Gandoca - Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

Gandoca - Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

Gandoca - Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge
4.5
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Monday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Tuesday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Wednesday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Thursday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Friday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Saturday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles213 reviews
Excellent
159
Very good
27
Average
11
Poor
7
Terrible
9

Jma660
Ukiha, Japan33 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023 • Couples
Had a fantastic morning out in the refuge with Florentino Grenald as our guide. He is beyond knowledgeable and made the experience so easy and fun. He’ll cater for any level of “snake fear”, he’ll also help you get more comfortable in the jungle generally. Plus he gives you rubber boots, which are heaven sent given the mud. The walk was four hours and was 90% off the usual tourist trail. As other reviews say, he starts in his amazing garden which is arguably the best bit! Give Florentino a call if you have any questions. Everyone in Manzanillo knows him!
Written 7 February 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Linda G
1 contribution
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Couples
Only an overnight stay, but it was pleasant. We wished we could have explored more. The hotel had it's own restaurant so we need not go further to have a meal. The food was good and the trianguar location afforded a sea side view while we dined.
Written 25 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kevin C
Charleston, SC3 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2017 • Family
Beautiful beaches and scenery, but I do NOT recommend this park. My wife and I (and our baby) were robbed here today on the main trail by a man wearing a mask and wielding a large (around 5 ft) machete. He forced us to the ground, demanded we not look at him, and took our iPhone, cash (luckily we did not have much), and my rain jacket. He instructed us to continue walking on the trail deeper into the jungle, not allowing us to travel back on the path toward Manzanillo. After he let us go, we got lost trying to find our way back a different route and ended up in a clearing with a small wooden house, which we later learned is likely linked to the perpetrator. If you encounter this house, DO NOT APPROACH IT. We finally found a path back to town and let the police know. They did a search, but did not find anyone. We later went to the police station and gave a full report (this is the only way it would really go on record).

We want everyone to know that this is not an isolated incident, but a reoccurring pattern in this park -- although we were not harmed, we easily could have been. We cannot understand how the authorities continue to allow people to use the park without any warning whatsoever of this dangerous pattern of armed robbery.

If you have had a similar encounter, please let the police know and give a full report at the station -- this is the only way to build evidence for the case.
Written 14 December 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

christina h
Montreal, Canada3 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2013 • Couples
I am not here to scare you but to warn you...My boyfriend Dave and I were in the reserve at Gandoca-Manzanillo on the 8th of October 2013 taking a hike ...we did the trail that lead us to Punta Mona...on our return we had been robbed at gunpoint by one individual 28-30yr old male, 5'11" in height covering his head and partially his face with a t-shirt...he fired a shot next to Dave's foot and then put the gun right to his head...he took our backpack and camera....worse yet,10min later we saw a young couple in their twenties and we warned them about the man however they had just freed themselves from him shortly before...they were both tied up by him and she ,sadly,was raped...we only found out that she was raped later by email from the police in Bribri...we hurried out of the reserve and made police reports...please,please don't head out there for a hike on your own ...couples stay clear...be in large groups or don't go at all, it's not worth the trauma...
Written 13 October 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marisa W
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2016 • Couples
My boyfriend and I were hiking in mid-September in broad daylight, not too far away from the water and not very deep into the park. A masked man wielding a machete jumped out from behind a tree and demanded all of our possessions. We gave him everything (phone, wallet, shoes off our feet, etc). He then told us to run but blocked the path back to the beach and the park entrance. So, we to run deeper into the jungle. We managed to escape after 15 terrifying minutes of hiding, while the man was robbing another couple. We hope this gets cleaned up, because the park is truly beautiful and well worth a visit.
Written 14 September 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rob B
Freeland5 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2015 • Couples
My wife and I were visiting Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge for second year in a row when we were robbed at gunpoint by three masked young men.My wife ended up biting the man with the gun as he dropped it my wife managed to throw the gun into the dense brush. They were still able to take a backpack with all our pictures of the last two weeks but most importantly we are alive and to come to find out the gun was load but misfired so please if visiting Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge pay a little extra for a guide as our trust has been broken.(Policia report has been filed)
Written 3 April 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rick
Düsseldorf, Germany127 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2017 • Friends
Went there for a walk with 2 friends and got robbed just a few minutes after the mirador. A criminal with a machete took some cash and phones! Not a very smart guy as I was able to hide some stuff but I wasnt sure if he was gonna swing his machete at me for 40$.

Police arrived after we called them, but of course couldnt find anything. In my opinion they dont care as long as tourists just get robbed. Its a common thing. Even the local people couldnt (in my opinion didnt want to) tell us anything.
Hopefully nobody will get hurt in the future... STAY SAFE!

(Picture taken with my smartphone which I was able to hide)
Written 21 July 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

koolmeesje30
Antwerp, Belgium9 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2016 • Family
My parents and I were visiting Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge this August when we were robbed at gunpoint by two masked young men. They pushed us on the ground and threatened us with a gun and knife. They took most of our belongings (camera, reading glasses, sunglasses, watch,...). My mother still has problems with her back due to be throwing on the ground. We are alive, but psychological marked. So we would like to warn futur tourists to take a guide when you want to walk deeper into the forest or make sure to stay at places where there are a lot of people.
Written 3 September 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jaimy N
Valence, France23 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2014 • Couples
Our first day in Puerto Viejo we were recommended to take Abel as our guide while walking through Cahuita National Park, by Shawandha Lodge. He is a great guy with humor and passion for wildlife and nature, and eager to teach. He made us work as he would pick a 'special tree' and we would have to find what made that tree so special. We found Sloths, vipers, racoons, many beautiful birds, emerald lizards, yellow headed gekkos, crabs, white faced monkeys (or maybe they found us). We found a big nest of Leaf-cutting ants and he made us jump up and down to get the Fighter ants out. It was great fun and his teaching made that we were able to find many more hidden animals during the rest of our stay in Costa Rica.

In the evening he took us to Manzanillo beach, to look for turtles lay eggs on the beach. We were so lucky to witness an enormous Leatherback covering her nest of what were about 60-70 eggs. She was huge and beautiful, and this experience is the best of our whole journey. We much appreciated how the patrols and guides love to let you see this moment, but remain very protective about the animals. You only get to see 1 turtle, even if there are more present, and they only use small red lights to not upset the animals. No pictures allowed.
I wouldn't recommend this trip for families with young children. Not allowed to use flashlights makes that you're in complete darkness most of the time. When a turtle is spotted you have to run through the jungle and over the beach, and in our case cross a river, with very little light. We also had a short encounter with a snake that was trying to go the opposite direction. Prepare yourself to be in the jungle without seeing what's beside you, and without proper paths to walk. Protect yourself from sandfleas! If you don't mind all this, witnessing the turtle is absolutely worth it.
Written 16 May 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ShuttreBug
Laguna Beach, CA94 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2011 • Friends
While vacationing in Costa Rica, our hosts at Casitas de Punta Uva recommended that we take a jungle tour with their friend ‘Tino’ who lived near by in Manzanillo. I wasn’t convinced that I’d enjoy walking through a garden path looking at some pretty flowers for an hour or two, but since everyone in the group, a pack of seven ranging from age 17 to 51, were all interested, I reluctantly agreed to go along on the hike.

We met Florentino (Tino) early in the morning in front of Maxi’s at Mananillo where he promptly informed us that we are now on “Caribbean Time”. We began to follow him around the backstreets of Manzanillo as he pointed out various plants, birds and general wild life. He seemed to know something about everything that had leaves, trunks, eyes, wings or legs. However, the true genius of his ways was the way Tino engaged us as he disseminated his knowledge. He asked us to smell, feel and taste as he passed a leaf or a root; he asked questions that made us think. We ate seeds of a fruit that changed our taste buds so that the most sour “Star Fruit” would taste sweet against our tongues. We left the streets of Manzanillo and walked into the jungle reciting what plants are used in foods, perfumes, medicines and how to tell them apart.

As we labored upward a narrow slippery path in thicket of Costa Rican jungle, Tino stopped us for a moment and said in clear resonating voice “Look before you touch!”. He then proceeded to show us, as we followed him deeper into the jungle, 3+ inch spikes protruding from tree trunks that would impale an unfortunate hand, bullet ants that would cause so much pain that you’d consider severing your own limb and the elusive tree viper perfectly disguised and waiting just at your waist level whose venom will render you unconscious in less than four hours. A tree that’s so dense that steel machete simply clangs and bounces off, another that locals used to make canoes and a palm that walks – yes a tree that walks!

If not for Tino, we would be oblivious to the blood-red poison dart frogs, the Jesus Christ lizard that walks on water, the transparent-winged butterfly, truly alien-like waxtail insects, the palm-sized giant millipedes mating in the wild, dozen species of birds, monkeys, sloths so much more.

Tino knew not only the plants and animals, but the jungle and the eco-system that his rainforest feeds and is fed by. I was most impressed by his awareness of the environment from termites to gringos from Montana, his understanding of the Costa Rican conservation law yet humble and understated. One would never guess by his demeanor that he is a sought after lecturer by the likes of Cornel University.

Go walk-about with Tino, you’ll never forget it!

December 2011
ShuttreBug
Written 10 January 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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