Golfito has long been known to surfers as the gateway to Pavones, just to the south, and to sport fishermen as the year round sport fishing meca. However recently Golfito has become the gateway to Costa Rica’s newest attraction Eco-Lodges, Eco Lodges are all about being a small hotel or lodge that blends into its environment while offering its visitors an opportunity to view its natural surroundings with the least amount of impact to the environment.
The history of Golfito is an interesting one because the conquest of Costa Rica started here in 1519, when the Spaniards arrived from Panama. During colonial times, it was a small, dormant, fishing town few people cared about. Up until 1919, most inhabitants where of Colombian (later Panamanian) origin. The town of Golfito, and surrounding communities, boomed during the banana business years (1935-1985), but it felt victim of its mono-business dependency, when United Brands (formely United Fruit) closed its banana operations, and concentrated only in African oil palm. A major labor strike prompted United Brands to switch completely to palm, which requires subtantially less labor. The city is now slowly recovering partly due to tourism and not bananas. Five years after United Brands’s departure the Costa Rican government opened a Duty Free shopping center in an effort to bring the city back to life. Today Golfito is a popular destination for Tico's (Costa Rican’s) who are looking for a bargain on large appliances and electronics.
The ferry from Puerto Jimenez to Golfito takes about an hour and a half and runs twice daily. Schedule is random and subject to change. Price $2. There are also fast ferries available that can do the trip in about 30 minutes, the cost is $6. As of January 2014, the posted fast ferry schedule is as follows. From Puerto Jimenez to Golfito there are fast ferries at 6am (2 boats), 11:30am, and 2pm. There are return ferries at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, and 3:15pm. The posted phone numbers are 8802-5705, 8756-6460, and 8632-8672. The schedule can change so best to email your accommodations for the most current one. According to locals, the boat leaves early if it is full so it is best to be at the dock early. Also, the bus stop for the dock isn't exactly obvious. You don't want to take the Golfito bus all the way to the last stop (though if you do it's a short $0.50 ride on a local back to the dock). The location of the fast ferry dock in Golfito is approximately 200m SE along route 14 from the Escuela San Francisco [] If you can't find it, ask around, a local should be able to point you in the right direction. The ferries dock at the main pier in Puerto Jimenez NW of the airport.
Eco Lodges are Costa Rica’s logical next step in tourism. For many years Costa Rican’s have been preserving and honoring its forests, oceans, and environment; and nature tourism or Eco Lodges are the answer. Just to the north in Piedras Blancas National Park there are a handful of Eco Lodges popping up. The easiest way to get there is to have the lodge pick you up in Golfito and take you on a beautiful 30 minute boat ride to the lodge where you will be surrounded by nature.
Just to the south at Pavones and across the gulf at Cabo Matapalo surfers have long known of amazing waves that roll in. To get to Pavones you can either fly into Golfito Domestic Airport or drive to Golfito and continue south about one to one and a half hours.
Tricopa runs two buses a day to San José (5800 colones). They depart at 5:00 and 13:30.