Flora & Fauna Golfito, Costa Rica
The small primary and secondary forest area ( 1300 hectares) surrounding Golfito was established originally to protect the watersheds around the community.
The mountainous green backdrops envelope the bay in steep mountains which protect the city. Here exist some 200 species of trees and shrubs including many very rare and interesting.
The Caryodaphnopsis burgeri, an Asian plant otherwise known in Central America as the “Zamia” is a rare Palm fern. This species is a living fossil and is amongst the most primitive plants on earth. The Zamia is known by her enormous, conical petals, which grow from the middle of the plant. It has an appearance similar to that of a dwarf palm.
Other plants of interest include the numerous Heliconias, orchids, tree ferns and tropical trees such as the Kobal, the Kapok, the Butter Walnut, Purpleheart and the Cow’s Tree - named after the substantial amounts of drinkable white latex which it produces.
The vegetation attracts a numerous variety of birds such as the red lored parrot, chestnut-mandibled toucan, parakeets, tanagers, trogons, woodpeckers, falcons and hummingbirds. From the mammals you can site peccaries, pakas, raccoons, monkeys, squirrels and coati. There are poison arrow frogs, huge iguanas and countless other reptile and insect curiosities in this protected area.
This protected area surrounding the Golfito harbor can be reached by hiking trails or rock road. It is a rugged wilderness area with heavy annual rainfall creating a very thick, evergreen forest.
Piedras Blancas National Park
The Piedras Blancas National Park is located just outside of Golfito along Costa Rica’s southern Pacific Coast of the Golfo Dulce. Its 34,595 acres (14,000 hectares) were originally privately owned and much of it was deforested for logging and hunting. The creation of the national park in 1993, through the purchase of land by charitable groups, marks a huge victory for conservationists.
The park protects Central America’s largest remaining Pacific Coast rainforest, many rare and endangered plant and animal species, and is a habitat for the increasingly rare jaguar. The Golfito National Wildlife Refuge borders the park to the north, and creates a vital biological corridor with the Osa Peninsula and Corcovado National Park – one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth, as cited by National Geographic.
Within the Piedras Blancas National Park are rugged mountains, tropical forests, numerous waterfalls and stunning beaches. The Esquinas and Piedras Blancas rivers flow steadily into the Golfo Dulce, creating large mangrove estuaries at their confluence filled with abundant life. Kayak and boat tours are a great way to spot wildlife and explore the area. Coral reefs just off the coast in the Gulf provide excellent places to snorkel and swim.