Explore the Gandoca Lagoon, walk through the primary Cativo forest reserve, help with a reforestation project, go for a peaceful horse ride.
Get to know this beach community that’s still got that real local flavor. Come enjoy the beaches in the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, check out the swamps and mangroves, trek through the primary Cativo forest, watch a great diversity of wild birds, participate in the turtle watch (Feb-July) in this small community and really get to know a community . Stay in rustic cabins or in local family homes. By visiting Gandoca you will contribute to the local community sustainable development and the Leaterback (Baula) Turtle protection program.
Activities in Gandoca:
Leatherback Turtle Watch (February through July or August)
Get to know this laid back beach community who has fought to protect the leather-back turtle. Learn how volunteers gather data on the turtle nesting population. Your collaboration in this tour is what will protect this amazing creatures for future generations.
See the Wildlife section for more info on Gandoca’s Leatherback turtle watch.
Duration: 7 hours approximately
Cost: $35 per person (transportation to Gandoca is not included in this fee)
The main turtle nesting season in Tortuguero is April-September, and in Gandoca nesting occurring from March to June and hatching in July and August.
Insect repellant is a pesticide and may harm the turtles or their eggs, apply only on the skin, not the clothing, and many hours before your hike, wash hands thoroughly,
Wear dark, long sleeved clothes.
Boat Tour to the Laguna
Along with your local guide, you can row a rustic boat through the peaceful waters of the Gandoca Laguna; the only coastal lagoon on our coast and the least-altered mangrove forest in Costa Rica! Here we have the opportunity to see three kinds of monkey, sloths, and birds, colorful crabs and if you are lucky a caiman or a crocodile
Duration: 3 hours
Included: Boat Tour through The Gandoca Laguna and local guide.
Mount up! Horseback along the Gandoca beach; we will go throw a path to the mountain where we will find many species of mammals, plants and birds. We will have a break in the beach and then we will come back home.
Included: Horse tour, snack, and local guide.
Duration: 2 hours
Hike to Manzanillo
We will start from Gandoca at 6 or 7 in the early morning. Here in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge we’ll traipse across the tranquil sand beaches through primary and secondary forests, and observing the vibrant coral reefs. This marriage of differing coastal traits makes the perfect habitat for a huge variety of exotic birds, tropical mammals, & large and small reptiles along with countless plants & flowers, return to Gandoca by boat
Cativo Forest Tour
A local guide will take us through the primary forest, which is the biggest Cativo tree reserve in Costa Rica. The Cativo is a very important species for the local environment as it supplies food for several mammals. During our walk we may see poisonous frogs, monkeys and several wild bird-species. Then we will have a delicious lunch in the community.
Included: Cativo forest tour, snack and local guide.
$35 with homemade lunch.
Lodging and Meals
Gandoca is a pretty remote community. We recommend you spend a night or two and really enjoy all it has to offer.
Cost: There is a $60 inscription fee and then $30 a day includes three meals and lodging in clean rustic family-owned cabinas.
Conservation, reforestation, aqueduct construction, school, or with Leatherback turtles from March to July Minimum 7 days.
The community offers the opportunity to collaborate as a volunteer doing conservation and reforestation work, cooperate in the aqueduct construction, volunteer in a local school, English lessons, etc…
Cost: There are some fees, they vary.
Volunteer with the Leatherback Turtle (March – July)
Come to visit us and experience the satisfaction of contributing to the protection of the Baula (leatherback) turtle, the biggest sea turtle in the sea. The leatherback is in danger of extinction as are all sea turtles. You will be hosted by local families and go for night walks to meet the Baula. You will get to see the egg-laying process and protect the eggs while being nested. It is definitively an exceptional experience that will introduce you to the importance of the species and its natural history.