Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

Tour Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

Costa Rica
Photo credit
Simon Dannhauer
Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge
,
Costa Rica

Tucked away in the southeastern corner of Costa Rica, close to the border with Panama, Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is an unsung hero of conservation and biodiversity. Covering both land and sea, this protected area serves as a haven for a remarkable range of ecosystems, from tropical rainforests and mangroves to coral reefs and seagrass beds.

One of the most distinctive features of the refuge is its coastline. The beaches here, particularly Gandoca Beach, serve as vital nesting sites for several species of sea turtles, including leatherbacks, green turtles, and hawksbills. During nesting season, guided night tours offer the incredible opportunity to witness these ancient creatures complete their arduous journey to lay eggs.

Inland, the refuge boasts a rich tapestry of flora and fauna. The dense rainforests are a sanctuary for numerous species of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. From howler monkeys and three-toed sloths to the red-eyed tree frog and poison dart frogs, the range of wildlife is astonishing. Birdwatchers will find themselves in paradise, with more than 360 bird species having been identified in the area.

The underwater world is equally enchanting. The coral reefs of the refuge are among the most pristine in Costa Rica. Snorkeling or diving here reveals a dazzling array of marine life, such as colorful parrotfish, angelfish, and even the occasional reef shark or stingray.

Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the refuge through its network of trails, some of which traverse both beachfront and forest. Kayaking through the serene waters of the Gandoca Lagoon offers another perspective of the area's diverse ecology, especially the mangrove forests that serve as nurseries for many fish species.

Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is more than just a protected area; it's a vibrant and dynamic showcase of Mother Nature's finest work. Whether you're trekking through lush forests, watching sea turtles on moonlit beaches, or exploring coral gardens beneath the waves, the refuge offers a holistic and awe-inspiring experience of what makes Costa Rica's ecology so unique and precious.

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Geeky Facts about Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

Fact 1

The reserve covers a 10 km beach strip, a coral reef, 2 swamps and, a 740 acre forest.

Fact 2

About 70% of the southern Caribbean is covered by the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

Fact 3

Over 360 bird species have been identified.

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