Golfito Tourist Attractions
Golfito is the most important town in the far southern region of Costa Rica. It is named for a small gulf that emerges into the larger Dulce Gulf, west of Panama. Golfito has an attractive setting; lush, forested hills surround the deep bay and the outline of the Osa Peninsula can be seen in the distance. The town is stretched along one main road squeezed between the gulf and surrounding thickly forested mountains.Golfito was the commercial center of a major banana-growing region from 1938 to 1985. The United Fruit Company had its headquarters in Golfito for many years, but closed for various reasons in 1985. In response to the closing of the company complex, the Costa Rican government established the town as a duty-free port in 1990 in hopes of boosting the economy. While items are still taxed, visitors should note that taxes here are less than anywhere in the country.There are a few fishing and boating marinas in Golfito, and foreign yachts and cruise ships can often be seen moored in the well-protected port. Several tour operators offer excursions to nearby national parks, and boating, sea kayaking, diving and sportfishing are popular activities in the area. The large, duty-free shopping complex is found in northern Golfito.
Golfito National Wildlife Refuge
This refuge was created to protect the Golfito watershed and encompasses most of the steep hills surrounding Golfito. The refuge covers 1,309ha/3,233ac and has succeeded in keeping the town's water clean as well as conserving rare and interesting plant species.An Asian plant species that is very rare in Central America, called Caryodaphnopsis, is found in the refuge, as well as a species of cycad called Zamia. The latter are primitive plants known as "living fossils", since they were abundant before the time of the dinosaurs. There are many other species of orchids, heliconias, tree ferns and tropical trees such as the cow, copal, kapok and butternut tree.Fauna that can be spotted includes birds such as toucans, parrots, trogons and hummingbirds. Mammals include pacas, raccoons, peccaries, monkeys and coatimundis. There are several hiking trails throughout the refuge. Rainfall in the area is very high, October is the wettest month and receives 700mm. January to mid-April is the driest time to visit the refuge.
This beach is reached via a short boat ride across a bay. While it is clean enough for swimming, the waters are not pristine. However, there are attractive views of Golfito's port, bay and surrounding rainforest.
Sportfishing in Dulce Gulf
Both sportfishing and boating are the highlights of the Dulce Gulf. In the area are several options for fishing excursions, varying from one-day tours to fishing and accommodation packages.