Golfito National Wildlife Refuge

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Golfito National Wildlife Refuge

In its heyday, Golfito was the largest and most important city in Costa Rica's southern zone with the United Fruit Company operated a very robust and successful banana business. But the United Fruit Company pulled out in 1985, due to a variety of reasons, and the jungle has been reclaiming Golfito ever since. Now, Golfito, in and of itself, is neither a popular nor a particularly inviting tourist destination. That said, rumors abound about the potential addition of an international airport and major marina operation down here.

Although, not visited often, surrounding Golfito is the picturesque, Golfito National Wildlife Refuge, covering the steep slopes surrounding the once robust town. Golfito National Wildlife Refuge extends over approximately 1,300 hectares north of the Dulce Gulf and protects the forested and beach areas surrounding Golfito. The refuge includes a chain of mountains and lies in a rugged wilderness area carpeted with dense evergreen forest that receives an average annual rainfall of 150 -200 inches per year, making it one of the wettest places in the world. The coastline is very jagged, with cliffs reaching up to 200 meters high. Golfito National Wildlife Refuge is a place of extraordinary scenic beauty, in turn making Golfito Harbor one of the most strikingly beautiful cities in Costa Rica.

The heavy and almost constant rains feed an abundance of waterways but they also promote the growth of very tall trees, which makes this forested area one of the highest in Central America. The Golfito National Wildlife Refuge provides shelter for 146 species of birds, including macaws, parrots, brown pelicans, ibis, herons and owls. Other wildlife that can be found in the refuge are White-Faced Capuchin, squirrel, spider and howler monkeys, jaguarundies, margays, anteaters, agouties, pacas, raccoons and various species of snakes, frogs butterflies and bats.


There are no public facilities in the refuge. Hiking trails leading to scenic overlooks and beaches can be accessed through the town of Golfito.