CAHUITA, THE CARIBBEAN PEARL
The village of Cahuita, what to see, what to do, how to get there and what are the good plans?
Cahuita is a small picturesque village with bright colors that attracts attention by its tranquility, its tranquil lifestyle and its proximity to the national park of the same name.
An Afro-Caribbean atmosphere reigns. Take a walks, stroll through streets to the sound of Calypso Limonense (music invented here) which gives a special charm to this ‘off the beaten track’ destination.
WHAT TO SEE AT CAHUITA?
Cahuita is a small beachfront village located on the southern Caribbean coast. Its first inhabitants were Jamaicans, and although now many expatriates have also taken up residence, the atmosphere remains very relaxed and typically Caribbean.
The center of the village has become very touristy, there are many hotels and restaurants where you will have the opportunity to taste the local food, which is often spicy. Small trails start from the center and take you to the surrounding beaches, where everything is much quieter.
There are very few cars and everything is accessible on foot or by bike if you prefer.
It is very easy to rent a bike for the day directly on site. If you wish, you can even reach the neighboring village, Puerto Viejo with your bicycle. The walk along the beaches is well worth it, plan a whole day to do it.
The main attraction of the village is the Cahuita National Park. It is open every day from 6am to 5pm. You can enter both sides of the park.
The first entry is from the village of Cahuita and you will be asked to make a donation of the amount of your choice before starting your excursion.
The second entrance is at Puerto Varguas and costs $ 10 per person. From each entrance, a 4km trail leads from the tip to the jungle.
You can choose to turn around at the end of the path or walk 4km further to reach the other entrance.
The park, with its white sand beaches and coconut palms inclined towards the sea is a truly heavenly place. It is also famous for its coral reef, today unfortunately threatened.
Accompanied by a guide, you will be able in this area to go snorkeling with flippers and a snorkel to observe the sea urchins and other colorful fish that live there. Swimming is also allowed in some places, however, be careful with streams, which are sometimes powerful.
The park’s forest is equally impressive with its lush flora and wildlife. While enjoying the sound of the jungle, the sound of locusts and howling screaming monkeys, you can also run into squirrels, raccoons, toucans, crabs and many lizards on the way.
It is advisable to visit the park early in the morning to maximize your chances of coming face to face with the animals.
WHAT TO DO IN CAHUITA?
The most famous activities in the region of Cahuita, outside of its national park, are the visit to the indigenous Bribri or Keköldi.
With a population of just over 200 people, the Keköldi Reserve on the border with Panama offers a superb sight along the Yorkin River.
Feel free to visit your hosts, they will be happy to welcome you, show you their everyday life and make you feel at home, right in the heart of the tropical forest of the Talamanca mountain range.
Want to enjoy the clear waters of Cahuita National Park? What’s better than exploring them with a mask and a snorkel?
Only accessible with a guided tour, you can swim in the middle of 2.5 km² of coral reef. This marine treasure is also behind the creation of Cahuita National Park.
This lazy shelter (but not only), closed on Mondays, gives you the opportunity to get close to these enigmatic mammals Bradypus. Admission free for children under 5, $ 15 for children 5 to 12 years, and the rate goes to $30 after 12 years old.
The center also offers the opportunity for enthusiasts and volunteers to do internships and volunteer work.
CAHUITA NATIONAL PARK
Cahuita National Park has an area of approximately 1100 ha and 23 000 marine ha. To access it you have two options:
The main entrance located at Kelly Creek Station (voluntary donation)
the entry by the post of Puerto Vargas, located about 1 km south of Cahuita. The entrance cost here $ 5 per person.
It is one of the few national parks in Costa Rica where entry is by voluntary donation, you give what you want. However, the price of other national parks ranges from $10 to $15, usually a contribution of about $10 is expected.
The national park has several interesting features:
The first part, along the coast, will allow you to appreciate the beauty of the white sand beaches characteristic of the Caribbean. The trail will give you the opportunity to observe very closely the many sloths with two fingers and three fingers, present in the trees bordering it.
After crossing, the mouth of a small river you will enter the rainforest.
Be careful, the mosquitoes have not adopted the Caribbean mode, they are very aggressive and good parasite protection is strongly recommended.
The path will take you near many small almost private beaches where coconut palms are thrown into the sea and will offer you the opportunity to take photos that will make your work colleagues jealous.
The animal species that are most frequently seen by visitors, besides the sloths, are raccoons, coatis, howler monkeys, crabs, and many species of birds such as herons, toucans, egrets, and many other colorful birds.
HOW TO GET THERE?
The many hotels in the area will make it easy for your GPS to get you to Cahuita. If you do not have one, do not panic from Limón, there is only one main road and Cahuita will be very easy to reach.
BY PUBLIC BUS
From the capital San José, it will take you about 4 hours. The bus company Grupo Caribeños offers 5 buses per day at the times: 6:00 – 10:00 – 12:00 – 14:00 – 16:00.
Two shuttle companies offer tourists the San José – Cahuita route. The cost is about $54 for a journey of 4 hours.
From San Jose, you will need about $ 150. From Puerto Viejo de Limón, about $ 15.
WHY NOT TRY GOING VIA BOCA DEL TORO?
Due to its proximity to Panama and the border post of Siaxaola, Cahuita offers the possibility to reach the archipelagos of Boca del Toro.
Some local providers offer transport-tours-hotels packages from Cahuita. Attention do not forget your passport.
WISH TO VISIT CAHUITA? YOU CAN DISCOVER IT DURING ONE OF OUR AUTOTOURS!
To learn more about the village of Cahuita. Click here.
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