When you are walking through Cahuita National Park keep your eyes out for the Capuchin monkeys (mono cariblanco)! I'd say tourist must have been feeding them....they are pretty brave & seem to come out of no where! Don't be surprized if they are only a few inches above your head at times.....and all around your feet too! They are quite the little thieves too so watch your belongings! They followed us along the path for quite a ways until they were distracted by some tourists that were picnicing on the beach.
Many people are still feeding the monkeys which is NOT good for anyone. The white faced monkeys are very organized and intelligent and having become accustomed to getting foods from humans, they have taken to become very aggressive and will take food from you. Now I didn't do this at all, but I had a package of muffins buried in my bag. When I was wading in the water, a monkey crept up, forraged through my bag and ran off with the food! Keep an eye on your stuff and while losing food isn't too big a deal, I have heard that the monkeys are known to take off with cameras and necklaces etc. just because they are shiny and interesting. They are very SMART and sometimes, one monkey will create a diversion to distract humans while the others come in and take things from peoples bags. It is kind of funny but beware. Other than that, I didnt feel insecure in the park at all!
Cahuita has been trying for some time to clean up its bad image. After a shocking event, locals have been trying to prove to the world that the town does not have a violence problem, but rather that tourists are naive and negligent. I agree with this statement to some extent; if you get yourself into sticky situations you are only asking for trouble. The town is warm, receptive, and friendly - there are no sentiments of hostility or violence.
So what exactly am I talking about?
There has been an underlying drug problem on the Caribbean Coast, but it generally does not interfere with tourism. Two young women were murdered here in 2000. Not completely aware of the entire situation, I know that locals say that these two young girls were merely asking for trouble by acting reckless. Be aware of your surroundings; thefts are common if you leave valuables laying on the beach. Don't walk along the beaches at night, especially alone. Don't get yourself involved with the drug scene. There is beach camping available in the national park, but I wouldn't recommend staying there because people say that the cage is easily broken into. As long as you are a wise traveler, you should not encounter any dangerous situations.
Please turn off you're flash . It is a privlidge to beable to photograph these animlas . They are in their home. Thye monkeys are momemtarily blinded by flashes as they sail through the trees. I noticed how camera shy the monkeys in Manuel Antonio are and I realized they recognize the digital camera!! In Cahuita they are still innocent . Please lets keep it that way!!
...I think these are vultures, but I am no bird expert. These jet black birds hop and run funnily while on land, but once they ascend into the air their wings spread wide and they glide gracefully. That is what I found so funny about these birds; they certainly didn't adapt well to live on land. The vultures circled around the beaches in search for food, but as they couldn't find any fresh meat they would commonly be tearing through the trash left at the campsite. So if you decide to camp out here, keep your food safe and stored away. Also don't litter or you'll be paid a visit by swarms of these silly creatures.
Hmm I have never had to endure such an experience, so I shouldn't use such a simile without actually knowing so...
These fire ants are everywhere and when they bite you beware to endure intense stinging and itching.
More interesting are their neighbors, the leaf-cutter ants. You'll see trails of ants carrying small pieces of leaves that they have cut out, and they carry them to their nest. They don't actually eat the leaves but rather feed them to a fungus that grows within their nest that they eventually feed on. These ants are indigenous to Central America and the northern part of South America, so it is a pretty unique experience to see them. If I were desperate for food and were stranded out in the jungle, maybe I would follow a trail of leaf-cutters and find their nest so that I could nourish myself on their nasty fungus.
It is important to remember that it rains a huge amount at night often times. You do not see this water because in the tropics it runs off via the ground water. When you swim in the waters just off of the jungle, a river or creek may manifest itself 50 offshore and create rip currents. I almost lost my companion whom spoke of his water prowess. He was not expecting a sudden drop in the floor and flush out to deeper water. The water is still flowing though unseen to the eye. Make sure you are water savvy when swimming in unfamiliar waters.