Protecting 1,309 hectares north of Golfo Dulce, which is very close to Golfito, this refuge has several trails that allow observation of the area’s biological wealth.

Golfito National Wildlife Refuge


Protecting 1,309 hectares north of Golfo Dulce, which is very close to Golfito City, this refuge has several trails that allow observation of the area’s biological wealth. Forming part of the Osa Conservation Area, the refuge plays a key role in the protection of various species. Visitor services include trails, signage and natural viewpoints.

Visit: The most comfortable route is the one that goes from Golfito to Las Torres Hill (486 m.), where some communication antennas are situated. Some paths start from this point and descend into the city. More information is located in the transport section on this site.


This small refuge of just 1,309 ha. was originally created to protect the water that supplies the city of Golfito. Past studies have shown the importance of this enclave from a natural point of view. It is truly virginal land in the middle of a cultivated landscape.

It consists of jagged mountains, which produce a very irregular coastline with 200 m cliffs.

The strong and almost constant precipitation feeds the waterways and allows the development of  green forests. Some species of trees very common here are the Nazareno, the Manú, the Ajo and the Plomo, which are in danger of becoming extinct in other parts of the country.

Curiously, and without any explanation, the only example of Caryodaphnopsis genus grows here;  an Asian Lauraceous which up to now has  been found only once in theheliconia Peruvian Amazon. Also, in the sotto forest, the Zamia pseudoparasitica, a very primitive plant which is a real living fossil, very similar to the Warf palm, is found here.

The photographer will enjoy  the variety of colors which the heliconias or platanillos present,and which attract a multitude of insects and humming birds.

The fauna is not abundant, making reptiles and insects stand out. Among mammals seen around the refuge are  4 species of Costa Rican monkeys, bats, sainos, the guatusa, the scrub lion, the ant eater, the tepezcuintle, the pizote and the mapachin. 146 species of birds have been described, among them the limpets or macaws, parrots, toucans, trogon, ibis, heron, brow pelicans and owls.

The best time to visit the refuge is from January to early April: Rains are not very abundant and frequent. October is the most rainy month, with over 700 mm. of precipitation.



The route from Golfito is by way of the Pan-American Highway, and is near Rio Claro, which is  26 km from the city. There are gas stations in Golfito and Rio Claro.

The highway is paved and in good condition

If you are planning to go to Zancudo or Pavones, it can take more than 2 hours from Golfito to Zancudo, especially during the rainy season.  The gravel road from Golfito goes to the Panama border by way of the coast, and passes through Pavones. The crossing  of the Coto Colorado river is by ferry.

If you are planning to travel to Golfito by bus, see the Bus Schedule in the section of transportation


Ferry to Puerto Jimenez. The journey lasts 1.5 hours and leaves from the municipal wharf on Mondays and Friday at noon. Boats leave from the municipal wharf to  Zancudo beach as well.
Zancudo beach – Golfito some days at 6:00 a.m.

Private boats can take you any day of the week. Some hotels and cabins have their own service. Some small boats pass by La Trocha, a natural channel which goes through mangroves inhabited by birds and crocodiles. Collective boats frequently pass through Cacao and Puntarenitas beaches.

For Bus schedules to Golfito click here.

Location: Golfito, Puntarenas.
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