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Steep slopes and lush jungle surround the port town of Golfito in southern Costa Rica, a destination which once enjoyed huge success as the hub of fruit export in Costa Rica – but tourism and sport fishing have since taken over as the town's main industries, and many visitors come here for a chance to see the local wildlife in the area's tropical forest.
There's tons to see in and around Golfito, especially when it comes to the natural beauty that surrounds it – this is Costa Rica's only urban centre which lies within a protected area, so it shares its space with a great variety of animals and plants. The biggest draw to the area is sport fishing, as the surrounding waters teem with sailfish and crested roosterfish – but there's also a range of other things to do during your time here:
The beaches of Pilon, Pavones and Playa Zancudo are some of the finest in Costa Rica, and the large waves here attract a large number of surfers to the region. If you're looking for a great beach to relax on, you may well want to make straight for the wide, soft-sand expanse of Playa Zancudo – where forested hills stretch out as far as the eye can see from the peaceful, secluded shore.
Golfito Wildlife Refuge
Take an adventure deep into tropical rainforest with a sightseeing tour of the port's local wildlife refuge – home to bright green tree frogs, toucans and spider, capuchin and squirrel monkeys. The forests here hide bats, anteaters and bright tropical birds, and at the animal refuge itself you'll find a trained parrot and a number of rescue animals.
Piedras Blancas National Park
Although the national parkland of Corcovado across the peninsula is the more popular attraction with tourists, there's just as much variety of wildlife to be spotted around Piedras Blancas. Here you'll find wild macaws, boar-like peccaries, several species of monkey and countless kinds of lizards and insects in the rich forest – and waters filled with tropical amphibians. Since Piedras Blancas isn't as busy with tourists as Corcovado, you could well stand a better chance of finding peaceful seclusion here – and you may even have more opportunities to spot the local wildlife because of it.
Golfito is home to Costa Rica's duty-free shopping, making it the perfect place to find a discount. Much of the area's shops can be found in and around the dedicated shopping centre district, where you'll find people browsing the stores day and night in search of a bargain.
Visitors will find a wealth of varied places to eat and drink around Golfito, and the popularity of the sport fishing here has led to a number of more American-style bars and places to eat, in addition to the steak, seafood and plantain sides which feature in the area's traditional Tico fare.
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