Refugio Nacional de Fauna Silvestre Golfito
Refugio Nacional de Fauna Silvestre Golfito information
The small, 28-sq-km reserve encompasses most of the steep hills surrounding Golfito, though it's poorly publicized and easy to miss. It was originally created to protect the town’s watershed, though it also protects a number of rare and interesting plant species. It is home to several cycads, which are ‘living fossils,’ and are regarded as the most primitive of plants. The reserve also attracts a variety of tropical birds, four species of monkey and several small mammals.
There are no facilities for visitors, save a gravel access road and a few poorly maintained trails, but for those who don't have the time or ability to hike in Corcovado, it provides a quick alternative. About 2km south of the center of Golfito, a gravel road heads inland, past a soccer field, and winds 7km up to some radio towers (Las Torres) 486m above sea level. This access road is an excellent option for hiking, as it has very little traffic.
A very steep hiking trail leaves from Golfito, almost opposite the Samoa del Sur hotel. A somewhat strenuous hike (allow about two hours) will bring you out on the road to the radio towers. The trail is easier to find in Golfito than at the top.
Finally, there are several trails off the road to Playa Cacao. Hikers on these routes will be rewarded by waterfalls and views of the gulf. However, the trails are often obscured, so it’s worth asking locally about maps and trail conditions before setting off.