Cahuita and Puerto Vargas National Park
Cahuita National Park Shore Excursion
The largest town in the South of Limon is Cahuita. A four mile natural trail leads from Cahuita to Puerto Vargas, beyond Cahuita Point.
The walk takes about two hours, but hikers will definitely want to stop frequently for a picnic, for a swim in warm Caribbean waters, to gape at the Howler Monkeys in the tree top high overhead or to focus their binoculars on a Green Ibis of Green and Rufous kingfisher.
The National Park was formed to protect one of the last living reefs in Costa Rica. Unfortunately, sedimentation from expanding banana plantations and deforestation in the Talamanca Mountains and the last earthquake have killed much of the reef close to the shore. Snorkelers can try their luck near Cahuita Point or Puerto Vargas. In these waters scientists have counted 35 species of coral, including elk horn, brain coral and Venus sea fan, and 123 species of tropical fish. Snorkeling equipment is available. Box lunch is included.
Our fee for the tour: $79.99 per person
Includes: Round Trip Transportation to the pier and a Bilingual tour guide.
What to bring: Sun Glasses, Mosquito Repellent, Binoculars, Camera and Sun Block, Comfortable Shoes.
Cahuita National Park
Cahuita National Park: Despite having miles and miles of tropical coastline, Costa Rica has very little coral reef development. Cahuita National Park was created in 1970 to protect one of the few such areas in the country, and thus became Costa Rica’s first marine national park (about 600 of the 1,067 hectares protected by the park are under water).
Unfortunately, there is not much live coral left at Cahuita, although an interesting assortment of marine life can be seen if the water conditions offer much visibility. While admiring the colorful fish and curious coral formations, be careful not to bump into any of the black spiny sea urchins, they’re very painful, and very abundant in these waters.
The relatively small area of “dry” land contained in the park is quite swampy and has no trails going through it other than the trail along the beach from the village of Cahuita to the ranger station area at Puerto Vargas on the opposite side of Cahuita Point (about 7 km.). Sloths, monkeys, lizards, crabs, and many kinds of birds can be seen on the walk.
Getting there: Cahuita is located 42 km. south of Puerto Limón. From the south end of the village of Cahuita, access to the park is by foot trail. To drive into the park, go past the turn offs for the village and continue south until the sign for Puerto Vargas. Buses to and from Limón run several times a day.
Climate: Like the rest of the Caribbean lowlands, Cahuita is very warm and humid, with a chance of rain any day of the year.
History: Most of the original residents of the village of Cahuita were black people who had come to Costa Rica via Jamaica in the latter part of the 1800′s to build the railroad or work the banana plantations. This cultural influence is still very much present in this and the other small coastal towns to the south (Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo).