Our last stop on the pacific coast of Costa Rica, before we cross the border back into Panama is the town of Golfito. The town is situated along a narrow strip along Golfito bay, backed against steep green hills covered by rain forest. Golfito was once a major port town on the South Pacific Coast in the days when there was little else in the area except huge banana plantations.
We decided to go to Golfito firstly as it looked a good place to chill for a few days. Also it’s not far from the next leg of the trip, crossing the border at Paso Canoas, back into Panama. We found a nice little apartment on Airbnb overlooking the bay which is reasonably priced and is very nice, with great views of the bay.
Golfito town was built by the United fruit company to house the thousands of workers who came to the area to work on the banana plantations. A railroad was also built to transport the bananas from the plantations to the docks. The railroad is long gone now. There are just a couple of old steam engines left as a reminder of the past.
The town was built in three separate areas
Zona Americana Or the white zone. It was here that the professionals and senior executives lived in large white painted homes built in the British colonial style, with the best of amenities
Zona Amarilla Or yellow zone where the middle management, foreman and supervisors lived. Not as well appointed as the white zone, but still comfortable and well made. Access to both white and yellow zone’s were strictly controlled by guardhouses and security.
Zona Gris The grey zone where the labourers and dock workers lived. In cramped conditions and much fewer amenities, which amounted to just basic living. Often resulting in violent disputes within the community.
Now all that has gone, thankfully, but there are still plenty of reminders from the past. Many of the timber constructed buildings are still standing, some are renovated and some are in quite bad disrepair. Now the town has a quite noticeable American and Canadian expat community, and has had a major revamp in some areas. Like it’s two marinas, where expensive yachts and sports fishing boats are moored, it also has a small airport.