Gandoca-Manzanillo is a mixed (state- and private-owned) National Wildlife Refige in which the combination of land, beach and sea landscapes along with the local culture make for a very attractive destination for visitors.
The conservation and sustainable management of these ecosystems is carried out in parallel with community participation, leading to the protection of threatened species such as manatees and sea turtles.
Its most important ecosystems are the golden sand beaches and wetlands: swamps, lagoons, reefs, beds of undersea plants and seaweed.
The refuge includes a protected reef of around 5 km2 in size that extends over Punta Uva, Manzanillo and Punta Mona. The coral species living here include brain coral and sea fans. It also protects the only natural habitat of the mangrove oyster, Crassostrea rhizophorae, held within the coastline reef area. Furthermore, it is home to many species of wildlife that are endangered or whose populations have been reduced.
General information, latrines, drinking water, picnic area, paved and gravel access roads, parking areas, restaurants, hotels, cabins outside the refuge, local guides and visitor assistance.
The refuge is located on the southeastern Caribbean coast between the mouths of Río Cocles and Río Sixaola in the province of Limón, Talamanca canton, Sixaola district. The Manzanillo sector can be accessed by following the main road of Puerto Viejo, itself 71 km from the center of Limón, while access to the Laguna Gandoca sector is through the Bribri-Sixaola road, 95 km from the center of Limón.