La Gamba, South Puntarenas

Couple crossing the Rio Bonita near La Gamba
Couple crossing the Rio Bonita near La Gamba

La Gamba is a small, agricultural village known for its rich culture and natural beauty, and its located just 30 kilometers away from Golfito in the southern part of province of Puntarenas. With the village's small-town feel and impressive natural beauty, visiting La Gamba should be a top priority for travelers who want to experience the daily life of the native population.

Small Community

There is nothing that brings a community together more than a sense of family, and that is something that you’ll find in La Gamba – an area with approximately 700 inhabitants and just 150 families. The size of the community lends itself to a close bond between the residents, including groups of native women and a number of local artists that create supplies for the area, including items like natural handcrafted shampoos.

While the residents of this small, close-knit village do what they can to be self-sufficient, they still have to rely on larger neighboring areas for necessities and luxuries. About half of La Gamba's residents live near the city center, with the other half living on the outskirts near the larger cities. They capitalize on their proximity to those larger cities, including Golfito and Rio Claro, for access to supermarkets, banks, pharmacies and other stores.

Tropical Weather

La Gamba's tropical climate features a temperature that typically sits between 21 and 39 degrees Celsius and the region receives an average annual rainfall of approximately 6,000 millimeters. The rainy season, which runs from May to December, helps keep the area green and produces a significant number of strong thunderstorms.

Traditional Food

Travelers spending some time in La Gamba will have an opportunity to sample some of its traditional Costa Rican cuisine, including the popular gallo pinto, which is a mix of rice and black beans from the night before, mixed with onions, bell peppers, cilantro and the famous Salsa Lizano. Some of the main courses typically served in the village represent the agricultural heritage of the region and include rice, beans, corn and yucca, a tropical vegetable.

While the town itself is quite small, there is a restaurant and convenience store available to residents and visitors, so that anyone can go out for a traditional meal, or get the ingredients to make some Costa Rican cuisine on their own.


Though the village is small, there are several popular attractions located nearby, including the Rio Bonito, a quiet river that is a perfect place to swim and get some rest. This is a great family-friendly activity that allows you to get outdoors, enjoy the natural beauty of Costa Rica, and disconnect from the rest of world – all without having to do too much planning or prep work. Just grab your bathing suits and sunscreen and head out.

While you’re in the area, visit the 55 hectare nature reserve located on the banks of Rio Bonito. This land was purchased by the Environmental Agency of Latin America in 2007, 2010, and 2011 for restoration and reforestation.

Piedras Blancas National Park, which is home to one of the most abundantly diverse flora and fauna populations in the entire country, is another popular tourist attraction in the area. This national park is supported by The Association Rainforest of the Austrians, which uses its monetary donations to purchase land that it then donates to the park. The association also hires guards and funds stations for research and ecotourism. Travelers will want to take advantage of the tours offered by the park, as these are a great way to view the country's astounding natural beauty. Another popular activity in La Gamba is horseback riding, as tours on horseback through the village are offered on a regular basis.

Costa Rica Eco-Adventure Tour
12 Days / 11 Nights or 10 Days / 9 Nights
Starting at $2,352 per person
Eco Experience: A Costa Rican Adventure
11 Days / 10 Nights
Starting at $3,874 per person

Where to Stay near La Gamba

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Esquinas Rainforest Lodge
Starting at $310 / person
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Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge
Starting at $440 / night (meals included)
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Playa Cativo Lodge
Starting at $165 / night
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Tiskita Jungle Lodge
Starting at $75 / night
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Cabinas Jimenez
Starting at $60 / night
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Lapa Rios Lodge by Böëna
Starting at $600 / night
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Mavi Surf Hotel
Starting at $140 / night
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La Cusinga Lodge
Starting at $187 / night