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Limón

73 kms from Limón via Cahuita - Puerto Viejo - Manzanillo. The eastern sector can be reached via Limón - Bríbrí - Margarita - Gandoca (106 km).

Nature has prodigiously showered beauty and splendor on the forests, marches, coral reefs, beaches and almost white sands, dottet with coconut trees, that belong to the most remote and exotic site south of the 10th parallel. This is Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge located in the southern Caribbean, a few miles from the border with Panamá. It protects 4,436 hectares of coastal waters, 15 kms of coastline, and 5,013 hectares of lowlands and hills 115 meters above sea level.

The mainland sector is 65% tropical rainforest and the remainder grasslands and second growth. The tiny hamlets of Punta Uva Manzanillo, Punta Mona, and Home Creek form part of the refuge.

The forest of the hills and coastal plains is composed of very tall trees, very thick understoreys and innumerable palm trees, the most significant being the wild palm and mahogany, a species which inspired the Zambo Mosquito Indians to call Cahuita Point, Mahogany Point. The marshes are carpeted with holillo palm, which provides food for tapirs, and the tree species known as sajo. Cahuita National Park is located near Gandoca- Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge protects a variety of wildlife, such as the crocodile, tapir, West indian manatee, cayman, tarpon, magnificent frigatebird, brown pelican, collared aracari, lineated woodpecker, chestnut-mandibled toucan, red-lored amazon, sulphur winged parakeet, and ornate hawk-eagle, among many other species. There are also approximatley 500 hectares of coral reefs that abound with brighly coloured fish, sea anemones, sea urchins, sponges, lobsters and other marine creatures.

The climate of the southern sector of the Costa Rican Caribbean is typically one of moderate rainfall, which is distributed throughout the year but with less intensity from March to April and from September to October, seasons when there are even occasional droughts. The average annual temperatures are 25ºC-26ºC with a maximum of 33ºC near midday.

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The Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge
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