Gandoca-Manzanillo (Wildlife Refuge), Costa Rica

The Caribbean Hideaway of Gandoca-Manzanillo

Jungle Trail
substantial coconut grove
lizard lizard
On the way to vacancies
Point of view
An (even more) rich coast
bathing eden
Manzanillo Viewpoint
Rastafarian Territory
Roca Manzanillo
Pochote (pachira quinata)
Manzanillo Coast
surf trio
Tropical Garden of Eden
dark brook
oropendola with young
Style: moth
Roca Manzanillo II
At the bottom of its southeastern coast, on the outskirts of Panama, the “Tica” nation protects a patch of jungle, swamps and the Caribbean Sea. As well as a providential wildlife refuge, Gandoca-Manzanillo is a stunning tropical Eden.

In true fashion on this eastern side of Costa Rica, it rains in buckets almost all night long.

It dawns cloudy and gray. A remaining layer of humidity that, little by little, the tropical sun takes care of dissipating.

With the breaking of light, the Nature bustling and exuberant life that surrounds Puerto Viejo de Talamanca comes into play. We see a squirrel determined to gnaw the hard shell of one of the many coconuts in a heavy bunch and then secure breakfast from there.

Macaws fly high above the jungle, a pair of toucans play hide-and-seek around raffia palms, coconut palms and wild almond trees that make up the territory of two sloths.

By itself, in other parts of the world, the Caribe Town hotel that welcomed us, the garden and the lush surroundings would already guarantee an unbeatable wonder. We were, however, in Costa Rica, of the supposed eco-consciousness and numerous natural parks.

That dawn, in the vicinity of Puerto Viejo, served as a preamble to some of the wildest and most protected stretches and scenarios in the small Central American country. We point to one of them.

The Tropical Path to Manzanillo

A secondary route 256 winds through the dense forest, still soaked, adjusted to the contours of the Caribbean Sea that only, at intervals, allows us to see.

This happens shortly before and shortly after crossing the Cocles River and the beach bathed by its almost unusual mouth. A campaign bridge crosses it on a low and humid stretch on the bend, almost suffocated by vegetation.

Next to Punta Cocles, we also pass by the local Jaguar Rescue Centre, one of several such centres, dedicated to different Central American species that require specific care.

Even a little far from Playa Grande, we know how much the coast rounds out there, on the way to the next ledge, that of Punta Manzanillo.

And since the vastness of trees and curled lianas, extended inland, already belongs to the jungle of Gandoca-Manzanillo, which served as our final destination.

The road leads to Manzanillo.

Pueblo Tico and Something Rastafarian from Manzanillo

Discover an unobstructed waterfront, dotted with coconut trees and served by a few inns and restaurants.

The last one, more dismal, basic, the obvious favorite and frequented by the natives of the village, displays a poster with a dual function.

It welcomes visitors with a multitude of country flags around its edge.

Featured in the centre, images of Bob Marley, fellow Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey, former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie and the lion of Judea, announce Manzanillo Rastafarian territory.

As they are – or strive to be – Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Cahuita e other Caribbean places in Costa Rica.

Local customers watch us pass through the door, almost in slow motion, towards the parking lot, on the way to the jungle and sea trail that takes everyone there.

Once the due registration and monetary contribution have been completed, we begin the route.

The Irresistible Coves Around Punta Manzanillo

First, through an interior coconut grove full of stiff trunks. Soon, leaving it, overlooking a succession of small bays over which the coconut trees on the shore lean.

A few bathers splash around, others flirt.

So surrendered to the verdant beauty of the scenery and to their passions that not even the fins of a few whitetip reef sharks seem to bother them.

We admire the unexpected marine warmth. Aware that, on the way back, we would enjoy it twice as much, we resumed our walk.

The trail takes us to new Tip, to Manzanillo, where an elevated rocky platform serves as a lookout point over a photogenic and, on that day, rough Caribbean Sea.

There, the curious follow one another.

Most are hikers who reward themselves with the stop and the view.

The Waves Idolized by Surfers and Roca Manzanillo

A few are surfers.

They appear holding their boards. They study the renowned waves that, a little below, are ready to surf.

A quasi-islander claims a well-deserved role.

baptized as Roca Manzanillo, breaks the waves pointed at the base of the viewpoint and the sands that surround it.

It also serves as a home for a few cormorants and pelicans.

A hallmark of the Refugio Gandoca-Manzanillo, the view of the rock appears a few more times, from different positions on the trail and its improvised extensions, to spaces, in the form of a hologram, shining beyond the penumbra in which the vegetation keeps us .

Punta Manzanillo Towards the Village of Punta Mona

In the winding up and down trail, we discover new beaches.

A trio of surfers, disappointed with the profile of the waves ahead, abandon one of them.

Continue in the direction of La Cueva.

We followed them, but for a short time.

The singing of toucans seduces us again.

We got lost in search of eccentric birds without ever getting close enough to photograph them, so we continued.

Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge, surfers

Walkers in bathing suits and bare feet pass by us, on their way between Manzanillo and the hippie towns or, at the very least, alternative life, of Punta Mona and Mile Creek.

The mud made worse by the rain at night makes the successive slopes a punishment that we face with patience and extra care.

After all, we shared the awareness that it is the high rainfall – between 2000 and 3000 mm per year – that makes this area of ​​the South Caribbean so lush and Gandoca-Manzanillo a jungle that we could not face lightly.

A Fauna and Flora that comes to Intimidate

All around, hyperbolic green and black spiders wove huge trap webs.

trees pack (pachira quinata), lined with sharp spikes flanked the muddy ramps.

Over there, any imbalance or distraction would cause serious damage.

Gandoca Manzanillo Refugio, pochote (pachira quinata)

On the edge of a clearing generated by a farm, a family of howler monkeys perched on prickly pear trees observe the clumsiness with which their primate cousins ​​move below.

We admire them when, once again, the singing and flight of exotic birds leads us astray.

This time, a flock of oropendolas (a species of Central American orioles) flit around a colony of their nests hanging from high canopies.

The adults feeding the young, in full support.

Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge, Oropendola with young

We came across a man on horseback who was pointing to Manzanillo.

“The trail further ahead is horrible. Prepare to suffer!” it alerts us, with a smile on the lips of someone who has been as honest as possible.

We go a little further.

We quickly surrendered to the evidence of leaving the visit to Punta Mona for a next opportunity. We had explored a small but crucial part of the refuge.

Beyond Punta Mona, there was still the beach and town of Gandoca, closer to the homonymous river and the north of Panama.

Going Back in the History of this Remote Caribbean and the Foundation of the Refugio Gandoca Manzanillo

The Refugio de Vida Silvestre Gandoca-Manzanillo was created in 1986 in a territory originally inhabited by the Bribri natives of Central America and where, during the XNUMXth century, Afro-descendants from the surrounding British colonies settled, dedicated to fishing and catching game. turtles that have been laying eggs for a long time.

Even if this remote area of ​​Costa Rica has never seen tourism development elsewhere, at a certain point, the worsening capture of turtles, their eggs and even other species, led Costa Rican environmental authorities to dictate the protection of a vast area of ​​jungle, beach and sea, around the prolific offshore coral reefs.

As always happens in these cases, the process proved to be arduous and complex.

The expropriation and removal of most settlements and their inhabitants had to be reversed.

Even more delicate, the fight against poachers and collectors of turtle eggs was carried out with effort and personal damage by rangers and volunteers. One of them paid for his dedication to protecting turtles with his life.

The Rebaptism of the Refuge in Honor of the Martyr Jairo Mora Sandoval

In May 2013, just before midnight, environmentalist Jairo Mora Sandoval (born in Gandoca) and four female colleagues were kidnapped from a beach near Puerto Limón (the capital of the province of Caribe Sur) by a group of masked men. .

Despite being tied up in an abandoned house, the women managed to escape. Jairo suffered a violent beating from which she perished.

In his honor, four months later, the authorities acceded to the request of other environmentalists and renamed the refuge wild life that we traveled from Jairo Mora Sandoval Gandoca-Manzanillo.

Cahuita, Costa Rica

Dreadlocked Costa Rica

Traveling through Central America, we explore a Costa Rican coastline as much as the Caribbean. In Cahuita, Pura Vida is inspired by an eccentric faith in Jah and a maddening devotion to cannabis.
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

The Flooded Costa Rica of Tortuguero

The Caribbean Sea and the basins of several rivers bathe the northeast of the Tica nation, one of the wettest and richest areas in flora and fauna in Central America. Named after the green turtles nest in its black sands, Tortuguero stretches inland for 312 km.2 of stunning aquatic jungle.
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

Tortuguero: From the Flooded Jungle to the Caribbean Sea

After two days of impasse due to torrential rain, we set out to discover the Tortuguero National Park. Channel after channel, we marvel at the natural richness and exuberance of this Costa Rican fluvial marine ecosystem.
PN Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Costa Rica's Little-Big National Park

The reasons for the under 28 are well known national parks Costa Ricans have become the most popular. The fauna and flora of PN Manuel António proliferate in a tiny and eccentric patch of jungle. As if that wasn't enough, it is limited to four of the best typical beaches.
miravalles, Costa Rica

The volcano that Miravalles

At 2023 meters, the Miravalles stands out in northern Costa Rica, high above a range of pairs that includes La Giganta, Tenório, Espiritu Santo, Santa Maria, Rincón de La Vieja and Orosi. Inactive with respect to eruptions, it feeds a prolific geothermal field that warms the lives of Costa Ricans in its shadow.
Caño Negro, Costa Rica

A Life of Angling among the Wildlife

One of the most important wetlands in Costa Rica and the world, Caño Negro dazzles for its exuberant ecosystem. Not only. Remote, isolated by rivers, swamps and poor roads, its inhabitants have found in fishing a means on board to strengthen the bonds of their community.
Montezuma, Costa Rica

Back to the Tropical Arms of Montezuma

It's been 18 years since we were dazzled by this one of Costa Rica's blessed coastlines. Just two months ago, we found him again. As cozy as we had known it.
Monteverde, Costa Rica

The Ecological Refuge the Quakers Bequeathed the World

Disillusioned with the US military propensity, a group of 44 Quakers migrated to Costa Rica, the nation that had abolished the army. Farmers, cattle raisers, became conservationists. They made possible one of the most revered natural strongholds in Central America.
Tortuguero NP, Costa Rica

A Night at the Nursery of Tortuguero

The name of the Tortuguero region has an obvious and ancient reason. Turtles from the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea have long flocked to the black sand beaches of its narrow coastline to spawn. On one of the nights we spent in Tortuguero we watched their frenzied births.
Cahuita, Costa Rica

An Adult Return to Cahuita

During a backpacking tour of Costa Rica in 2003, the Caribbean warmth of Cahuita delights us. In 2021, after 18 years, we return. In addition to an expected, but contained modernization and hispanization of the town, little else had changed.
Corn Islands - Islas del Maíz , Nicaragua

pure caribbean

Perfect tropical settings and genuine local life are the only luxuries available in the so-called Corn Islands or Corn Islands, an archipelago lost in the Central American confines of the Caribbean Sea.
Fogón de Lola Costa Rica

The Flavor of Costa Rica of El Fogón de Lola

As the name suggests, the Fogón de Lola de Guapiles serves dishes prepared on the stove and in the oven, according to Costa Rican family tradition. In particular, Tia Lola's.
Rhinoceros, PN Kaziranga, Assam, India
PN Kaziranga, India

The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

Situated in the state of Assam, south of the great Brahmaputra river, PN Kaziranga occupies a vast area of ​​alluvial swamp. Two-thirds of the rhinocerus unicornis around the world, there are around 100 tigers, 1200 elephants and many other animals. Pressured by human proximity and the inevitable poaching, this precious park has not been able to protect itself from the hyperbolic floods of the monsoons and from some controversies.
Thorong Pedi to High Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal, Lone Walker
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 12th - Thorong Phedi a High camp

The Prelude to the Supreme Crossing

This section of the Annapurna Circuit is only 1km away, but in less than two hours it takes you from 4450m to 4850m and to the entrance to the great canyon. Sleeping in High Camp is a test of resistance to Mountain Evil that not everyone passes.
holy plain, Bagan, Myanmar
Architecture & Design
Bagan, Myanmar

The Plain of Pagodas, Temples and other Heavenly Redemptions

Burmese religiosity has always been based on a commitment to redemption. In Bagan, wealthy and fearful believers continue to erect pagodas in hopes of winning the benevolence of the gods.
Full Dog Mushing
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.
Miyajima Island, Shinto and Buddhism, Japan, Gateway to a Holy Island
Ceremonies and Festivities
Miyajima, Japan

Shintoism and Buddhism with the Tide

Visitors to the Tori of Itsukushima admire one of the three most revered scenery in Japan. On the island of Miyajima, Japanese religiosity blends with Nature and is renewed with the flow of the Seto Inland Sea.
Candia, Tooth of Buddha, Ceylon, lake
Kandy, Sri Lanka

The Dental Root of Sinhalese Buddhism

Located in the mountainous heart of Sri Lanka, at the end of the XNUMXth century, Kandy became the capital of the last kingdom of old Ceylon and resisted successive colonial conquest attempts. The city also preserved and exhibited a sacred tooth of the Buddha and, thus, became Ceylon's Buddhist center.
Beverage Machines, Japan

The Beverage Machines Empire

There are more than 5 million ultra-tech light boxes spread across the country and many more exuberant cans and bottles of appealing drinks. The Japanese have long since stopped resisting them.
Women with long hair from Huang Luo, Guangxi, China
Longsheng, China

Huang Luo: the Chinese Village of the Longest Hairs

In a multi-ethnic region covered with terraced rice paddies, the women of Huang Luo have surrendered to the same hairy obsession. They let the longest hair in the world grow, years on end, to an average length of 170 to 200 cm. Oddly enough, to keep them beautiful and shiny, they only use water and rice.

Man: an Ever Tested Species

It's in our genes. For the pleasure of participating, for titles, honor or money, competitions give meaning to the world. Some are more eccentric than others.
Alaska, by Homer in Search of Whittier
Homer a Whittier, Alaska

In Search of the Stealth Whittier

We leave Homer in search of Whittier, a refuge built in World War II and housing two hundred or so people, almost all in a single building.
Resident of Dali, Yunnan, China
Dali, China

The Surrealist China of Dali

Embedded in a magical lakeside setting, the ancient capital of the Bai people has remained, until some time ago, a refuge for the backpacker community of travelers. The social and economic changes of China they fomented the invasion of Chinese to discover the southwest corner of the nation.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 2)

One Sun, So Many Lights

Most travel photos are taken in sunlight. Sunlight and weather form a capricious interaction. Learn how to predict, detect and use at its best.
Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem, Christian churches, priest with insensate
Holy Sepulcher Basilica, Jerusalem, Israel

The Supreme Temple of the Old Christian Churches

It was built by Emperor Constantine, on the site of Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection and an ancient temple of Venus. In its genesis, a Byzantine work, the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher is, today, shared and disputed by various Christian denominations as the great unifying building of Christianity.
Singapore, Success and Monotony Island

The Island of Success and Monotony

Accustomed to planning and winning, Singapore seduces and recruits ambitious people from all over the world. At the same time, it seems to bore to death some of its most creative inhabitants.
Oulu Finland, Passage of Time
Winter White
Oulu, Finland

Oulu: an Ode to Winter

Located high in the northeast of the Gulf of Bothnia, Oulu is one of Finland's oldest cities and its northern capital. A mere 220km from the Arctic Circle, even in the coldest months it offers a prodigious outdoor life.
Baie d'Oro, Île des Pins, New Caledonia
Île-des-Pins, New Caledonia

The Island that Leaned against Paradise

In 1964, Katsura Morimura delighted the Japan with a turquoise novel set in Ouvéa. But the neighboring Île-des-Pins has taken over the title "The Nearest Island to Paradise" and thrills its visitors.
Canoe fishermen, Volta River, Ghana
Volta, Ghana

A Tour around Volta

In colonial times, the great African region of the Volta was German, British and French. Today, the area east of this majestic West African river and the lake on which it spreads forms a province of the same name. It is a mountainous, lush and breathtaking corner of Ghana.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Manatee Creek, Florida, United States of America
Natural Parks
Florida Keys, USA

The Caribbean Stepping Stone of the USA

Os United States continental islands seem to close to the south in its capricious peninsula of Florida. Don't stop there. More than a hundred islands of coral, sand and mangroves form an eccentric tropical expanse that has long seduced American vacationers.
Ruins, Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia
UNESCO World Heritage
Discovering Tassie, Part 2 - Hobart to Port Arthur, Australia

An Island Doomed to Crime

The prison complex at Port Arthur has always frightened the British outcasts. 90 years after its closure, a heinous crime committed there forced Tasmania to return to its darkest times.
Visitors to Ernest Hemingway's Home, Key West, Florida, United States
Key West, United States

Hemingway's Caribbean Playground

Effusive as ever, Ernest Hemingway called Key West "the best place I've ever been...". In the tropical depths of the contiguous US, he found evasion and crazy, drunken fun. And the inspiration to write with intensity to match.
Bay Watch cabin, Miami beach, beach, Florida, United States,
Miami beach, USA

The Beach of All Vanities

Few coasts concentrate, at the same time, so much heat and displays of fame, wealth and glory. Located in the extreme southeast of the USA, Miami Beach is accessible via six bridges that connect it to the rest of Florida. It is meager for the number of souls who desire it.
Ulugh Beg, Astronomer, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, A Space Marriage
Samarkand, Uzbekistan

The Astronomer Sultan

The grandson of one of the great conquerors of Central Asia, Ulugh Beg, preferred the sciences. In 1428, he built a space observatory in Samarkand. His studies of the stars led him to name a crater on the Moon.
End of the World Train, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
On Rails
Ushuaia, Argentina

Last Station: End of the World

Until 1947, the Tren del Fin del Mundo made countless trips for the inmates of the Ushuaia prison to cut firewood. Today, passengers are different, but no other train goes further south.
Pachinko Salon, Video Addiction, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

Pachinko: The Video Addiction That Depresses Japan

It started as a toy, but the Japanese appetite for profit quickly turned pachinko into a national obsession. Today, there are 30 million Japanese surrendered to these alienating gaming machines.
Busy intersection of Tokyo, Japan
Daily life
Tokyo, Japan

The Endless Night of the Rising Sun Capital

Say that Tokyo do not sleep is an understatement. In one of the largest and most sophisticated cities on the face of the Earth, twilight marks only the renewal of the frenetic daily life. And there are millions of souls that either find no place in the sun, or make more sense in the “dark” and obscure turns that follow.
savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions
Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions

A patch of the Kalahari Desert dries up or is irrigated depending on the region's tectonic whims. In Savuti, lions have become used to depending on themselves and prey on the largest animals in the savannah.
Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

Hawaii's Dazzling Wrinkles

Kauai is the greenest and rainiest island in the Hawaiian archipelago. It is also the oldest. As we explore its Napalo Coast by land, sea and air, we are amazed to see how the passage of millennia has only favored it.