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Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike - Is It Worth It?

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Manitoba, Canada
posts: 214
reviews: 26
Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike - Is It Worth It?

Will be spending 8 days at Banana Azul Hotel near Puerto Viejo in January 2014. Will be renting a bike to see the area and will be visiting the Jaguar Rescue Centre. Is it worth about $60 per person to hire a guide and take the Gandoca Manzanillo Hike. What if anything will I see or experience on this Hike that I won't experience if I don't take the hike? Also, how long a hike is it?

18 replies to this topic
Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 7,819
reviews: 57
1. Re: Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike - Is It Worth It?

We have hiked about 4 hours, yet it depends on your guide. Is it worth 60 US$ per person? I do not know, yet you need a guide to hike it. It is very different to Cahuita NP.

Puerto Viejo de...
posts: 38
reviews: 9
2. Re: Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike - Is It Worth It?

Abel Bustamante in Manzanillo is a great guide and I am pretty sure his price is $40 per person........ I have sent many clients to him and they all LOVED his tour /information and passion for what he does...........

Cahuita, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Cahuita
posts: 2,247
reviews: 9
3. Re: Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike - Is It Worth It?

Abel is frequently recommended as a guide and $40 sounds a very reasonable price for a long guided hike. You should definitely go with a guide and it is a wonderful place to see. It is different to other parts of this coast as Xelas correctly mentions so you would see something different.

Lake Havasu City...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
posts: 6,802
reviews: 6
4. Re: Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike - Is It Worth It?

Taking a tour with a guide is always a plus, they will point out and talk about many things that you would otherwise miss. You can send Abel a message at his FB account and ask him for his rates,

https:/…

Manitoba, Canada
posts: 214
reviews: 26
5. Re: Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike - Is It Worth It?

I'm trying to decide if I want to add this Jungle Hike to my itinerary. Let me ask my original question a little bit differently. After spending 8 days in the Puerto Viejo area, I will be spending 2 nights in Tortuguero and will be taking two canal tours. Then I will be spending three nights at Selva Verde Lodge in Sarapiqui where I will be taking a guided tour on the Lodge's property. So, if I take the Gandoca Manzanillo Jungle Hike with a guide, will it be a different experience for me and, if so, why will it be different? Why is it worth taking this four hour Hike?

Lake Havasu City...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
posts: 6,802
reviews: 6
6. Re: Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike - Is It Worth It?

Let me just say that most people that take the hike with a local guide, really enjoy it. Tortuguero and Sarapiqui, while excellent in their own way,will be a totally different experience than of the the Refugio hike, the flora and fauna of the Caribe Sur is unique to this zone. Also most of the hike will be close to the shore, and the hike to Punta Mona is beautiful.

Wroclaw, Poland
posts: 126
reviews: 9
7. Re: Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike - Is It Worth It?

Hi bluebomber,

As others have already pointed out, you need to take a guide with you in order not to get lost in Gandoca-Manzanillo, because the trail is not straightforward. And apart from safety issues a guide will point out tons of wildlife to you, which is otherwise perfectly camouflaged and basically impossible to spot for a person non-native to the area.

Expect to see red-eyed tree frogs, possibly a caiman, snakes (you can basically bet on yellow eyelash pit vipers), sloths, ants (including bullet ants), Jesus Christ lizards (basilisks), tons of other lizards, butterflies, crabs, and possibly much more. Personally, I loved the trip.

To answer your second question, let me put it this way: I visited Osa/Corcovado, Uvita, Baru, Manuel Antonio, Tortuguero, Cahuita and Punta Uva (spending over a week just in Cahuita/Punta Uva area), and Manzanillo was worth it for me. Each place is different. (I’ve never been to La Selva though.) I like trekking and I don’t get tired of seeing wildlife, do you?

In the Puerto Viejo area seeing Cahuita NP and Gandoca-Manzanillo would be my two must-dos. Both are very, very different places.

Finally, I never met Abel, but if you decide to go to Manzanillo I strongly recommend hiring Florentino Grenald (Tino) for the trek, who charges $35 per person and donates $3 from each ticket to a guy who plants new trees in the forest. Tino is a Manzanillo native, a conservationist, and a very knowledgeable person. He also has to be one of the most charismatic and hilarious people on Earth! (And as a bonus he can lend you rubber boots for free if the trail is muddy). You can’t go wrong with him. Here’s his phone number: 506.8841.2732.

You would be taught a lot about different plants and fruit and fed some delicious coconuts free of charge. If I were in the area again I would take the trail with Tino once more - this is how much I personally enjoyed it.

Puerto Viejo de...
posts: 427
reviews: 12
8. Re: Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike - Is It Worth It?

$35 - $40 per person without transportation sounds like a fair price. If you want to have transportation included, it will be between $50 and $60. I recommend to go to the Gandoca-Manzanillo reserve with a guide as it is safer in any aspect. Tino as well as Ricky are two local guides I can highly recommend.

Fort Collins...
posts: 320
reviews: 55
9. Re: Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike - Is It Worth It?

Absolutely worth it! And...Abel Bustamante in Manzanillo is the BEST too!

Jungle Love - are you THE Jungle Love restaurant??? I still haven't had time to review everything from our trip, but we LOVED the restaurant! It was DELICIOUS!!! And it had an awesome atmosphere.

10. Re: Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike - Is It Worth It?

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