One of the few places in America where you can get near to the coral reef is Cahuita’s, National Park. It is one of its main attractions and the main reason why the Cahuita town was initiated back in 1928 and formerly founded as a town in 1915.
The first steps to preserve this area; and its natural resources go back to 1970 when; Cahuita got declared a National Monument. However, that declaration did not protect 100% of this area. As a great and wise effort and thinking about the future, in 1978, it obtained the National Park declaration. This declaration finally helps the Government and the community to preserve the flora and the fauna of this place.
Cahuita National Park has an earth extension of 1067.9 hectares of land and an important; portion of Costa Rica’s Tropical Rain Forest. The marine area, 22,400 hectares, helps to preserve the most developed coral reef on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.
The beach’s sand has a white color with enormous and tall palm trees all over the place, and the sea is a turquoise color with that fresh ocean aroma. In Cahuita National Park, you might see raccoons, coatis, sloths, iguanas, and basilisks. You will also observe snakes such as tinsel and tamagá, and birds such as the crab-eating hawk. And of course, a lot of crabs.
Is Cahuita National Park a safe place to visit?
Once you searched for this specific question on Google, the answers you will get are a combination of opinions and experiences that can lead to great confusion.
But let’s get crystal clear. Petty theft is an issue throughout Costa Rica. And this means while visiting Cahuita use your common sense:
- Be alert to your surroundings.
- Avoid long walks at night in lonely places.
- Do not take “free stuff” from strangers.
- Do not carry all your money with you while going out.
- Always try to go to the beach with someone else and take turns to swing.
- Before going out, ask locals (hotel or restaurant staff) about the place, people, surroundings.
- Always share your itinerary with someone you trust.
Costa Rica’s emergency number is 911. Works 24/7, and they do have bilanguage staff available to assist at any time. Hopefully, you won’t need it while you are visiting Cahuita; however, it’s always better to be prepare. Save it on your phone or memorized it.
Finally, do not be alarm with the emergency number I am providing to; this is the best practice for travelers. You should always know how to contact authorities at any place you visit.
What are the best months to visit Cahuita National Park?
The dry season in Costa Rica goes from December to April. In short, those months are the best time to visit this national park without excessive rainfall.
How to get to Cahuita National Park?
From Alajuela’s (SJO) Airport
From Guanacaste’s (LIR) Airport
Is there an entry fee to access Cahuita National Park?
There are two entry points to the park, and each has a different entrance fee:
Playa Blanca Sector:
If you enter by Playa Blanca entrance, adjacent to the town of Cahuita, the fee is a voluntary contribution, in cash. The money collected here; will be invested in the community of Cahuita National Park.
Opening hours: Every day from 6 am. to 5 pm.
Puerto Vargas Sector:
If you enter by the Puerto Vargas sector, non-resident foreigners pay $ 5, and domestic residents pay ¢ 1,000.
Opening hours: Every day from 8 am. to 4 pm.
You can pay with your credit or debit card at either point, so you don’t have to carry cash for this.
Cahuita National Park Services:
- Toilets, showers, and changing rooms.
- Drinking water spots.
- Information services and trained local guides.
- Community lifeguards, and picnic areas.
- Parking in Sector Puerto Vargas.
Rules and regulations when visiting this National Park?
The following regulations apply to almost all National Parks in Costa Rica, and Cahuita is not an exception.
Dos’ while visiting Cahuita:
- Take lots of pictures, selfies and flora and fauna are going to be on-demand while in the park. There is a lot to see, walk slow and quietly, and you’ll be surprised. Another good advice for this is, avoid trails with too many people in it.
- Enjoy the forest sounds and smells; there is nothing else more different than the city noise and its population you are used to than this. Enjoy it; you travel a lot to be in contact with nature.
- Have free fruit; if there is any common fruit, you may have some if you can get it without damage the tree or plant. Park Rangers won’t say this to you, but we all do it. As long as you don’t damage anything while getting the fruit, go ahead and enjoy it.
- Bring water and snacks with you. You will be able to take with you food and water to drink without any inconvenience; however, you might see the request of “Don’t feed animals” a lot, even if you see someone else doing it, avoid issues, and don’t do it.
- Snorkeling in the Coral reef. The experience is unique, don’t forget to bring your equipment with you, or to rent one in the National Park.
- Bird watching, if you are fun of this hobby, you will love this place. 100% recommended to wake up early in the morning; to take a walk in Cahuita’s Nationa Park Trails to see beautiful birds.
Don’ts while visiting Cahuita:
- Bring pets since they are not allowed to enter National Parks.
- Beers and Alcoholic Drinks, this one is easy to skip, but I would not recommend you to set up a beach party in here. A couple of beers to drink while enjoying the sun laid on the sand are just fine.
- Drugs and regular cigarettes are not allowed either; if one of the security national park guards caught you with drugs, they could ask you to leave the park, and they might call the police.
- Hunting and fishing; are forbidden in Costa Rica.
- Taking out with you: plants, animals, seashell, or any other element of the park is forbidden, and you might get a ticket if you get caught.
- Make fire; this will get you kicked out of the park, do not start fires at Cahuita National Park or any other park.
- If you are walking on trails, stay on the path, do not get into the forest to explore; it’s pretty dangerous.
- Do not step on or walk on the coral reef. It’s slippery and cuts a lot; you might get hurt, and also you may damage the coral reef.
- Leaving garbage on any section of the park might get you in trouble with the police; and also causes damages to the park. Please take all trash out of the park.
What to expected; when visiting Cahuita National Park.
You will find friendly people, spectacular trails to walk in, beautiful white sand beaches, delicious food. All of these will allow you to live one of the best Caribean vacation experience. Let me know how it works and if you find something else to visit or to do while staying there.
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