Cahuita, Costa Rica is a beautiful National Park dedicated to research and protection of the local marine life. It is also a unique place because it actually has a small beach town in the middle of it. This is also the place where you will find a rescue center dedicated to saving and rehabilitating sloths. Keep reading to discover a list of six fun things to do in Cahuita National Park and a lot of useful information.
The place offers beautiful beaches, lush forests, and coral reefs, all with abundant fauna for you to check out. As you can see, this is definitely the best place to check out if you are a nature and adventure lover.
Where is Cahuita located?
In case you were wondering, this piece of heaven is located on the South Caribbean coast of beautiful Costa Rica, 43 km south, of Limón province. It was purchased by a former Costa Rican president and then donated to its residents. That is why Costa Ricans refer to it as the only national park in the country that truly belongs to the people.
This is a place filled with Costa Rican wildlife and one of the most common and almost guaranteed wildlife sightings in this place are white-faced Capuchin monkeys, Coatis, Sloths, Howler monkeys, Toucans, and Sea turtles (keep in mind they only show up in the nesting season) and Macaws. So nature lovers this is your call!
How to Get There
Personally, I like to recommend renting a car. It is much easier and more comfortable in the drive. You will be able to find many car rental companies at the airport.
Related Read: Renting a Car and Driving in Costa Rica
Things to Do in Cahuita National Park
If you are a fan of light hiking along the beach and paths meandering along the coast or simply relaxing on a hammock by the beach, Cahuita may be what you need. The perfect place for that in Costa Rica is a beautiful reserve called Cahuita National Park. I mean, what could be better than watching animals as you relax in the middle of the forest just steps away from the beach?
1. Bike rentals and tours
The best way to get around this area for sure! This activity is that you’re being eco-friendly without even trying. Plus, if you’re traveling with a family, the kids burn some of that restless energy while feeling totally independent. Even the little ones, who get a booster seat on the back of a bike, can enjoy the scenery while mom and pop do all the work. And this way you’ll get a kick out of the potholed, semi-paved roads – a Costa Rican specialty.
Mountain biking is also available in the park. you should be able to rent a bike in the town. These are pretty much the same trails that you would explore on foot but taking a bike will give it a more adventurous touch.
2. Hiking Along the Park’s Trails
Sign up for a guided jungle walk through the parks and check out wildlife, waterfalls, and nature at its best. Where else will you see a sloth, iguana, and monkey all at the same time? And yes, I do recommend a guided tour. The trails are easy and offer few chances of getting lost, but you will miss out on all the information they can share with you.
There are a few options to choose from. But one of the longest trails that goes across the park is 8 km long. Some other trails take you to gorgeous beaches. The best thing about this is that none is a highly difficult and through all of them if you are silent, you might be able to see some monkeys, iguanas, and birds.
3. Horseback Riding
What better way to explore local plantations around the Cahuita National Park than from the high seat of a mounted horse? Horseback riding tours are also offered, a romantic sunset option on the beach. Most tours are guided, but there are also horse rentals for experienced people.
4. Chocolate Tours
In this tour, you get to discover what an old cacao plantation is like. You also get to learn about the process of making chocolate. The last part of these tours is tasting cacao fruits and chocolate.
Artisanal chocolate is something that few people have tried, and it gives you an interesting high. Do you dare to try it?
Cahuita’s fishermen will expose you to a new kind of fishing, yet it’s not new to them. These local fishermen have been doing artisan fishing for generations, so hop into a small dugout canoe or wooden panga and use a hand-reel and line.
Cahuita National Park’s reefs are excellent sources of life for a variety of marine creatures. Sign up for a boat trip which includes snorkeling, snacks, and a walk through Cahuita National Park.
Off the beaches of Cahuita National Park, you will find a gorgeous coral reef that you can explore by snorkeling. In it, you might be able to find up to 240 species of fish and other marine creatures. These tours usually last 3 or 4 hours and happen during the morning hours.
7. Bird Watching
The region is home to a whopping 500 bird species. Making it a heaven for all of those looking to do birding and see as many birds in the wild. A guide will be glad to point out some of the best places to see them and will share some fun facts about them with you.
8. Sports fishing
The clear waters around the coast of Cahuita make it a perfect place for those looking to go fishing for species like Tarpon, Barracuda, Shark, Grouper, Jack Blue and Green Jack, Red Snapper, Mackerel, and King Fish.
Why visit Cahuita National Park in Costa Rica?
For the beaches, snorkeling, scuba divers, and all-around nature lovers. The climate here is hot and humid. It rains all year round, so the vegetation is lush and tropical. The coconut palms grow right up to the shoreline, swaying in the tropical breezes. You really get the feel of being in the jungle. You see monkeys, sloths, iguanas, raccoons, coatis, and so many birds! Such as green ibises, tiger herons, toucans, hummingbirds, and river kingfishers.
There is a specific area of the park designated for swimming in the ocean, so ask a park ranger or one of the locals. This is to ensure you respect the areas and help them with their preservation efforts.
Here you get the feeling that life is relaxed and unhurried. Most of the businesses are locally owned and people live the true “Pura Vida” or pure life.
In the small town of Cahuita, located adjacent to the National Park, we find the Afro-Caribbean culture. Many of the restaurants serve typical Afro Caribbean food such as rice cooked in coconut milk, shrimp fried with coconut, coconut cake, and coconut pies. And at night the sounds of Reggae music are heard from the lively bars, restaurants, and front porches of the locals.
If you enter The Cahuita National Park from the town, the entrance is free, it’s by donation, so you leave whatever you want. However, if you enter the park through the Puerto Vargas entrance, it is $5 per person.
The park is open from 8 AM to 4 PM.
Tip: It is just an 8km hike if you plan to walk across the park. So some of you might not need a guide. But, if you are going to get a tour guide for Cahuita park, make sure they are registered as such by the local government.
If you want to make the best out of your trip to Cahuita, Costa Rica coming between September and mid-November or between March and May are the best options. This way you will be able to enjoy things such as living coral reefs, abundant marine life, monkeys that hide among the trees, its white-sanded beaches, and its trails.
By visiting this town’s national park in Costa Rica you will be supporting its habitants. They work hard to preserve this park, the wildlife, and their home. So what are you waiting for?
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