Cahuita National Park

Cahuita National Park is a destiny, where the warm turquoise waters fuse with white sand beaches and a splendour green jungle. It is an idealsorrouding to walk through the forest, relax on fine sands or submerg oneself in transparent waters.

In 1970 it was declared a National Monument with the purpose of protecting the tropical flora and fauna, the coral reefs and several marine ecosystems. In the 1978 it was declared a National Park, protecting 1160 terrestrial hectares, which go from Carbòn River to Kelly Creek River, and 22,400 marine hectars including 600 hectars over the reef area. In 1996 its beaches in the sectors of Puerto Vargas and Playa Blanca, have been awarded with the Ecological Blue Flag.

Cahuita’s National Park is dedicated to the conservation of species and also used for recreation. It is a positive example of shared management between the State and the community, which participates in decision making related to environmental issues.

It is catalogued as Humid Tropical Forest, according to Holdridge’s classification of life zones. It has several important habitats such as the swamp lands, which are in most of Punta Cahuita’s lands and lodges species like the cativos, the Banak tree or the mangrove; or coastal vegetation, with abundance of coconut palms, almond trees and beach grapes.

Cahuita National Park

The fauna is varied; Howler monkeys and White-faced Capuchino monkeys, raccoons, sloths, white-nosed coati, otters, caimans and the dendrobate fros are common. Among birds they are frequent the ibis, the kingfisher, the Common black hawk and the woodpecker.

Its coral reef is one of the most important ones in Costa Rica, it fans out from Punta Cahuita, between Perezoso River and Puerto Vargas. It isn’t very deep, around 1 meter near the coastline up to 10 meters in some canals, and up to 15 meters on its external zone. They have identified 35 coral species, 44 crustacean species, and 123 fish species. Among the atoll the Coral Eduardo are exceptional snorkelling points.

Cahuita National Park Sloth

Among the most characteristic coral species you find the elkhron and smooth brain corals, and the cavernous Montastrea of great size. In addition, infinity of colourful fish makes their habitat here. You find the queen angel fish, which in one of the most beautiful, among others such French angel fish, little Isabel fish and the blue parrot fish. Others species are the barracuda, matha rays, 3 shark species, eels, sea urchins, lobsters and sea sponges which serve as food for the green turtles and the black-leather turtles.

Between the beach and the forest you have a natural trail fo 7 km lenght with easy access that connects the two entrances of the park, Playa blanca and Puerto Vargas, where you find the park’s administration office and a camping zone with showers and dressing rooms.

In Puerto Vargas you still see the remains of a dock built in 1921 for transporting people and goods, pricipally wood.

In your visit we recommend you to take light clothes, bathing suit, camera and snorkelling gear.

Come to explore this park and enjoy its amazing forest and paradisiacal beaches, and let the ambience transport you to your own Eden.

The Origins

Cahuita was created in the 19th century with the arrival to our coasts of English speaking turtle hunters who sailed from Bocas dle Toro and Nicaragua and settled provisional camps during seven months, from March to Septembre. In addition to turtle hunting, they also plant some products for their survival. The first of them where the Smith family who settled their fishing camp in 1828 where today is known as “Punta Cahuita”. This is how the first village was created.

But, when President Alfredo Gonzalez Flores (1914-1917), received help from Cahuita’s settlers on occasion of his shipwreck while sailing to Sixaola, his gratefulness was shown by buying a piece of land for them to build a new settlement was published in the Gazette issue of July 9, 1915. In 2005, Cahuita officially became a town.

Name originated from the miskito’s words cawi: name of the three as sangrillo or sangregao (Pterocarpus oficinalis) and ta: wich means point, meaning: “point where the ‘sangrillo’s grow”.

Activities and Tours

Cahuita National Park Tour

Cahuita National Park

Visit Cahuita National Park with one of our recommeded guides and learn why it´s one of the most visited places in the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica!

Snorkeling Tour in Cahuita

Snorkeling Tour

Explore Cahuita’s National Park Coral Reef at Punta Cahuita. It´s filled with more than 200 marine species and wildlife such as fish, sharks and lobsters. Starts at $25 per person.

Horseback Riding in Cahuita

Horseback Riding Tour

Different tours available: Playa Negra Beach tour, Jungle tour, Moonlight tour, Kids tour, or Adventure tour. From 1h to 6 hours tours. Starts at $35 per person.