rgbif is an R package from rOpenSci that allows searching and retrieving data from GBIF. rgbif wraps R code around the GBIF API to allow you to talk to GBIF from R and access metadata, species names, and occurrences.
Installing the package in R is simple:
Once installed, rgbif allows you to easily
get data for single occurrences
retrieve multiple occurences
search for taxon names
generate maps of occurences, e.g. Coffea arabica
Full functionality is described in the rgbif tutorial. The rgbif package is also part of the SPOCC Species Occurrence Data suite, that provides access to occurrence records from multiple databases.