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Cahuita Nacional Park

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6.794, 27/12/82 Talamanca, Limón 1,068 ha land
22,400 ha sea

Friendship Caribic and Friendship Atlantic Conservation Area, Limón, Talamanca

This is one of the most beautiful parks in the country. The main attractions are its white sand beaches, miles of coconut trees, calm clear sea and coral reef. This coral reef, which is on a large platform, extends an a fan shape off Cahuita Point between the River Perezoso and Puerto Vargas, and is the only well developed one in Costa Rica's Caribbean coastline. It is of the marginal type with an outer crest and a kind of internal lagoon, and is made of residue of old coral, exposed sand, patches of living coral and underwater meadows of turtle grass (Thalassia testudinum).

The most abundant corals on the coral reef are elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and brain corals (Diploria strigosa) and (Colcophyllia natans). There are also lots of sea urchins and Venus sea fans (Gorgonia flabellum). 35 species of coral, 140 species of molluscs, 44 crustaceans, 128 algae, 3 halophytic phanerogams and 123 fishes have so far been identified. Some of the latter, such as the queen angelfish (Holocanthus ciliaris) and the rock beauty (Holacantus tricolor) are spectacularly colourful.

Most of Punta Cahuita is a swamp in a depression between the coral Platform and the mainland. One common tree here is the cativo (Prioria copaifera). Other habitats present in the park are mixed non-flooded forest, mangrove swamps and coastal vegetation with an abundance of coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) and sea grapes (Coccoloba uvifera).

Among the most common mammals are howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata), whose calls can be heard up to 16 km away; crab-eating racoon (Procyon cancrivorus) and white-nosed coatis (Nasua narica). In the swamp there are usually green ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis), yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea) and the boat-billed heron (Cochlearius cochlearius), can bee seen in colonies of 50 or more. The remains of a slave trade boat that was shipwrecked in the second half of the eighteenth century, north of the mouth of the River Perezoso constitutes the park's most important cultural resource.

Cahuita is located south of Puerto Limón on the Caribbean coast. The offices are in the town of Cahuita on the outskirts of the park. Limón is 49 km from Cahuita. There is a path along the beach that joins the offices with Puerto Vargas where there are camping sites with tables, toilets and drinking water, and an exhibition hall. Both in Puerta Vargas and around Cahuita there is safe bathing. Bus services operate between San José and Cahuita and Limón - Cahuita. In Cahuita, there are hotels, boarding houses, restaurants and markets.

For hotels in Cahuita click here
For public bus services click here
For private bus services click here click here

Cahuita Nacional Park, Limón, TalamancaCahuita Nacional Park, Limón, Talamanca
Cahuita Nacional Park, Limón, TalamancaCahuita Nacional Park, Limón, Talamanca