Cahuita National Park: coral beaches, raccoons and snorkeling

Are you in Puerto Viejo (Costa Rica) and want to visit the Cahuita National Park (Limón)? The beach is amazing, and you can snorkel and see raccoons!

👉 I’ll tell you what Cahuita National Park is like, how to get there and what to do, where to stay and the entrance fee

Cahuita National Park (Costa Rica)

  1. National Park Cahuita highlights
  2. Is Cahuita worth visiting?
  3. Price from the Cahuita entrance
  4. Cahuita National Park Hours
  5. How many days in Cahuita?
  6. How to get to Cahuita (Limón)
  7. How to get to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
  8. Tours and activities in Costa Rica
  9. What to do near Cahuita
  10. Is it a safe place to travel?
  11. Eating Vegan in Costa Rica

Cahuita NAtional PArk

If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica (👉COSTA RICA GUIDE), you should know that it is a country characterized by the beauty of its beaches, mountains, volcanoes and the diversity of its wildlife.


If you’re not a citizen, here you can check the ✅REQUIREMENTS and get the VISA, and so you can travel peacefully without worrying about your health and safety, here you’ll find a 💥 TRAVEL INSURANCE. And don’t forget to get 🏠10€/10$ DISCOUNT on ACCOMODATION!


Is Cahuita (Costa Rica) worth visiting?

Cahuita National Park offers a beautiful natural landscape and, in addition, it is a very well preserved natural area. It is worth visiting the park for the beauty of its beaches, and the fauna that you can see (both terrestrial and aquatic).

It should be mentioned that the trip has a very low price and that you can afford it even if you are taveling on a tight budget.

Cahuita National Park highlights

Cahuita National Park is a mandatory stop during your trip through Puerto Viejo. It is a protected area where nature, fauna and wild beaches flood the entire territory.

I will tell you about the main attractions of the Cahuita National Park and I will give you a couple of recommendations to visit it.

Important! The park has two entrances: one through Playa Blanca and one to the north of the park. And the other through Puerto Vargas, which is a little further south and in front of the Comadre stop.

Recommendations in Cahuita

  • It is preferable to go on a weekday, since the beaches get more crowded during the weekend (that’s what I did and it was super quiet).
  • It is better that you go early in the morning, since the route through the park is about 10km and there are many beautiful corners to enjoy.
  • Bring some sun protection, since some beaches have little vegetation and you can burn yourself with ease.

Beaches and raccoons

The place seemed wonderful to me: the beaches are full of pieces of coral, fallen trees and palm trees. The landscape is incredible, and if you follow the coast you will find some beautiful beaches.

There is also a lot of fauna, although I only got some very friendly raccoons, white-faced monkeys like the ones in the photo below, and also howler monkeys.

playa del parque nacional cahuita talamanca costa rica

Where can I snorkel in Cahuita?

For snorkel lovers, it should be noted that the Cahuita reef is one of the most developed coral reefs on the Caribbean coast. and one of the most important in Costa Rica.

Fish and coral can be seen in the areas of Punta Cahuita and Punta Vargas. On the shore you will find people with boats that can take you out to sea for the price you agree on.

Jungle Path

If the heat overwhelms you or you want to change the landscape a bit, there is a trail that runs along the entire coast of Cahuita through the interior.

It is perfect to see its rich flora, and try to hear and see the howler monkeys that are found in the trees.

How much does it cost to get into Cahuita National Park?

Prices change depending on the ticket you use. You have two options: enter through Playa Blanca or through Puerto Vargas.

Playa Blanca Entry

In theory, the entrance fee to the park is based on a voluntary donation; Even if you don’t trust it 100%.

I was with a guy from Costa Rica and they didn’t tell us to give anything; instead, the tourists behind us seem to be paying the donation on a mandatory basis.

ticket price in Puerto Vargas

In this entrance you have to pay the ticket in a mandatory way. These are the prices depending on age and country of residence:

  • Foreigners: 5 $US. If you only have colones, don’t worry because you can also pay in the country’s currency
  • Resident nationals over 13 years old: 1,000 CRC (approximately €1.60).
  • National children and residents under 13 years of age: 500 CRC
mono cariblanco en el parque nacional cahuita

Cahuita National Park Schedule

In this case there are also differences between the entrance of Playa Blanca and Puerto Vargas. These are the schedules of each one:

Playa Blanca Schedule

This entrance is open every day between 6:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m..

Puerto Vargas Schedule

In this case, you can also access the park every day of the week but only from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m..

How many days in Cahuita?

You can take Cahuita as a day trip or as a base camp to visit the Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo area.

In the first case, I recommend you do a full day excursion. Arrive in the morning with some sandwiches in your backpack and walk around and enjoy the park quietly until the afternoon.

If you decide to stay a few days in the town of Cahuita, I would tell you to stay at least 3 full days: one to see Cahuita, the other to go to the Manzanillo National Park and another to see Puerto Viejo and the nearby beaches.

Although with 3 days you would have a general idea of ​​the area, Costa Rica is not a place to go in a hurry, so it is always better to have more than enough time.

How to get to Cahuita National Park

The Cahuita National Park is located in the province of Limón, between the capital of the province and the town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. From Puerto Viejo, there are two ways to get to Cahuita National Park on your own: by bike or by bus. I tell you how to do it in both cases and the price of each option:

How to get to Cahuita by Bike

From Puerto Viejo, you can easily go by bike. The road is not lost, since you only have to follow the coastal road in the direction of Limón. Keep in mind the weather, as Costa Rica can get very hot.

The cheapest bikes are around US$4 or US$5 a day, but don’t expect any wonders: these are somewhat old bikes and the gear change may not work properly.

How to get to Cahuita by Bus

If you prefer comfort and speed, I recommend going by bus.

Departing from Puerto Viejo, it takes approximately 30 minutes to get there and the ticket costs 800CRC bought at the store (ticket office). On the way back, if you buy the ticket directly on the bus, it may cost you more (990CRC), that’s what happened to me.

If you want to enter through Playa Blanca, the closest bus stop is the one in the town of Cahuita itself. 

How to get to Puerto Viejo

Below I tell you how to get there from two different places: San José (the capital) and Tortuguero.

How to get to Puerto Viejo from San José

The trip from San José is not a problem, and you can do it by bus or minibus. The journey takes a total of 4.5 to 5 hours to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

👉 Check out the shuttle prices from San José to Puerto Viejo

I leave you all the detailed explanation of the trip from San José to Puerto Viejo, with extra information about the journey.

How to get to Puerto Viejo from Tortuguero

This is the most cumbersome route, since Tortuguero is isolated by road and can only be accessed by boat.

  • The more comfortable option is to go by shuttle + boat. It is faster, since you save all the transfers that you have to do if you go by bus and they take you directly to the agreed place.

👉 Shuttle + boat prices from Tortuguero

  • If you decide to go by bus + boat, you will have to make different transfers until you reach Puerto Viejo, and then take a last bus to Playa Chiquita (not the most comfortable option). I leave you all the steps to get to Puerto Viejo from Tortuguero. Remember to go with time to spare!

Useful stuff for your trip to Costa Rica

Below, you will find some products that will be very useful during your trip to Costa Rica.

In addition, the options that I recommend are committed to the environment/social causes and are vegan.

Waterproof windbreaker

vegan+ environment commitment

Carrying a waterproof windbreaker in your suitcase is essential in case temperatures drop, it rains unexpectedly, or to go hiking.

When traveling, it’s important to choose a jacket that is lightweight, takes up little space and that you can use in different situations; that is to say, that transpires, is waterproof and has a hood to protect you properly from bad weather.

👉 Price for MAN and for WOMAN

Gopro 11 Black

The GOPRO 11 (👉 PRICE) is a great choice if you are visiting natural areas, practicing adventure sports or want to make videos underwater, e.g. while scuba diving or snorkeling.

In addition, with its stabilization and Horizon Lock function, it will allow you to make incredibly stable videos even in adverse situations (such as walking, running or riding a motorcycle). In addition, it comes with an amazing 5.3k image quality.

👉 GOPRO 11 PRICE + specs

3-in-1 hiking shoes

vegan + environment commitment

These La Sportiva shoes are designed to run in the mountains, thanks to this you can use them for hiking, go out to run and do tourism ; saving space in your suitcase.

They are made with goretex, which means they protect you from the inclement weather weather (such as rain, ice or cold) and are adherent to the ground. This makes them ideal for traveling due to their versatility.

👉 Price for MAN and for WOMAN

Tours in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country with a wide variety of fauna and nature. You can visit volcanoes, natural parks, towering waterfalls, sunbathe on the beach, kayak,…

I’ll list some of the activities and tours you can enjoy during your trip:

What to do near Cahuita

The Cahuita National Park is one of the many activities and places you can visit in the Puerto Viejo area.

Next, I will tell you about some of the beaches and parks that are really worth visiting during your stay in the Limón region. I hope you enjoy them!

Black Beach

Playa Negra is located in the town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, and is different from the other beaches of the area by the dark color of its sand . It is a very long beach (more than 10 km) and quiet, which makes it a good place to go for a run .

Another curious aspect of this place is the ship that is stranded on the shore for years. You will be able to snorkel and see some small fish, since over time a small reef has been formed.

If you are interested in surfing or want to learn this sport, the waves of Playa Negra are ideal for beginners, and at On the side of the sunken ship, groups of people gather (either independently or as part of instructor-led courses).

cocles beach

If you are thinking about practicing or learning to surf during your trip to Costa Rica, Playa Cocles is one of the best options in the Costa Rican Caribbean area.

If you don’t have your own gear, you’ll find people renting surfboards right on the beach; And, surely, if you ask, they will be able to recommend an instructor, since it is a good place for beginners.

Although it is a bit far from Puerto Viejo, but you will find places to stay, restaurants and a small supermarket. It is also well connected by bus or on foot.

The beach itself is quite long and has a nice viewpoint where you can see the entire coast. It has fewer facilities (hotels and restaurants) than Puerto Viejo, but you can spend a few days there perfectly.

MANZANILLO NATIONAL PARK

The Manzanillo National Park is a natural park made up of different beaches where you can see dolphins, enjoy virgin beaches and you can even learn about the nesting of turtles.

The beaches are really beautiful, with palm trees full of coconuts, small secluded coves and kilometers of sand. It is an unmissable place and you should visit if you are in Talamanca. 

If you like aquatic life, you should know that the Manzanillo National Park has the best preserved coral reef on the Atlantic coast and is an ideal place to practice snorkeling and diving. Here you can observe sea turtles, manatees and dolphins in their natural habitat.

In addition, crocodiles and alligators also live in the interior area, although to see them I recommend that you hire a tour.

Punta Uva

Punta Uva is very close to Chiquita beach and can be reached on foot. It is a virgin beach where you can do snorkeling and diving , although the fun does not end here.

On the beach itself you can rent a kayak to make an excursion through the lagoon and, with a bit of luck, you will see crocodiles!

In addition, it has a cooler area with a small forest with some beautiful huge trees, which is ideal for a picnic, and it has a nice viewpoint from where you can see a beautiful panoramic view of the Caribbean coast.

Is Costa Rica Safe to Travel? 

Costa Rica is a moderately dangerous country, where nothing should happen to you if you go carefully and take precautions. Remember to follow these recommendations:

  • In case of robbery, do not resist physically.
  • Do not show a high purchasing power, that is, do not go with jewels, bags, etc … that are expensive.
  • Be careful if you go out at night, and stay in crowded places where you are surrounded by other people.
  • Thefts are usual, so don’t go with the camera or mobile in your hand or hang out of your neck.
  • Try to avoid carrying the backpack on the back. Put it in front of you, or use a belt pouch or a cross bag.

Personally, I spent 3 months traveling alone in Costa Rica (I visited San José, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Dominical, Uvita, Bay Drake and Puerto Jiménez) and I did not find myself in any really serious situation.

Going down the street with the camera, several Costa Rican people approached and warned me that they were carefully with robberies, since they told me that they are very frequent.

In my case, during the trip they tried to steal 2 times and, luckily, I realized on time and I could avoid it. In any case, it is always a good idea to have travel insurance that can compensate you financially and help you if a medical emergency occurs.

👉 If you are interested in traveling alone, I recommend this article about the reasons and benefits of traveling alone and this other article with tips for traveling alone being a woman. I encourage you to try it since it is a great and very profitable experience for oneself.

Eating Vegan in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is not a country faced with vegan food. Anyway, they have some traditional dishes that are vegan or that you can ask without egg or sauces such as the pico of rooster (rice with beans for breakfast), black bean soup or rice with vegetables.

You should always ask if the purés or soups are made with some type of dairy product or meat broth, since at first glance they might seem vegan dishes but not be.

In San José you can find some vegan restaurants, but when you leave the capital the offer is very limited or non -existent. Next, I make three recommendations and in this link you can read tips to travel vegan.

  1. Try to stay in hotels that are characterized by cooking vegan and vegetarian dishes. This is the best option and the most practical for not having to be looking for places where to eat comfortable without always repeating the same dishes.
  2. Before going on a tour that includes a meal, always mention that you are vegan or vegetarian, so that they can adapt the food.
  3. Costa Rica is a country where you can find a variety of fresh products (fruits and vegetables) to prepare salads and breakfast with fruits. In any city or town, you will easily find some supermarket or stalls on the street where you can buy groceries.

Have a great time in Cahuita and enjoy your trip to the fullest!