Forget the reggae, the beers and the surf. If you visit Cahuita for one thing let it be the wildlife.
Cahuita is one of Costa Rica’s only free national parks and while this certainly helps a backpacker’s budget, I encourage anyone to give a healthy donation for the job this team do in maintaining the park and conserving its inhabitants.
To list every type of creature I saw in my nine days there would make for a long read. Instead I’ll guide you through with handful of photos of just some of Cahuita’s most notable locals.
At my cabin: A female iguana casually ignores the advances of a huge orange male in the trees above my hammock.
2 minutes from my cabin: In the heat of the day, a sloth seeks shade at the centre of a palm.
At my cabin: A male Cherrie’s Tanager eagerly pursues the less colourful female.
At the national park entrance: A blue heron silently waits for his lunch to come to him in the shallows.
At the national park entrance: An Agami heron sits in a secluded spot behind the main trail.
15 minutes into the national park: A band of racoons scour the beach and its surrounds for crabs.
30 minutes into the national park: Capuchin monkeys swing down to inspect the humans busy inspecting them.
40 minutes into the national park: A tiny black and yellow jumping spider is invisible to most.
1 hour into the national park: It’s hermit crab central as hundreds make their way across the path into the hollow trunks of trees.
1 hour 30 minutes into the park: A Jesus Christ Lizard scuttles quickly out of my way.
1 hour 40 minutes into the park: A Tropical Banded Gecko sits shyly in the undergrowth.
2 hours into the park: A large troop of Howler Monkeys seek shade in the high canopy. Their hook-like tails allowing them to use both hands to eat berries.
2 hours into the park: Did this little guy make it? He did! A mother Howler Monkey encourages her baby to make a big leap to the next tree.
2 hours 30 minutes into the park: A notorious local; A Yellow Eyelash Viper coils itself against the roots of a huge tree at the edge of a mangrove swamp.
For more descriptions of Cahuita National Park and its varied species you can read my previous post: Hummingbirds At Breakfast.