Costa Rica
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Costa Rica
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Banana City

Golfito has a relatively young history that goes back to the early 40 's. Until the signing of the United Fruit Company in 1938 was the quiet bay surrounded by mountainous jungle , actually uninhabited.


The site was chosen to build a port and the administrative headquarters of banana Company for the right conditions .


There were significant changes in 1939 and in subsequent years with the construction of port , rail and settlements so that the foundations for this " Banana City " laid .


Banana production in Costa Rica began in the late nineteenth century, after the construction of the railway to the Atlantic . Limon was the first province of the docked under the monopoly of the UFC banana plantations.


As the land became scarce and the banana Panama disease and Sigatoka production in the 20s to 30s was plummeting . However, the main interest of the monopolies was the Pacific to expand production in order to create market access on the west coast of the U.S. and profitable to conquer .


After the contract was signed in 1930 , began four years later in the area around Quepos already production. After the signing , in 1938 , expanded production in the so-called Pacifico Sur with headquarters in Golfito .


Golfito was born with the activity of the banana company in the South Pacific region . Because of the ideal conditions of a natural harbor and strategic location ( proximity to the banana plantations in Panama), here is the site of administration and workshop was built.


Under the agreement, the Company had within 5 years , complete the docks, docks, lighthouses and buoys. These were then operated by the Company and administered during the term of the contract . The Company, the area with the rail network, Harbor and the entire infrastructure undertook to develop .


The company planned and designed an urban , spatial distribution was adapted to the topography, with leveled terraces and one running parallel to the coast road.


This contrasts with the urban grid pattern that is predominantly found in the rest of the country. The signed contract had a term of 50 years and ended in 1988 , but left the company due to strikes to wage demands and social improvements the area already in 1984.




The design of the different designs for the construction of the administrative buildings, houses for the workers who stepped in for farm workers , office workers , administrative staff and employees in higher positions was planned at the headquarters of company in the USA.


So were in the " Zona Americana " as it was called later, the widely spaced houses with large green areas and tropical gardens after the fashion of other UFC cities: created ( UFC United Fruit Company). The streets were paved and designed curvy . The houses were built in the British colonial style , white and painted in pale tones to really easily recognizable , as UFC villas.


The selected area was only mountainous terrain with dense rainforest, where , at this time , only three families lived in the protected Gulf . The site had to be blown up , filled and leveled to make way for the resulting houses of the city .


At the same time, the railway line was built to the plantations , the port of loading and the workshops . During the construction of the necessary buildings , straw huts and simple wooden structures, where the respective construction workers were housed in groups sprang up along the railroad.


In July 1941, Golfito qualified as a recognized trading port. In the same year the railroad was Golfito, Palmar with a length of 87.7km , resume operation . For the activities of construction and for the plantations of thousands of workers flocked from all corners of the country and foreigners , especially Nicaraguans in the south. 1950 lived approximately 4500 inhabitants in the canton of Golfito , 98 % immigrants.


Of course the main goal as quickly as possible to export bananas. The temporary dwellings of the workers were soon replaced by purposeful barracks which was called "gray zone" . The offices and workshops were established in the course of development , as required quickly . Many building materials of the Company came from Puerto Castilla , Honduras. There, the infrastructure was demolished at the same time , because the plantations were destroyed by the " Panama disease " . Especially steel structures, railroad tracks , as well as machines found their way to Golfito.


Also came much timber especially " Pino negro" from Honduras . Also was crafted wood from Alabama, which was suitable for the harsh tropical conditions .


Golfito was divided from the outset into three clearly defined neighborhoods that were built synchronously. The homes featured in spite of the large differences in size, distribution and services provided through two-story wooden structures with zinc roof. The population density in these three sectors was extremely different.


In the working-class neighborhood , called gray zone , the small houses were divided into two units with sparse greenery.


In the ' Zona Americana "where professionals and managers lived harmoniously arranged buildings marked with extensive landscaping with manicured gardens the scene. Although there are no exact data , it can be said that the construction work was completed in 1945 in the zona zona amarilla blanca and for the most part . Some later built houses , which had planned the company , the city did not change significantly .


The gray zone had the most changes at this time, reason was to send a minimum of improving the quality of life and social improvements to the workers .


Subsequently a few characteristics about these 3 zones of the "Banana City"


Today also called Zona Americana Barrio Alameda , the white zone was named after the color of the houses. It was inhabited by senior executives of the Company, mostly Americans. In this area the houses are bigger, the first floor there are 3 large bedrooms , kitchen, dining room and a hallway with 2 inputs . On the ground floor there is a staff room , laundry room and garage space . Characteristic of this generously designed wooden houses, many protected windows with Gage , free and green spaces have been entertained by the company, which is also true for the maintenance of the houses. Notably, there were no fences between the individual plots.


So there was very strong contrasts between the three zones of the " Banning City" led to the early small friction and discontent among the banana workers. The design of the " Zona Americana " from Golfito are proof of the dichotomy between the " Zona Amarilla " with their tropical luxuriance which is sufficient to stifling heat in the " Zona Gris " the working-class neighborhood of the banana workers . To the exclusive use of amenities and of course the white zone were also swimming pools with open spaces for picnics, golf, cinema and clubs for social activities for employees. Also belonged to a type of shopping center . Not in the white zone resident population required a permit to be able to shop there.


Zona amarilla named after the yellow houses , and later Barrio Parroquial baptized , because here , run by Franciscan Catholic Church had its influence . Here was also the hospital , the office building of the Company and some workshops that were required in connection with the operation of the hospital , such as laundry, carpentry and orthopedic workshop . Access to the yellow zone was also strictly limited. For access or to visit the hospital , a special permit was required , which was monitored at the guard house at the entrance. These restrictions were abolished intervention of the Government of Costa Rica and the creation of a high school on the north end of the city at the end of 50 years.


Zona gris Also this zone is named after the color of the houses and was across from the harbor with its workshops . In this later also called the district " Barrio Bellavista " , there was the Latino club for dances , social gatherings and celebrations for the workers, in addition to a soccer field and a shop " Comisariato " called . Here also the barracks for singles were in 6, 8, and 12- dorms . There was a common kitchen. The battery- shaped toilets were each applied behind this barracks. In many cases families were housed in these barracks , because too few houses were available.


The stream was only enough for a few light bulbs. The green areas and public places were very limited in contrast to the white zone. Were accordingly also the living space for the family settled here quite small, they just met the minimum requirements for living. So it was with wages and social care of the plantation workers .


The bad housing situation then changed in then 60's , after the union prevailed with some requirements to improve the situation. The barracks were transformed gradually into homes for single . It also emerged the so-called twin houses that were designed for two families. This had two small bedrooms upstairs , while the kitchen and bathroom and the laundry room was in the basement. However, the green areas decreased significantly by these modifications again.


At the same time, more houses were built at 1 km , this district was called then " Bolsa " . These houses were built in the style of the gray zone and were mostly inhabited by the workers at the port and the workshops.


Only here more green spaces between the buildings have been reduced to create greater density of housing .


The General must be said that the banana Company interest had to make the banana City harmonious but with little success . During the almost 50 years that the Company was the owner of this city , the newer building was taken to fit the same style.


Despite the great contrasts and the way of life in the individual zones , the style fit very well with a lot of wood in the scenic area of Golfito.


As the sole owner of the Company had the power to plan and design of the urban landscape. The maintenance of the buildings and streets, as well as the maintenance work of the many gardens were performed by the Company . This also affects the maintenance and renewal work on the houses in the gray zone.


Throughout the period of the Company everything was kept in very good condition . After Company left in 1985 , the area fell into an extreme economic crisis.


So it came to the construction of the free trade zone Golfito , which should liven up the area again . Built in the beautiful style Company houses and buildings that were now now abandoned for a long time to decay in the hands of various owners . Attachments of concrete, bars on the windows and the fencing of the land changed the image of Golfito.


In recent years , however, increasingly we see the renovations to highlight the beautiful architecture of the Company .


Pueblo Civil : The birth and the concomitant growth of the ' Banana City " Pueblo Civil Golfito is closely related with the development and expansion of the Banana Company.


With the increasing expansion of the UFC ( United Fruit Company), more and more skilled labor and services for the Company employees were needed. Mentioned here are just a few , such as tailors, shoemakers , merchants, cooks, waiters , small traders , and more.


It had a separate sector for services and recreation to be created which was capable of the daily requirement of essential goods and services, and leisure activities of Company employees and workers fully covered.


The ever increasing number of workers and employees and thus inevitably linked influx of service personnel thus making the creation of a new district with necessary infrastructure .


El " Civil Pueblo " was born in 1940. In the early days of its inception, the " Pueblo Civil" was a separate self-contained community without close ties to Banana Company.


The foundation but was left to unfold in the beginning. Houses were built as needed and without control and demolished . Apartments were rented and sublet , small plots of land offered for sale , sold and resold .


For the emergence of the " Pueblo Civil" there was no urban planning and no planning for infrastructure , such as drinking water and sanitation . The " Pueblo Civil" was featured in the beginning by a constant coming and going of immigrants who came from either Nicaragua or Panama from the Atlantic coast .


It can thus be said that the " Pueblo Civil" arose from the necessity forced out of nowhere. In August 1940 , a check for the development of the district was due to the need to introduce , by the provincial government control and the strict enforcement of the Decree No. 133 of 22 July 1938 found .


The decree included the legalization of the establishment of a service zone with the making available of land of the State about 2 kilometers outside the " Zona Bananeraā€¯. The terrain consisted of 100 acres and could be leased or purchased by the drawn immigrants. The Decree also the basis for the legalization of the installation of a drinking water supply was laid. But the guidelines set out in this Decree points left to be desired due to incompetence left .


1944 type housing association was founded with the aim to solve the still prevailing housing shortage and to get the "wild and uncontrolled construction " of residential facilities in the handle, but with only moderate success .


A short time later 2 packages were of investments to a visible improvement of the housing situation , not only to achieve the " Pueblo Civil" but in all of Golfito with the help of the central government , the UFC and the local provincial government .


Previous solutions on a " hosting company " and other variants solution had failed and again characterized by corruption and land speculation . Thus, success in the early years of the founding of the neighborhood were lean , but with the pioneering spirit of its new residents and a lot of initiative was piece by piece, the design of the " Pueblo Civil" advanced.


The most important thing in making this housing program , to eliminate the slum character from " Pueblo Civil" . Those who managed in the service of the "gray zone " (the name of a district of Golfito , under the leadership of the UFC ) to gain a foothold , were often expelled from the "gray zone " again and had to return to the " Pueblo Civil" .


There were not many alternatives , except give up and move to another area or start the business outside of the UFC zone again. Despite the enormous demand for services, the UFC did not allow the establishment of Chapman and craftsmen in the " Zona Americana " .


This problem was actually an administrative problem . Turf wars , financial and coordination problems , lack of resources and not least the acute housing shortage and the lack of public and commercial buildings just to name a few, were stumbling blocks between the respective leaders , such as city council , provincial government and the executive branch of the UFC . In an effort was set in 1948 by the City Council with financial support from Golfito and materials of the UFC as well as the support of the central government , a general renovation and construction of the " Pueblo Civil" .


This included the installation of a drinking and wastewater utility , the straightening of the rows of houses , road construction and repair , electrical installation, the construction of several boat landings , and sewage systems.


At this time, the housing shortage in Golfito was already alarming. And again bureaucratic hurdles for the only moderate success were responsible . In the enforcement of all these mentioned activities , you have to admit a big improvement in the living conditions in the " Pueblo Civil" represented , the housing was going to suffer . 1951-52 was on the initiative of the residents of the " Pueblo Civil" , the local church , conducted lotteries, the city council , as well as smaller companies achieved further improvements in the " Pueblo Civil" .


With time, more and more houses were built and repaired and altered the appearance of the " Pueblo Civil" , but without having to alleviate the general housing shortage in Golfito significant. That happened with the creation of two additional living quarters in 1958 , one at the north end of Golfito behind the " Zona Americana " , in the same breath with the construction of a high school , after the UFC 's restrictions on their territory to protest the government of Costa Rica finally gave up and a second residential area 2 km southwards from the " Civil Pueblo " .


Now in the " Pueblo Civil" primarily commercial establishments bars restaurants and service facilities. Since 2010, more and more the characteristic wooden buildings disappear and are replaced by modern concrete structures , mostly from private initiative . Lack of money and prevent corruption here is still a modernization of the infrastructure and the entire building structure of Golfito.