This tiny village at the end of the road is blessed with white sandy beaches and usually crystal clear waters. If getting away from it all, is the perfect vacation – this is the spot! There’s a couple of restaurants and stores but otherwise this small community is tranquil. The Manzanillo/Gandoca Refuge begins here and includes turtle nesting sites and one of the few remaining places in Costa Rica where manatees are found. The first mile or so is easily walked, although the paths to the clifftops are steep and maybe muddy. To hike though the reserve requires a good level of physical fitness, a guide and at least six hours. It’s a fantastic wildlife trek with lagoons, beach, rainforest and mangrove swamps all along the way. During turtle nesting season, visitors are not permitted to walk along the Gandoca beach without a guide. Nighttime guided tours to see laying turtles are available in Gandoca. Monkey Point or Punta Mona is located down coast from Manzanillo and has been established as a sustainable organic farm for a number of years. Local fishermen will transport visitors there or hike through the reserve with a guide. Five highlights:

  • Seeing a Leatherback turtle laying
  • Scuba dive the coral reefs
  • Eating Snapper with rice and beans
  • Hiking the refuge
  • Enjoying the silence

Getting to Manzanillo: Bus – run every two hours to and from Cahuita. See timetable here INSERT LINK Drive – take Route 36 towards Sixaola until Hone Creek junction, where the large Colono Hardware store is located. Follow the road straight on towards Puerto Viejo and continue through the town and down this road until reaching Manzanillo. The road stops here. Journey time from Cahuita: about an hour Getting to Gandoca: This tiny settlement is accessed by an incredibly potholed road from the turning off Route 36 and isn’t a comfortable ride. Journey time from Cahuita: roughly 2 hours

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