Beyond the community of Punta Mona, the characteristically irregular beach turns into coast that curves and then opens up and extends in a more regular fashion until it reaches Gandoca. Here the beach has grey sand and strong waves. From Gandoca towards the south, the beach elongates until it reaches the mounth of the Sixaola River which is the border with Panamá. This last stretch of coast has around 8 kilometers and is very appropriate for walking or for observing the rich biodiversity of its ecosystems. Gandoca is also ideal for observing the leatherback turtle nesting from April to August. It takes around three hours to walk from Gandoca to Manzanillo.
A walk inside the reserve
The further you walk into the forest the more amazed you will be by the exotic vegetation. The trees are covered in moss, lichens, bromeliads, orchids and other plants that fall from the branches of the giant trees, forming incredible living waterfalls. You will be able to see several species of birds, among the 384 that there is in the reserve, such as the humming bird, owls, mosqueros, toucans, tangaras, and sparrow hawks among others. You will also be able to see monkeys, such as the white faced and the Congo, sloths, iguanas, snakes and poisonous frogs as well as an innumerable amount of species of animals on the excursion. You will also be able to learn about the medicinal plants and natural history of this paradise, you will also have the opportunity to share interesting aspects about our country as well as afro Carribean customs.
A walk to Punta Mona
Returning by boat. The more you walk along the coast the more you will be able to discover the scenic beauty of the Carribean, seeing incredible fossil corals that form shelves up to 60 meters high and in their cores they have spectacular caverns and hide paradise beaches.
Excursion to the Gandoca Lagoon
Leaving from the coast of Manzanillo, in a spectacular trip towards the lagoon of Gandoca, where you will have the opportunity to experience the scenic coastal beauty of the Carribean coast. After 25 minutes by boat you will reach the richest wetlands in the area. The wetlands of Gandoca and Manzanillo-Punta Mona have been declared of international importance especially for the affects of the agreement (RAMSAR), and constitute one of the last shelters for an extraordinary but threatened genetic and environmental richness. Once there and after a brief explanation about how to steer a kayak, you will begin your 2 and a half hour trip via the exuberant sunken mangrove forests, where you will have the opportunity to see river turtles, basilisk, iguanas, caiman and birds from the area such as the fisher martín, garza tigresa, garza real, fishing eagles and many other surprising things.
Thanks to the rich biodiversity, specialized guides will be able to observe birds, point them out, imitate their sounds and share their knowledge about each one of the different species in the area, you can guarantee that this is one of the best places to bird watch in the country; of the 854 different species of birds that can be found in Costa Rica, only in the area of the refuge 384 have been found. Some of them are: the red headed Saltarín, crested eagle owl, Aztec parakeet, colored dove, red titira, tucancillo collarejo, batará plomizo, and the rainbow billed toucan, swainson toucan (black toucan), rabihorcado magno, the common black sparrow hawk, and sargento and bolsero capuchinegro among others.
After boarding one of the boats, you will have the opportunity to travel along the Carribean coast with exuberant vegetation, cliffs, white sandy beaches and a crystal ocean; As well as feeling the refreshing breeze that is characteristic of the Carribean. The experienced Captains will look for a strategic place, approximately 4 Km to the south, close to the beaches of Punta Mona and Gandoca. Gandoca Manzanillo, Refuge for Forest Wildlife has an extension of 4.436 hectares of protected marina that is home to three different species of dolphins: Tucuxi, bottle nose and the Atlanic spotted.
Horse back Excursions
We invite you to come on a horseback ride along the tropical rainforest or the spectacular beaches. This incredible adventure will give you a new perspective on the environment and the unique atmosphere that is characteristic to the area of Talamanqueña. You can decide if you want to horse ride with or without a specialized guide.
From very early on in the morning, you will navigate a boat to the southern border, towards the Río Sixaola, that creates a division in between Costa Rica and Panamá. Then you will take an emotional trip along an exuberant and evergreen tropical humid forest, you will arrive at the impressive sandbank. Once there prepare and grab hold of your line tightly because the Sábalo fish in this area is impressive. The experienced guides not only share their own fishing techniques but will also give you the opportunity to share the Carribean style of life.
You will have the opportunity to take a trip through time and sea the beginning of the birth of the evolution represented in the nesting of these true living fossils, called Baula turtles, the largest sea turtle in the world, reaching dimensions of up to 2 meters long and weighing 650 kilograms. For those that go on the unforgettable night trip to the Gandoca beach, coordinated by the expert guides, who are real lovers of the specimen and show a special perspective about this spectacular experience, observing the mothers in a very important labor and at the same time telling you important information about the natural history of this very important animal, which is in danger of extinction.
Excursion to the Coral Reef
Learn about a totally different world. The extensive fossil reefs, which are over 5.000 years old are habitats for an incredible variety of coral species as well as an enormous variety of colored fish, sea algae and many other living beings from one of the richest eco systems in the world. What to bring: Hiking boots, light and fresh clothes, long trousers, repellent, water and binoculars (optional). Hat, sun block, dark sunglasses, swim suits and water.