Where is Cahuita National Park Located?
The Cahuita National Park, otherwise known as Parque Nacional Cahuita in Spanish, is to be found in the southern part of Costa Rica. It is situated where the ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, in the La Armistad Conservation Area of Costa Rica, in the Limón Province.
It is connected to the town of Cahuita. Being the most easily accessible national park in the Caribbean south of Costa Rica, Cahuita is a favorite among many.
When is the best time to visit Cahuita National Park?
The best time to visit the park is in February, March, and April, and then again in September through to October. The reason for this is that there is less rain then compared to the wet season.
The dry season is also best for snorkeling the crystal blue ocean, making the above months’ popular times to visit. Many people ask when the least busy time is; the least crowded months are – to visit Cahuita.
Well, the busiest month is June, then March and then July when prices for flights and hotels will be at their most expensive. You can save if you buy and book well in advance though.
Tourists usually visit in November – it’s the least expensive month. Although the best months to be out in the water are from February to April, Costa Rica is always a nice place to visit because of its temperate climate.
What’s the weather like in the Cahuita National Park?
You can expect average temperatures in Cahuita; actually all year round. There is always the chance of rain throughout most of the year. If you have to have the hottest of the hot weather, then the best time will be September, June, and then May.
The hottest time of the year is late September where highs reach around 31.1°C, dropping to about 23.1°C at night. And if you want dry weather, the best months with the least rain are September, August, and then October.
Can you ever find snow in Cahuita? No, not really. The coldest months are December, January, and February with temperatures still being pretty temperate; at around 26.7°. The least humid month would be March with the most humid month being July.
The winters are usually calm with the windiest months being November, then September, followed by March.
It looks something like this:
- Summer (June through August)
Comfortable weather – August is the second busiest season for tourism in Cahuita, so lodging and other accommodation could cost a bit more.
- Fall (September through November)
Tourism is at its lowest during these months due to the weather, so you might find your accommodation being affordable.
- Winter (December through February)
Winter is a perfect time of the year to visit because the average highs are around 26.7°C and there are not many tourists around.
Generally speaking, the temperatures all year round are on the higher side. There is a lot of rain that falls and which can be expected in every month of the year.
The warmest month is August reaching temperatures that reach maximums of around 30°C. The coldest month is in January, but nevertheless, the temperature can still reach 29°C. July is the wettest month and actually, it’s best to avoid if you don’t want to have your spirits dampened by rain! That makes September as the driest month.
How do you get to Cahuita National Park?
- If you were to visit the park from Puerto Viejo it’s so easy – in fact, there is a bus that leaves the middle of town every half hour Mondays to Fridays, not so often on the weekends. The bus will drop you in the center of Cahuita, Costa Rica. Then you walk a block down to the main road and then go to your right. You will see signs pointing you to the entrance of the Park; it’s that easy.
- If you stay in Cahuita Limon, it’s the same as the walking instructions given above. The bus you want says “Limon to Puerto Viejo” and it meets on the main street along the beach right near the bus ticket office. Each way the bus is around $1.50 USD or 750 Colons. The bus will drop you at the Cahuita bus station.
- There is a direct bus going from downtown San Jose to Cahuita. This is one of the least expensive options and it’s a journey of 120 miles, taking from 3 to 4 hours.
- Otherwise, you can share a shuttle with others such as the Interbus, but you need to book in advance.
What to Bring/Wear to Cahuita National Park
- Have a good pair of shoes – The main trail is like a 5km loop. For that, you will want comfortable footwear if you want to walk the full trail. You can wear sandals if you want because the trail is flat, but the shoes are probably going to be the best.
- Don’t forget your bathing suit – Because there’s every chance you won’t want to miss some snorkeling and swimming; it’s so beautiful, you can’t miss this chance – remember to take your towel too!
- Don’t forget your drinking water – Because it can get very warm whilst hiking on the trail or if you want to spend a long time on the beach. Carry at least 2 liters with you. Remember a water bottle to put your water in.
- Don’t damage the ecosystem – That means staying on the trails and avoiding touching or damaging beautiful nature and that means animals too. Leave only your footprints, not even your shoes! Take plenty of fantastic pics with your camera – don’t forget your camera and your ‘binocs!
- Bring bug spray along – Because the mosquitos can get quite bad.
- Bring your own toilet paper – Because the toilets in the park won’t have toilet paper in them.
- Stay dry and carry your rain jacket – It can rain in any of the months that you are visiting, particularly in June or November. A downpour can occur at any time.
Operating Hours and Fees
Cahuita National Park entrance fee is free, but they do ask for donations and it’s these donations that make this park free to you, so give generously! If you enter the park through the Puerto Vargas section which is closer to Puerto Viejo, it is $5 for foreigners and 1,000 colonies for Costa Ricans.
Hours: 8 am – 4 pm.
Days: Every day.
Activities at Cahuita National Park
- Swimming – there is only one beach where you can swim; that’s suitable for swimming. The southern beach is protected, for nesting of sea turtles. The other beaches have strong currents. You enter the beach at Sendero Punta Cahuita.
- Sunbathing is a very popular activity on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!
- Hiking: Enjoy an exciting hike to the mouth of the River Perezoso if you love the thought of seeing an old 18th-century shipwreck – a stunning landscape to see – you won’t be able to swim at this beach though. Keep to the designated trails and follow directions to protect the ecosystem.
- Walking tours: You can enjoy a walking tour of the area and take in all the local life, taste the local foods, and enjoy all the heritage and traditions of the Ticos. These people have a great history and are relaxed and friendly.
- Go kayaking, mountain biking, or surfing in the Park.
- Visit the indigenous communities of the Cahuita National Park via tour guides.
- There is snorkeling, but the coral is protected, and you will be provided with the equipment along with a guide. The Cahuita reef is still there to see, but it was damaged quite badly in the earthquake of 1991 and so it does not have the same bio-diversity as it had before. Everything though is being done by the Costa Rica National Parks to preserve the coral reef.
- There are great camping opportunities around the park – You can’t camp in the park though. Some people just crave their comforts and luxury, unable to resist the beautiful resorts and hotel accommodations. And they are eco-friendly too.
- Visit the Tree of Life Wildlife Sanctuary: It’s an amazing rehabilitation center and the animals, after good care, are released again. It’s a guided tour which takes you through scenic gardens. Arrange a tour through their website.
Where to Eat
- This amazingly beautiful park is located on the beachfront, with a restaurant and a bar right there, on the beach. You enjoy what nature has to offer; sloths, monkeys and toucans flying around – it’s incredible! Enjoy it all and drink to the beauty and wonder of it all. The restaurant is quaint and rustic and you can sit and watch surfers riding huge rollers while enjoying your meal.
- El Girasol – Italian restaurant with divine pasta dishes.
- El Rincon del Amor – Seafood restaurant.
Where to Sleep
There are many popular hotels to stay in in the Cahuita National Park; we’ve given you just 3. Choose and book the one of your choice through booking.com.
- Hotel Boutique La Casa de las Flores
- Puerto Vargas Lodge
- Hotel La Diosa Resort
Be True to Nature in the Cahuita National Park
Cahuita National Park is truly one of the best national parks in Costa Rica. It’s extremely beautiful, with postcard type stunning white sandy beaches, azure-blue water to duck and dive in, with lush green jungle and colorful animals and birdlife.
It’s also not very far from Puerto Viejo and it’s free to get in, although it does rely on donations.
That makes it a must-do if you are in the Caribbean south. If you’re a keen nature, hiking, and animal lover, you mustn’t miss out on not seeing Cahuita National Park.
Its real reason for its existence is to protect the coral reefs which lie just off the coast. You should just nurture nature to get nurtured by nature because by discovering nature, you discover yourself.
Photo Special Thanks to: https://unsplash.com/@etiennedelorieux