Golfito National Wildlife Refuge extends over 1,309 hectares north of the sheltered Dulce Gulf near the harbour of Golfito. It includes a chain of mountains and plateaux that climb 500 meters above sea level and then plunge abruply into the sea, forming a very jagged coastline with cliffs 200 meters high that alternate with tidal plains and estuaries. The ridgeline is the result of the meteorisation of volcanic and sedimentary rocks of great atiquity.
The haevy, abundant and almost constant rains feed innumerable waterways, which encourage the growth of very tall trees laden with epiphytes. Some species, such as the butternut tree, purple heart and plomo, are common in Golfito but are in danger of extinction in other parts of the country. Other species, such as the silk cotton, manwood (a very hard and water-resistent wood) and bully tree, are typical of the Los Guatusos plains in northern Costa Rica where similar climatic conditions prevail.
There are 146 species of birds in the refuge, including macaws, parrots, brown pelicans, ibis herons and owls. Other frequently seen animals are white-faced capuchin, squirrel spider and howler monkeys, jaguraundies, margay cats, anteaters, agouties, pacas, raccoons and various species of snakes , butterflies and bats.
Rainfall is abundant all year long but in October it can rain 700 mm. That is the same amount it rains in Coco Beach or Cartago during the whole year. An important aspect of the refuge is its location near the lower basin of the River Esquinas, a unique area in the Costa Rican Pacific where there is no dry season. It is like a climatic island with conditions that are similar to those on the hot and humid plains of the Caribbean, but on the other side of the central mountain chain. .