Introduction and History
Cahuita National Park is one of the many reasons that make Costa Rica special. It is a marine park and was established in 1970 as the Cahuita National Monument. Later on, with more developments, it received the status of a National Park. It mostly covers lowland areas and beaches which are its main attraction points as well. Cahuita Park consists of a land area of around 2700 acres and an aquatic area of about 55000 acres.
Cahuita National Park is also the only park in Costa Rica that does not charge an entrance fee. Instead, it thrives on donations. Its main entrance is located in the Puerto Vargas town and stays open from 8 AM to 4 PM. The park reflects the impression of a developed tourist area when it comes to its general facilities. Moreover, this place is a great place for wildlife enthusiasts as the National Park is a host to several wildlife species.
If you are planning a visit here, then you can also gain aid from Cahuita’s National Park specially trained guides and tour operators.
Main Attractions and Activities
Cahuita National Park is home to a lot of attractions and activities that can appeal to people of various tastes. To begin with, this place has a part to offer for those fond of Coral reefs. It hosts vast lengths of coral reef to provide visual splendor to the water life enthusiasts. One of its reefs, which is 600 acres in area, holds approx. 35 coral and around 123 fish species. Cahuita is also a great attraction site for scuba diving and snorkeling performers though Feb-April is the best season for them to visit as the water has better clarity around this timeframe. Additionally, there is an imposed restriction on snorkeling without a guide to provide better protection to the corals.
Cahuita National Park also has 2 shipwrecks that can enchant archeologists or historians. Moreover, if you find underwater animals hard to raise an adrenaline spike in you, then dry land animals may just prove to be your thing. Dryland animals that one may find here are -but not limited to- sloths, raccoons, capuchin monkeys and some species of birds such as the flycatcher.
In addition to all the above, there are white sand beaches to add up to the attraction count. If you like camping and happen to be concerned about camping stuff, then consider it sorted out as well. Beach camping areas with most of the general facilities -including restrooms and tables for your eating activities- can be found in the park.
A number of well-rated restaurants can be found in the proximity of Cahuita National Park. According to Tripadvisor.com, El Rincon del Amor and Café Coral are two top-rated restaurants out of many available in the surroundings. These restaurants serve seafood, Costa Rican food and vegan and vegetarian dishes. They are also equipped with additional facilities such as free Wi-Fi. You can even book a table in advance or take away your food. On top of that, these restaurants also offer competitive prices.
How to get to Cahuita?
Cahuita National Park lies on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica. It takes around 4 hours by car from San Jose. It will take you 20 minutes from Puerto Viejo to get to the park. There are 3 ways you can use to get there: bus, taxi, or a personal car. The cheapest way of them all is the bus, as it will be a lot more expensive to hire a private ride such as a taxi. If you are concerned about privacy and are not worried about spending more money, then it is better to hire a taxi.
If you hired a private ride, then you may need directions to go from either of the places to National Park. From San Jose, you can either take Braulio Carrillo National park road or Tapanti National Park road. Both of the roads join back near Siquirres and lead the way towards Cahuita National Park. From Puerto Viejo, the route is simple; you can reach Cahuita Park from there via Punta Riel, Comadre road in a matter of minutes.
Entrances and Accommodation
There are two entrances to the Cahuita National Park; one is Playa Blanca entrance, neighboring with the Cahuita town and the other one is from the Puerto Vargas area. Playa Blanca is the one that we talked about earlier providing free entrance. However, donations can be given to contribute to the well-being of the National Park. The entrance from Puerto Vargas is not free and has different charges for natives and foreigners. For foreigners, it is around $5 and for natives, it is 1000 colones.
For accommodation, there are quite a bunch of hotels to choose from. Out of them, Hotel Boutique La Casa de las Flores and Hotel Suizo Loco Lodge & Resort are very well rated on booking.com. Cahuita National Park lies at 200m from Hotel La Casa. Moreover, it is around 230m away from the bus station. Its general facilities include family rooms, free parking, free Wi-Fi and airport shuttle.
Hotel Suizo also comes with basic facilities such as family rooms and freebies such as free breakfast and Wi-Fi but it is around 3 km away from the Cahuita National Park. That might pose to be a problem for some but its well-recommended food may just be enough to change one’s mind in addition to the on-site hotel attractions.
Cahuita National Park poses to be a great tourist attraction spot. It may equally captivate wildlife lovers as it might the people in general. With the availability of facilities that can be found here, Cahuita has the charm and probably is one of the best holiday resorts in Costa Rica or in the whole of Central America._______