Golfo Dulce Retreat, in the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, is located in one of the least explored areas of this beautiful country, sitting on the shores of Golfo Dulce opposite the Osa Peninsula and surrounded by the rainforest of Piedras National Park. With no roads leading to us we are truly off-grid yet reaching us is remarkably simple.
Our meeting point will be either the small town of Golfito, the historic headquarters of the United Fruit Company, or the quaint village of Puerto Jimenez, one of Corcovado National Park's entry points. Whether you decide to get to the south by air or by land, our boat will meet you in either of these towns. From there, you will cross the pristine waters of Golfo Dulce in our boat to get to our ecolodge: this 25-minute boat ride will be just the start of your adventure with us. For your comfort please note that our latest boat transfer is at around 2pm.
The easiest way to get to Golfo Dulce Retreat is by taking a scenic 45-minute flight from San Jose to either Golfito or Puerto Jimenez.
Sansa Airlines, Aerobell Airlines as well as various other private charters such as Aero Caribe CR have several flights a day departing from San Jose. In San Jose, Sansa uses the domestic terminal which is walking distance to the International one (Juan Santa Maria). Sansa is the largest operator of light aircrafts in Costa Rica and importantly also a subsidiary of the much larger AVIANCA Group, itself an international operator of 44 commercial planes and part of the global Star Alliance. It's also good to know that Sansa operates a young fleet of aircrafts: 3 years on average. Aerobell departs instead from the smaller airport of Pavas which is more centrally located in San Jose and about 20 minutes drive from the International Airport of Juan Santa Maria. For a small fee, Aerobell offers a shuttle service to all the surrounding airports in San Jose as well as to Juan Santa Maria. Aerobell Airlines is a Costa Rican owned regional airline with 30 years of experience.
If you arrive in Golfito, we will come and pick you up personally at the landing strip for your transfer to our boat. If instead you chose to fly into Puerto Jimenez, we will arrange for a car to pick you up at the landing strip and take you to our boat. Both car journeys to where the boat departs are a few minutes long and the twenty-five minute boat transfer to our beach is... stunning.
As an alternative to flying or driving yourself, there are buses that run from San Jose to Golfito and back. This is by far the cheapest option only costing around US$13. Buses leave from Tracopa bus station San Jose at 7am and take approximately 7 hours to arrive in Golfito where you will be collected and taken to the boat for transfer to our retreat. The buses do not have toilets but do stop several times at roadside services where you can also purchase souvenirs and food. There is often wifi on the bus. This is a great and cheap way of viewing a large amount of the Costa Rican landscape with the road surrounded by banana and palm plantations with a rainforested hilly backdrop.
A far cheaper alternative to flying is to rent a car and drive from the capital San Jose to Golfito or Puerto Jimenez. We always recommend driving to Golfito which is much easier to get to unless you are already on the Osa Peninsula, in which case Puerto Jimenez could be more convenient.
Although prices vary, we often find that renting a car becomes the cheaper alternative when two or more passengers travel together. In terms of rental services we recommend using National or Enterprise which have offices in both San Jose's International Airport as well as the new Marina in Golfito. Also note that while Alamo doesn't have an office in Golfito they will still take back your rental car through the National office (just let us know in advance if you are planning to do this so we can let them know). Depending on how long you are staying it might make sense renting a car in San Jose and returning it in Golfito and viceversa for the return journey. If you instead wish to keep the car and park it in Golfito or Puerto Jimenez we will be happy to help you find a suitable secure parking space in either town.
There are two ways to reach the South from San Jose: either via the scenic coastal road ('Costanera' or Route 34) passing by Jaco, Quepos and all the way south to Dominical and Uvita, or through the Pan-American Highway (Route 2) through the Cerro de la Muerte - its highest point at 11,500 feet. The roads all the way to Golfito are remarkably good and the drive will take less than 5 hours using the costal route or 7 hours if you drive through the mountains. If instead you chose to drive to Puerto Jimenez, the last stretch of road through the Osa Peninsula is a bit rougher and you will be adding around 30 minutes to the journey.
We recommend you always drive in daylight as there are no road lights away from villages and towns. Also make sure you stop at one of the many road-side ‘sodas’ (small restaurants) for a refreshment and a bite to eat. Finally please keep in mind that for your comfort our latest boat transfer from Golfito or Puerto Jimenez is at around 2pm.