Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center & Botanical Gardens is a piece of paradise in Cahuita. The owners take care of many different (displaced) animals as if they were their own children.
All animals have plenty of space, so they created a real cozy park for them to recover.
They are socially involved, as they teach lessons to school classes.
In the botanical garden they even grow their own pepper.
When near Cahuita, you must pay them a visit. Don't miss them!
This is an easy walk for just about anyone....young or old. The sandy path is flat & there are only a few small roots crossing the path here & there. There is wildlife everywhere! We saw dozens of monkeys...Capuchin (Mono cariblanco) & Howlers (Mono congo) as well as Racoons (Mapache norteno) & Aguotis (Guatusas) that look like giant Guinea pigs. We also came within 2 or 3 feet of a sleeping three-toed sloth (Perezoso de tres dedos). Wow!!!He/she looked pretty comfy all stretched out only 4 feet off the ground. Walking at an easy pace it took us about 3+ hours.....we made it back in under 45 minutes because we were trying to beat nightfall....we sure didn't want to be caught out there with all those wild critters after dark!!
I'd say the best bet is to start at Puert Vargas so that you end up in Cahuita & can rest & have a drink etc. If you start at the town end then when you come out at Puerto Vargas there is no place close to get a drink & the only way back to Cahuita is through the park or along the main road.
After a walk of about 1,5 kilometres north from Cahuita you'll end up at the special beach Playa Negra; one of the two beaches around the town. The most special thing about this beach is that the sand is very dark, sometimes close to black. The sand gets so dark because of the breakdown of the dark coral just before the coastline. At some parts of the beach you can even see this dried coral above the surface of the water.
The Playa Negra is a good place for surfing, the nature directly at the beach is surprising but beautiful: not only palmtrees here, but also trees with orange leaves and flowers above the black sand. For over 2 kilometres this pristine beach is all yours if you are lucky, because it is absolutely not overrun by tourism (yet) here.
And in the direct surroundings of the beach you can find campings, a few guesthouses, bars and restaurants.
The nicest thing about Cahuita, if you ask me, is just walking around in the centre of the town and feel the atmosphere that is completely different from the rest of Costa Rica. Around the dirtroads that cross the centre you only see (semi)wooden houses, often with colourfull paintings, the black people hanging around in front of them, chatting in the streets, playing football or cycling around. And everywhere you come you hear the reggae music pumping out of the speakers.
A walk through the town doesn't take you too long because Cahuita is a pretty small place, so the best way to get a nice view of the "citylife" is by taking a seat at one of the cafes around the mainstreet through town and enjoy it for an hour or so.
Meeting Walter " Mr. Gavitt" Ferguson was a highlight of our most recent trip in December 2007.
In 2005 wanting to buy a CD of local music we found one by "Mr. Gavitt" called "Dr. Bombadee". Once back in Canada we played it & absolutely loved his way of singing about his caribe history. On a trip in 2006 we bought his other CD "Babylon" & loved it too. Finally in 2007 we got up the nerve to actually meet him. Before we did though we purchaed another copy of his second CD "Dr. Bombadee" & asked if he would sign it. When we arrived at his home it was such a coincidence that he was sitting on his porch singing along to the very same CD! What a wonderful & interesting man. He was more than happy to sign the CD & we had a very pleasant conversation with him. After that we saw & chatted with him daily at the Sol y Mar restaurant where he spends his mornings & evenings. He is around 83 years old & going blind. If you do buy one of his CD's don't hestitate to go & meet him & get his autograph before it is too late.
A great way to spend half a day in Cahuita is to book a snorkelling trip onto the reef. As it is a protected area all snorkelling must be done with a guide, the advantage of this is that you get taken on a boat out onto the reef and shown where all the best spots are.
I saw hundreds of fish as well as a nurse shark.
Cost: $20 US dollars, 10,000 colones includes snorkel and fin hire
If you book through Willies Tours you get free high speed internet access
PLEASE WEAR SUNSCREEN
The sloth Sanctuary is a great way to get up close and personal with these really cute animals, they have adults and babys, some of which they will let you touch. There is a video and then a guided tour of the sanctuary and an introduction to the babys. There is also the resident "pet" sloth named Buttercup who was the first sloth treated by the sanctuary.
Price: 15 US dollars or 750 colones
Donation to enter, you will see a variety of wildlife. Leafcutter ants by the million, crabs by the hundred, giant spiders, monkeys, lizards and even a sloth.
The trail last for about 4 miles through the park and runs alongside the beach.
When you get to the end, there is a small bar/cafe with a pool.
You then either have to walk all the way back, or wait for the bus. The bus took about 2 hours to arrive. Take your pick.
This was the first time I saw them even though I looked many times. We were luckey to see a few of them directly above us in the park . The people at the park entrance have a pretty good idea where they hang our so you can get some idea before you head out. They are pretty cudly looking and move likein a yoga routine!
They are my favorite and one of the easiest places to spot them is Nat. Park Cahuita. I love watching them as they eat and fly through the trees . We've tromped all over other parks in Costa Rica but we always get a good look at them inthe Nat. Park Cahuita
In the first river that flows into the park are two ..big caymen. We watched them for a long time . The owner of our hotel feeds then chicken heads. There's a turtle that stays close to them...they've been friends for years!
This guy is gorgeous and deadly! We spotted him just a couple of feet from the path in the Nat. Park Cahuita. He was twirled around a twig ..hoping for a humming bird or whatever. Looked harmles but his bite will have you dead in less than an hour. Hope no one touched him!
This is the best deal in Costa Rica. Entry fee is by donation . You can spend all day in this park . There are tons of animals and wildlife ...and a gorgeous white sand beach. Some people just enter and walk along the trail to the beach ...admiring the howler monkeys . Others come for the nature walk. We did both!! Closes at 5 PM
Well we don't know what this part of the park is actually called or if it has a name. You have to hike through the park from the Kelly Walker Entrance past the 4 km mark and past Punta Cahuita. After about an hour, you will come to this part of the Park which I discovered- it is relatively isolated and few people visit it. The beach is gorgeous and the water is crystal clear and super calm. The coral reef is right there- though the park rules say you have to have a guide in order to snorkel, you can bring a pair of goggles and only a few feet from shore, you can see a variety of tropical fish and the coral- do not touch the coral as it destroys the reef but can also seriously cut you.
Watch out for: monkeys tring to steal your food (leave food sealed and in zipped bags) and jelly fish (there are a number of them in the reef.
I am not the biggest fan of black sand beaches but there are several in the opposite direction of the park beyond town. You can rent bikes to explore them and they are fairly secluded. I do prefer white sand and the best of those are in the park.