Golfo Dulce Cruise Port

Port of Golfo Dulce: An Overview

Far less visited than Peninsula de Osa, the relatively untouched Golfo Dulce port is visited by just a few ships sailing Costa Rica and Panama Canal itineraries each year. However, for passengers who do disembark in this relatively quiet region, it often becomes a favorite stop -- especially for those seeking an experience in the rainforest.

Parque Nacional Piedras Blancas, a jaw-dropping portion of rainforest, is located on the peninsula as are tribes and villages that are home to some of Costa Rica's few remaining indigenous populations. You'll find thick mangroves and quiet golden beaches, and there's a range of activities for cruise passengers to indulge in during the six- to eight-hour stop.

Cruise ship shore excursions vary, with many visiting the Piedras Blancas National Park for yoga and paddleboarding on pristine Paradise Beach; kayaking through the canals and verdant mangroves; or simply boating around the region to spot dolphins. It's the Costa Rica that many overlook in lieu of bigger beaches and larger towns.

Don't Miss

Casa Orquideas Botanical Garden: It's hard to determine the best part of the garden -- the rich and abundant collection of dazzling flowers and plants, or the drive there, which takes you through the lush green and blue rainforests. After a short drive (where the guide will point out indigenous animals, like the curious monkeys), you'll arrive at the garden. Often described as a flower-flanked labyrinth (or a maze that's oddly reminiscent of "Alice in Wonderland"), the weaving paths guide visitors through the garden's 100-plus species of orchids, heliconias, bromeliads and medicinal plant species. The tour takes around two to three hours, and it's strongly advised you bring sturdy walking shoes and a camera. Beyond a meticulously planted garden, you'll likely see some native bird species as well (like the vibrantly colored macaws). If you're lucky, you'll meet the owners, Ron and Trudy McAllister, who opened the beautiful gardens in the 1970s.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Although Costa Rica does boast its own currency, the colon, U.S. dollars are widely accepted (and encouraged). Check www.xe.com for current exchange rates if you're using the local currency. There are a few banks and ATMS in the town of Puerto Jimenez. However, depending on the tour you decide to take from your boat, you may not stop in the town, so it's advised to bring enough cash with you before you depart your cruise ship.

Language

As a part of Costa Rica, the main language of Golfo Dulce is Spanish. English is also widely spoken and understood. However, it's advised to learn a few key words and phrases in the off chance you are separated from your group or are traveling alone.

For More Information

On the Web: Golfo Dulce

Cruise Critic Message Boards: Costa Rica

IndependentTraveler.com: Costa Rica

--By Claire Gallam, Cruise Critic contributor

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