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Cahuita National Park
Just 20km north of Puerto Viejo you’ll find Cahuita National Park. There are two entrances to the national park, the south entrance in Puerto Vargas which brings you about 2km into the park or the main entrance to the north in “downtown” Cahuita. Pay a small entrace fee at the Cahuita entrance which supports the maintenance of the park and enjoy 8km of well tended trails and bridges through the jungle following the long sandy beaches dotted with occasional picnic tables and many animals, reptiles and birds. You will surely feel invited to take a break and dip in the gorgeous waters.
In the park you will find a great diversity of birds, mamals, amphibians, repitiles and insects. In cahuita you have the chance of see are three types of monkey’s native to the South Caribbean of Costa Rica; the whiteface monkey, howler monkey and spider monkey. Not to mention sloths, racoons (there is no rabies in Costa Rica!), coatis, agoatis, snakes, iguanas, basilik lizards and a rainbow of small retiles, frogs and insects.
It is possible the most spectacular part of Cahuita National park is the water itself. You can find some of the best coral formations in the South Caribbean coast in Cahuita. The good conditions and tranquility of the ocean make Cahuita one of the best places to snorkel, when the waters are calm and clear.
This is a beautiful park for all…immense, beautiful with things for everyone to see and enjoy.
Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge
Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge is found in the extreme South East Caribbean coast of Costa Rica making up the shoreline border to Panama.
Let’s start with Manzanillo and the long sandy white beaches lined by palm trees, small boats moared waiting for the next trip to begin, children playing soccer on the beach. Passing Maxi’s Restaurant the road just…ends…and that is where the adventure starts. You can walk along the beach and through the jungle refuge, keeping in mind that this is protected land, but not maintained as a National Park. The trail is obvious for the first half hour taking you to an ubiqutous look out point at One Tree Island and the surrounding pristine beaches, then becomes a jungle trail going 6km to Punta Mona coming out near the Organic farm. You are lucky if its been dry, nightly rains keep the jungle humid, but this also makes the trek more of an adventure!
Doing well you will reach the look out of One Tree Island and the first untouched wild beaches and for those with the deep spirit of adventure you might go all the way to Punta Mona where you can see an incredible variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Every afternoon there is a boat leaving Punta Mona at aprox 4pm. The price is $50 per boat, not per person.
If you prefer you can take a local guide to hike, fish, snorkel or just take a boat ride down the coast. The truth is that hiking with a good guide makes it easy to find wildlife. the forests are really thick and without a well-trained eye finding these amazing species can be difficult. We personally in these cases, like to work with local guides. It is a way to help the community and the best way to know a place is the hand that live there. They are the ones who know where to find the most beautiful corners and where the sloths hides.
The tour by sea, offers a priviledged view of our wonderful coastline. And Manzanillo is the wildest by far of the South Caribbean. The entire coast from Manzanillo to Punta Mona is a treat for the senses. Its small beaches, rocks and lush elegant vegatacion overflowing the cliffs and rock outrockings. Passing towards Punta Mona and into the more open waters you have the oportuindad to see the dolphins. Painted Atlantic Dolphins, the Bottlenose Dolphin and the Dolphin Tucuxi: three species the waters of Punta Mona are known for. After a visit to Punta Mona Organic Farm and back and if the seas are willing – good snorkeling in Manzanillo!
In Gandoca you can enjoy a tour of the wetlands and during egg-laying season, Gandoca has great privilidge to host the giant Leatherback Turtles. If you are lucky enough to see them, you will never forget this experience!
Tortuguero National Park
TORTUGUERO NATIONAL PARK This National Park merits its name in capitals. Costa Rica, in our opinion, offers two extremely amazing wild jungles. The Osa Penisula (in the South Pacific) and Tortuguero, which is called the Amazon of the Ticos (the name for the Costa Rican people).
The voyage to enter Tortuguero is a spectacular boat ride from the Moin port of Limon or the shorter boat ride from La Pavona. Once your adventure leaves the ocean and enters the mangrove canals you will see more and more of what brought you here. Beautiful lush jungles, amazing anmials and sights in this extreme park. Tortuguero is extreme as it is a small tongue of land found between ocean and rivers. Surrounded by water and full of spectacular diversity.
During turtle egg laying seasons you have the opportunity watch a moment of time that you will never forget in the dark of the night. The turtles wait for the perfect moment of the beach and then go to work at the ancient ritual of burying their eggs.
And for an early morning treat, take a kayak tour of the canals, with no motor and the jungle in the process of going to sleep or waking up, the canals offer the best of the magic of the jungle and her inhabitants. Birds, monkeys, caymens….
Something not to be missed on your trip to Costa Rica.
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