he’ll bring fresh fruit and snorkeling gear.

He steers the boat along the coastline for different views depending on where you are: mangroves or sloping beaches or rocky cliffs that sprout crooked trees or caves that swallow the gulf water as it funnels into their dark cavities.

He also cuts in and out of the center of the gulf, where the water stands still and silent.

By the time the trip’s over, you’ll hop off the boat understanding why they called it the “Golfo Dulce.” It’s a sweet spot.

Departure & Return

  • Departure point : Tour departs from all major hotels in Puerto Jimenez and Matapalo
  • Departure time : Hotel pickup is between 20 and 50 minutes before tour start time depending on hotel location
  • Return details : Tour returns to original departure point between three and four hours after tour start time

Dolphin Tour through the Golfo Dulce in Pictures

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