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Costa Rica's Golfo Dulce, One of the World's Most Pristine Ocean Habitats


One of the most pristine ocean habitats in the world is located in Costa Rica -- the Pacific gulf of Golfo Dulce.


Located in the southern region by the Osa Peninsula, the 31-mile-long (50 km) gulf of Golfo Dulce is recognized by National Geographic as one of only four tropical fjords in the world, and it is the tenth deepest. With an average annual temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit, it is an extremely rare biome.


Given its low human impact due to its remoteness, the sheltered gulf is home to abundant marine life in its calm and clear jade green-blue waters. More than 25 species of dolphins and whales and four kinds of sea turtles live here; and it is a vital breeding and birthing zone for endangered hammerhead sharks and migrating endangered Humpback Whales.


On very dark nights, usually during Costa Rica's dry season, the water in the Golfo Dulce glows with an eerie iridescence, seeming as if the ocean has turned into a liquid sky of blue stars. This is bioluminescence: when bacteria and plankton in the water emit light resulting from a chemical reaction in their organism.

A great place to experience the Golfo Dulce is at Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge. Nicuesa Lodge’s entire philosophy and operations are based on environmental conservation and sustainability. The extraordinary rainforest eco-lodge holds the highest Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) in Costa Rica and the prestigious TripAdvisor GreenLeaders Platinum Status. And they have received the Ecological Blue Flag Award six years in a row for keeping one of the cleanest beaches in Costa Rica.


In June, Costa Rica expanded its ocean conservation in honor of World Oceans Day 2017 to now protect 15% of its marine territory. Costa Rica’s expanded protection of its seas aligns with the United Nations Environment Program in its goal to preserve one-tenth of all oceans by 2020. Environmental organizations are lobbying to make Golfo Dulce a marine protected area in Costa Rica.

After joining the global UN Clean Seas campaign earlier this year, Costa Rica also has pledged to fight plastic marine debris and to replace single-use plastic – which can take hundreds of years to degrade – with renewable and compostable materials.

 

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