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Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve, South Puntarenas

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The Golfo Dulce, or Sweet Gulf, sits between the Osa Peninsula and Costa Rica's southern Pacific coastline. The large bay hugs pristine beaches, rivers and tall evergreen forest, which is protected as the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve. As one of the wettest places on Earth with over 200 inches of rainfall a year, the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve boasts some of the tallest ancient trees that tower between 100 and 140 feet into the air. Known for its biodiversity, this region is ideal for nature lovers and adventurers.

All about Gulfo Dulce Forest Reserve

Established in 1979, the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve was created to protect the lowland forested areas that surround the Golfo Dulce. It also connects other national parks in the area. Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve is located near Corcovado National Park, another park known for its wonderful biodiversity, and the smaller Piedras Blancas National Park. The reserve spans more than 149,500 acres.

Flora, Fauna and Activities

Golfo Dulce is a great place to go bird watching or simply relax along the shores of one of the several secluded beaches. Swimming and hiking opportunities are abundant here, offering travelers a chance to view the outstanding wildlife.

The tropical rainforest is home to spider, white-faced, squirrel and howler monkeys, among other creatures, including anteaters, coatimundis, jaguars, ocelots, margays, dart frogs and agoutis. Additionally, there are many aviary species that take flight here. Scarlet macaws, toucans, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, wood creepers and trogons are among the most visible birds in Golfo Dulce.

Those who want to explore the area outside of the park as well can enjoy world class surfing, sport fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, horseback riding and more.

Where to Stay

Because of the natural environment here, visitors will be able to find several eco-luxury resorts very close to the Gulfo Dulce Forest Reserve. This forest reserve is an ideal escape for travelers who want to be away from it all and immersed in nature. One of the closest communities is Puerto Jimenez, which is one of the largest towns on the Osa Peninsula.

Travel Tips

Travelers will not find any facilities on the forest reserve grounds, but it is possible to plan a trip to the reserve from one of the resorts in the area. Those coming from San Jose should take a domestic flight from the San Jose (Juan Santamaria) International Airport to either Puerto Jimenez local airport or the Golfito local airport, then most lodges in the area will offer free boat service while staying at the lodge. Most of these lodges are to the south of the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve. Once at that lodge arrange for a tour of the Gulfo Dulce Forest Reserve. The San Jose airport is about 350 kilometers away from Gulfo Dulce. If you would like to travel by car it is possible to reach the Golfo Dulce from the north. Make your way to Chacarita a tiny town just before you get to the Osa Peninsula and from you can find some lodges to stay at near the top of the Golfo Dulce.

Climate in the Reserve

Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve receives an average of 150 to 200 inches of rainfall. December to April is the dry season, but precipitation varies month by month. The temperature stays around the upper 80s to low 90s throughout the year, and it can dip down to about 70 degrees at night with very high humidity all year long.