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Boat tour on the Gandoca Lagoon. Photo by Doug Dosdall

Close to Nature

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The Panama border is just down the beach from Gandoca making this small village the southermost outpost on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast. Gandoca is most popular during turtle nesting season (March to June) as a place to see giant leatherback and other turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. But Gandoca can be visited year round for a quiet vacation close to nature.

Gandoca cannot be reached from the coastal road, which ends at Manzanillo, but instead you must drive the inland highway almost to Sixaola at the Panama border then drive about 11 km through banana plantations to reach the coast. There is no public transport to Gandoca but you could take a bus to Sixaola then arrange a taxi (about 25 minutes).

Activities in the village include the turtle tours, tours by kayak or boat on the Gandoca lagoon, nature hikes in the Gandoca-Manzanillo wildlife refuge. It would be possible the walk to Punta Mona in about 45 minutes (and from there to Manzanillo in another 1.5-2 hours) along the coastal trail but we recommend using a local guide if you're planning this. This travelogue on Gandoca has some useful info as does this info about volunteering to help turtles preservation projects.

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Hotels

Cabinas Colibri

Family run cabinas
 +506 2754 1057
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Cabinas El Rinconcito

Family run cabinas. Double, triple and quad rooms with private bath and mosquito net. They offer various tours activities in the area such as lagoon boat tours.
  +506 2754 1060
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Canto del Mar Guest House

Guest house and botanical gardens. Clean modern rooms with private bath. Breakfast is included, other meals are available in onsite restaurant.
 +506 8314 3297
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 Average room rate: $60
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Las Orquideas

Cabinas
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Landmarks, Beaches

Gandoca Lagoon

The lagoon is surrounded by dense jungle and offers good nature viewing at the right times of day (best early and late) including caimans and crocodiles, many birds, monkeys and more.
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Restaurants

Soda y Cabinas Kaniki

Restaurant and Cabinas. Serves up basic homemade Caribbean fare and sell snacks and drinks. Cabinas have private baths.
 +506 2754 1071
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 Average room rate: $32
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Tours and Activities

Gandoca Tours

Tourist information office and local tour operator. They promote sustainable tourism with eco-tourism, cultural and adventure activities. Tours includes dolphin watching, snorkeling, sea turtle spawning, mangroves and Laguna Gandoca.
 +506 8762 8848
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Additional comments from our visitors about Gandoca

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