If you’re really looking to get away from it all whether you are an avid surfer, naturalist, bird watcher or adventure seeker Pavones, Costa Rica is without a question a must visit destination. Pavones was first put on the map by surfing enthusiasts for having one of the best waves in Costa Rica and the second longest left hand wave in the world. What people don’t know about is that this area has more to offer than just surfing. Sure we have some amazing waves but there is more to this place that you cannot experience anywhere else in the country. The geography of this area is amazing. This place is known where the jungle meets the ocean. There are miles and miles of deserted palm lined beaches. Lush rainforest with an abundance of wildlife and amazing aquatic life surrounds you.
Pavones is located in the Southern Pacific region of Costa Rica and near the Panamanian border. Situated in the southern part of the Gulfo Peninsula, Pavones has yet to be spoiled by development, shopping centers and hotels. Instead, many consider Pavones to be one of Costa Rica’s last true paradises. We are considered the end of the road in Costa Rica and are situated in one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world.
When you arrive in the small laid back beach town of Pavones, you can’t help to realize that there couldn’t be a more picturesque scene. The town center is located along side the Rio Claro (River that runs through town) and right in front of the famous left handed wave that put this place on the map. Here lies the plaza which is built around the soccer field (in most Costa Rican villages, the soccer field is also referred to as the plaza). Surrounding the plaza is about a one square block of parks, restaurants, supermarkets, hardware stores, shops, café’s , cabinas and residential houses. Beyond the town center are sparse communities, residential houses, small business and miles of unspoiled land and beaches North and South of the town. There is a great blend of people from all over the world that live in this community.
The locals here in Costa Rica are called Ticos (Tica(s) when referring to women) and the Guaymi Indians (who reside in the nearby mountains in the Indian Reservation) have been here before Pavones was ever established. Most of the locals (locals and expats) in the community take pride in preserving the land and ocean that we live and play in. We need to continue setting higher living standards in order to conserve the vegetation, wildlife, beaches and aquatic life that makes this place so unique and pristine. When you experience a place like Pavones you’ll understand why Costa Rica is the greenest and happiest country in the world!
Due to its location in the Southern zone of Costa Rica, Pavones usually has a wetter climate than the North Pacific Coast. Costa Rica has two seasons, rainy season and summer. Typically the rainy season is from April through November with the summer season being from December to April. Expect more moisture, humidity and cloud coverage in the rainy season with September, October and November being the rainiest time of year. In the summer, we get warmer, dry and sunnier weather. Temperatures rarely dip below 75 degrees Fahrenheit or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit leaving it ideal conditions all year round. The ocean water stays around 80 degrees Fahrenheit year round. For surfing enthusiasts, the rainy season is very popular time of year to head to Pavones and catch some South and South-West swells. Make sure you bring plenty of sun screen and drink lots of water at all times.
Pavones is located across the Osa Peninsula in which National Geographic declared as having one of the most biologically intense places on earth. So in other words, we experience a similar biological atmosphere as our neighbor. This is a nature lover’s paradise. We have over 300 species of birds in the region. There couldn’t be any better place for bird watching than here in the tropics of Pavones, Costa Rica. In 1999, The Scarlet Macaw Restoration Project of Tiskita in conjunction with Amigos de Alas released over 30 Scarlet Macaws in the Pavones area. Today, the Scarlet Macaws have grown in numbers and are an amazing bird to observe. Another common tropical bird that is seen on a daily basis is the Chestnut-mandibled Toucan. We also have over 30 different species of hummingbirds.
Here in Pavones, you can find three different types of monkeys (The howler monkey, white face monkey and the squirrel monkey). Three-toed sloths are also another animal that are found in the area but be on the look out, they’re hard to spot. Pavones boasts numerous species of butterflies including the most spectacular of them all is the Blue Morpho Butterfly, one of the biggest butterflies in the world! Other animals in Pavones that can be spotted in Pavones are iguanas, frogs, leaf cutter ants, turtles, lizards, coati and more!
The Gulfo Dulce (Sweet Gulf) is one of three tropical fjords in the world reaching 600 foot depths in the Gulf. Here lies an abundance of aquatic life such as bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, turtles, Humpback Whales, Bryde’s Whales, False Kiler Whales, Orca Killer Whales and Pygmy Sperm Whales just to name a few. The abundant wildlife that is observed day in and day out is truly spectacular. There are many ways to observe marine life, you can observe from the shore or you can take a boat tour around the Golfo Dulce.
Banks and ATM’s
There are no banks or ATM’s in Pavones so we recommend bringing enough cash to last through your trip. Most businesses do not accept credit or debit cards but all business here accept dollars and/or colones (Costa Rican Currency). You used to be able to withdraw cash from the cash register at the Super Rio Claro but they discontinued doing this in March 2012.
If you are looking to withdraw money before you arrive to Pavones, there are a couple of towns along the way that have banks and/or ATM’s which are Rio Claro, Golfito, Paso Canoas, and Luarel. Check your maps and Driving Directions to see which town is along your route so that you can visit the ATM before your arrival to Pavones.
Make sure you fill up your gas tanks at one of the following towns before you continue your journey down to Pavones: Rio Claro, Golfito, Paso Canoas and Laurel. The closes gas station to Pavones is in Laurel which is about an hour away. The two super markets in town offer gasoline but it is usually $1-$2 more than what you would pay for at the gas station. Check your gas levels on a daily basis, especially if you are constantly using your vehicles every day.
Paso Canoas (Costa Rica/Panama Border) – Located 1.5 hours from Pavones. Paso Canoas is the border town of Costa Rica and Panama. It is also a great spot to go shopping for groceries, liquor, and souvenirs. If you are passing through Paso Canoas to get to Pavones or to head back to San Jose or cross over to Panama check out the link for more information about Paso Canoas.