Our Surrounding Forest
Golfo Dulce Retreat sits partly within the Piedras Blancas National Park, which covers 30,000 acres of undisturbed tropical lowland primary rainforest and 5,000 acres of secondary forests, pasture land and rivers. The tropical lowland wet forest is one of the most threatened and least studied types of vegetation. The Piedras Blancas National Park was established in 1992 as an extension of the Corcovado National Park, in the Osa Peninsula, to which it is connected by a forest corridor which ensures biodiversity and self-sustaining ecological and evolutionary processes between wildlife populations.
It is mainly through the effort of small entities that the park has since expanded, as charitable organisations and individuals like us bought many privately-owned areas within and just outside of the park, helping to concentrate efforts to halt the deeply damaging deforestation that was taking place in much of the region.
Piedras Blancas hosts one of the most diverse arrays of wildlife on the planet; our friends at the University of Vienna now believe that its biodiversity is very similar, if not higher, than that found in Corcovado National Park - described by the National Geographic as "the most ecologically intense place on earth."
The year round growth opportunities offered by Golfo Dulce's unique climate of sustained elevated temperature (average 26.6ºC/80ºF) and humidity mean that the flora found in Piedras Blancas is among the richest on the planet. It encompasses several thousand different species of plants including hundreds of tree species, herbs and epiphytes, some very rare and in danger of extinction and with a high level of endemnism. Some of the larger trees to be found in the Park as well as within our property are ceibas, espavels, gallinazos, balsa, guapinol, and many more. The forest is also host to an abundance of lichen and fungi displaying beautiful fruiting bodies. The species diversity of fungi is second only to that of the insects.
The park's fauna is equally as rich. More than 140 species of mammals have been identified, including 5 species of native cats (puma, ocelot, margay, jaguar and jaguarundi), 4 species of monkeys (howler, spider, white-faced capuchin and squirrel) as well as 53 species of bats.
The park is a very important meeting point for birds that come from North and South America. There have been 360 different species of birds identified, making Golfo Dulce Retreat a perfect bird watching destination. Amongst others scarlet macaws, toucans, hummingbirds, great curassows, crested guans, trogons, aracaris, honey creepers, herons, tinamous, woodpeckers, wood creepers, antbirds and manikins can easily been spotted. There are also 100 different types of reptiles and amphibians, including the endemic Golfo Dulce Dart Frog, and thousands of insect species.
With such an amazing variety of life our surrounding rainforest has to offer, it is no surprise that you will most likely encounter several animals in their natural habitat and see some of the most magnificent trees while staying with us at Golfo Dulce Retreat. We have several forest trails departing from our gardens which cater for all levels of fitness and which will let you explore the wonders of both our secondary and primary forest.