!LTylo100.jpg (12810 bytes) L  A   D  A  T  C  O     T  O  U  R   S
Custom Designing moto web banner.jpg (9711 bytes)
!!!pacolor100.jpg (14505 bytes)
HOME South America Central America Falkland Islands Antarctica Unique
Destinations
Unique
Experiences
Newsstand e-mail

!!CR Gandoca Manzanillo Park.jpg (16649 bytes) COSTA RICA

Gandoca Manzanillo
Wildlife Refuge

Almonds & Corals Lodge

!!CR Almonds frog.jpg (8668 bytes)

!!CR Almonds sloth.jpg (31096 bytes)

ABOUT GANDOCA MANZANILLO WILDLIFE REFUGE  - in the words of Almonds & Corals Lodge:

Gandoca - Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge: A recent addition to the Costa Rican system of parks and refuges and one of a growing number of protected areas that includes marine environments, this refuge consists of 5,013 ha. in its terrestrial portion and 4,436 ha. of marine habitat. The five-kilometer stretch off the coast from the village of Manzanillo to the area known as Punta Mona (Monkey Point) is populated by more live coral than is found on the reef at Cahuita to the north, however, the Manzanillo corals have not yet developed formations as large as those at Cahuita.

The refuge extends to the Sixaola River, which forms the border with Panama. Several other important habitats are protected in the southeastern sector of the refuge, including a sea turtle nesting beach, an estuary with a large population of red mangrove that serves as a spawning site for Atlantic Tarpon, oysters, and many other marine organisms, and a 400 ha. area of swamp forest in which the most common plant is the Raphia Palm -- a short-trunked palm tree having the distinction of being the plant with the largest leaves in the world, since each frond can reach lengths of 12 m. or more.

The refuge extends to the Sixaola River, which forms the border with Panama. Several other important habitats are protected in the southeastern sector of the refuge, including a sea turtle nesting beach, an estuary with a large population of red mangrove that serves as a spawning site for Atlantic Tarpon, oysters, and many other marine organisms, and a 400 ha. area of swamp forest in which the most common plant is the Raphia Palm -- a short-trunked palm tree having the distinction of being the plant with the largest leaves in the world, since each frond can reach lengths of 12 m. or more.\

Getting there: From Puerto Limón, take the road south towards Cahuita and Bribri, but after Cahuita take the turn off in Hone Creek for Puerto Viejo and follow the dirt road all the way to where it ends in Manzanillo. From Manzanillo you can hike to Punta Mona (min. 5 hrs., round-trip). There are one or two public buses a day that run from Manzanillo to Limón.

The southeastern part of the refuge is reached by driving to Bribri and continuing on to the town of Sixaola where a boat must be hired to go downriver to the mouth (at least 3 hrs., round-trip). An alternative, if you have a 4X4 vehicle or hire a jeep taxi, is to drive through the banana plantations west of Sixaola to get to the settlement of Gandoca. In Gandoca, inquire about hiring a dugout for exploring the Gandoca River estuary. There is direct bus service from San José all the way to Sixaola.

It is probably safe to venture that the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is one of the least visited reserves in the National Park system.

Fishing: Although potential ought to exist in the area with the important estuaries, no industry or facilities have yet been developed.

Climate: Very warm and humid, the driest months are March and April

History: The inclusion of this area in the National Park system is in large part due to the efforts of a group known as ANAI (Asociación de los Nuevos Alquimistas) that has its roots in the New Alchemy Institute in North Carolina. A group of people belonging to this organization have been working in the region for several decades in projects concerning tropical agriculture systems and appropriate technology and saw the need to protect the remaining bits of land still in their natural state.