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“Abel Rustamante guide Gandoca Manzanillo wild life refuge” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Gandoca - Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge

Gandoca - Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge
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Gandoca Manzanillo Refuge Jungle Hike
Certificate of Excellence
Useful Information: Activities for older children
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Useful Information: Activities for older children
Minneapolis, Minnesota
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Abel Rustamante guide Gandoca Manzanillo wild life refuge”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 22, 2014

What a basically wonderful person and knowledgable guide. He showed us things we could have walked by without ever seeing. I took a bird tour with him and it was so good that I went back for a jungle tour with him and if I had had time I would have gone on more. He is humorous and knowledgable about local flora and fauna. I learned a lot about the history of the area and about how things work there now. He goes out of his way to make his tours enjoyable for everyone there

Visited February 2014
1 Thank Beverly A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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126 reviews from our community

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English first
Prague, Czech Republic
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Best experience (close contact with animals)”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 3, 2014

Very good guides, 2 hours of entertainment, could even touch the monkeys and got pretty much info about all animals, activities rescue center do... Happy we went there and now we consider it as a must seen in this locality.

Visited February 2014
1 Thank Lindulina2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lincoln, Nebraska
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 2, 2014

My husband and I returned this week from our vacation at Manzanillo, Costa Rica. We rented a beautiful little house just outside of town, with the intent of exploring the refuge and Bri Bri, also the hope of some horseback riding and perhaps snorkeling. After speaking with the person who manages the house we rented, Florentino "Tino" Grenald was recommend to us as the best guide. We walked to town (Manzanillo) asking around for Tino, and soon found someone who knew him and put in a phone call for us. Thence began, for us, the company of one of the most wonderful people we have had the opportunity of meeting. Tino is an excellent guide and, furthermore, he is very much a conservationist, a man of humor and his knowledge of the jungle is extensive. We learned a great deal from him as he took us into the wildlife refuge and introduced us to Caiman, eyelash pitvipers, strangler figs with ethereal interiors, leaf-cutter ant cities, lizards, anoles and a bewildering array of trees, plants, flowers, fungi and very many more biological life-forms that we happened across during the 5-hours we hiked with him. Tino knew something to tell us about everything we saw and told us the uses for the wood of the trees, which fruits were food and which were deadly. He also had funny stories and is a person of wonderful humor! My husband and I are both botanists in the U.S. and we were very impressed with Tino's knowledge of the history of the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and the life within it. We asked no few questions as we hiked into Primary Forest with Tino teaching us us how to recognize primary from secondary growth in the Atlantic Lowlands and told us the story of the refuge. A few days later Tino took us to Bri Bri to the Watsi community and we learned all about the medicinal plants of the area and how to make chocolate. Just before we left Manzanillo, Tino appeared at the caretaker's cottage of our house with a sack full of the fruit that he knew we especially enjoyed!

After we left Manzanillo, my husband traveled back to the U.S. and went to the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula, which was fabulous, but the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is much easier to travel to, less expensive and, in my opinion, very beautiful.

In addition, Manzanillo is a wonderful, quiet small town. If you are looking for excitement, shops and something to entertain you, don't come here. But if you are looking to entertain yourselves and for solitude, empty beaches and the opportunity to interact with nature you will appreciate this place, and what it offers, very much. Only on Saturday and Sunday, when the local Costa Ricans come to Manzanillo to escape the hoards of people further North, will you find a "crowd". But the crowd in this case is an engaging, fun part of the town.

Visited February 2014
3 Thank PrairyErth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
225 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
“Highlight of our trip”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2014

We spent five hours hiking through Gandoca-Manzanillo Preserve and I strongly recommend it. But for safety's sake, if you have small kids, do take a guide to help ensure they don't touch something that could kill them!

We all loved our guide, Michael Grenald, who met us at the restaurant in middle of town with the words "we have to go by my house to get my boots and machete". Haha!! 45 minutes later, we were still in his back yard because he had us sniffing and tasting everything in it -- allspice, cinnamon, lemon grass, ylang-ylang, wild coriander, miracle fruit, jack fruit, bread fruit, bitter lemon, wow! We then did an easy hike into the rainforest and along the beach (including a cave on the beach). Michael was a fascinating guy, well trained by his father Florentino who is mentioned frequently in these reviews. We learned so much about the forest from him. We saw 2 and 3 toed sloths, monkeys, toucans of several kinds, iron trees, eyelash vipers, strangler figs, bats, caimans, hawks, jesus lizards, bullet ants and leaf cutter ants. LOVED the stop for a fresh pipa (coconut water). And loved eating termites and discovering they taste like carrot tops. I cannot remember how much we paid but it was well worth it for the length of the tour.

We also appreciated that Michael seemed to know everyone we encountered and those he didn't know he warned about safety, keeping hands to self and not touching plants.

Michael can be reached through his Facebook page or by phone via the greencr.com staff who are located at Playa Chiquita.

Visited December 2013
Thank gazooby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sacramento, California
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Wonderful tour with Omar!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2014

The Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge was definitely a highlight of our trip in December 2013. We stayed with family in a vacation rental in Puerto Viejo and did a day tour to the Refuge. First off, I will say that it felt very undeveloped and uncrowded- for much of the time we hardly saw anyone but our group. What an amazing tour we had with Omar! A lifelong resident of Manzanillo with a laid-back attitude, great sense of humor, obvious respect for the forest and incredible knowledge of biology, geology, history, and culture, Omar seemed to really enjoy what he was doing. He found insects and spiders and frogs and birds that we never would have seen and had so much knowledge of the traditional use of plants. There was no question he could not answer- and our group had A LOT. He regularly cracked jokes and laughed with us and just seemed like such a great guy. He spent 5 hours with us for a very reasonable rate. The hike was not long, but was slow because we stopped so often to look at things. Also, our group was fairly adventurous, so we did some scrambling on some more challenging trails, and even kind of scaled along a cliff along the beach when the tide came in (Omar personally helped each one of us when needed). After going to Manuel Antonio National Park later in our trip, I realized how lucky were were to visit such a lightly travelled natural area at Gandoca-Manzanillo with such a wonderful a local expert guiding us.

Visited December 2013
1 Thank Jessie2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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