The Golfito area around Southern Costa Rica is often referred to as the last frontier. A remote and secluded region of the country, Southern Costa Rica is an unexplored rugged wilderness, where the amenities are basic, but the where one can experience an alternative Costa Rica compared to the hustle and bustle of more popular touristy destinations.
Map of Southern Costa Rica
One of the main reasons why this beautiful region remains so cut off from San Jose is because of the distance. A typical bus ride from Downtown San Jose to Golfito
, a major town in Southern Costa Rica can take up to 8 hours or more. However, do not worry if you wish to tour the area, as the Golfito Domestic Airport
sits 4 km north of the center of town with regular flights by both Sansa and Nature Air.
A major southern port until the mid 1980’s, Golfito was the center for this banana growing region, with the United Fruit Company’s headquarters being based here in the north of town. Since its closure, this town has suffered from major economic loss and unemployment, but with the advent of tourism, this community is slowly rebuilding itself on more modern lines. A rustic and tranquil place with plenty of hotels and accommodations, many people use Golfito as a stopover before heading to the stunning beaches of Playa Zancudo
, and Piedras Blancas National Park
Zancudo with its gentle surf and peaceful atmosphere is the prefect place to kickback and relax. Here the water sparkles at night with the bio-luminescence of tiny marine plankton that live in these waters to create a magical effect. However, for those looking for some action, Pavones is the place to go. Said to have the longest left point break in the world, on a good south swell you can ride a wave for over 3 minutes. Considered to have the best surfing
on the Pacific side of Central America, the ideal time to catch a wave here is between April and October, when the surf is at its biggest. A 2-hour drive south of Golfito, visiting Pavones is a must for the expert surfer.
Flora and Fauna
With a stunning diversity of flora and fauna, the gorgeous Piedras Blancas National Park
is a significant natural reserve and wildlife refuge located just north of Golfito. Sportfishing
is also another major highlight of Southern Costa Rica, with many sport fishermen using Golfito as a home base while they are out catching Pacific sailfish. The best season for this is November to May.