Altitude: 5m, Population:10,900
Golfito sits along the shores of the Golfo Dulce, one of the most important fjords in the world and one of only four fjords in the tropics. This city is a good jumping-off point for trips to Piedras Blancas National Park, nearby beaches such as Playa San Josecito and Playa Cacao, and other touristic and natural destinations in the Osa, including Zancudo and Puerto Jimenez. Itâ€™s not the prettiest city, especially in the center, but walking the pebble beach beside the gulf makes it easy to forget you are in a city at all. Golfito offers plenty of opportunities to escape to nature, if thatâ€™s what youâ€™re looking for, and just as many opportunities to escape to other locales in the Osa.
This region, like its neighbor the Osa Peninsula, was originally inhabited by the indigenous Brunca people. Don Juan de CastaÃ±eda and don HernÃ¡n Ponce de LeÃ³n discovered what is now Golfito in 1519, and Gil GonzÃ¡lez DÃ¡vila also passed through on his land tour of the country three years later. Golfito experienced major economic development when the Costa Rican Banana Company abandoned its plantations on the Caribbean coast in 1934 and moved its operations to this zone. In 1938 the company agreed to construct a port in Golfito, which, when finished in 1941, made this the center of operations as well as Costa Ricaâ€™s principal banana producer. Golfito gained city status in 1963. When the Banana Company left in 1985, it devastated the cityâ€™s economy, leaving many jobless. To solve this crisis, in 1990 the government opened the Deposito Libre â€“ a giant duty free shopping complex â€“ which is still a great source of income for the city. This area also produces rice, cocoa, beans, corn and cattle, and operates a palm oil processing plant, though agriculture has been overshadowed by tourism. In certain parts of town you will see the little clusters of yellow and red houses â€“ relics from the days of the Banana Company that were built to house banana workers.
Other places nearby Golfito: Pavones, Sierpe, Ciudad Neily, Bahia Drake (Drake Bay), Carate, Puerto Jimenez, Zancudo, Parque Nacional Piedras Blancas, Parque Nacional Corcovado and Coco Island National Park.