Visit Cahuita National Park
The Cahuita National Park is one of the nicest and least developed beaches in Costa Rica. Additionally, it protects the largest coral reef in Costa Rica. It is a special place known for it’s beautiful white sand beaches, turquoise water, and large biodiversity, both on land and in the sea.
Originally, the site was created as the Cahuita National Monument in 1970. And in 1978, it was upgraded to a National Park. The park also has unique shared management between the community and government. It’s the only national park that doesn’t charge an admission- it operates on donations only.
Take a hike through the five mile park path, and you will see many amazing creatures. Common animals to spot are sloths, howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, iguanas, basilisks, toucans, and herons. We recommend hiking with a guide. They are equipped with a ton of knowledge, good eyes, and scopes to help you spot the hidden wildlife.
If the weather is right, you shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to go on a snorkeling tour while you’re there. The 600 acre reef is home to at least 35 species of coral, 140 species of molluscs, 44 species of crustaceans, and 123 species of fish. Common marine life to see while snorkeling are eels, sea cucumbers, angelfish, blue parrotfish, sting rays, and sea urchins.
Other Things To Do
After you’ve hiked through the park and snorkeled the reef, come back another day to picnic and sun bathe. The park has several spots along the path with picnic tables in the shade so you can enjoy a relaxed day at the beach as well. After the sea turtle nesting season (March-July), when the hatching begins (September-October) you can watch the baby sea turtles being released into the ocean.
The name “Cahuita” derives from the language of the natives and means “CAWI” mahogany, a tree of the region and “TA” tip or point.