Travel Guide Central America Costa Rica Cahuita



Humid Forest

Humid Forest

© Locatelli

Cahuita is a city in the Limón Province in Costa Rica, located along the Caribbean coast. It is the gateway to the Cahuita National Park.

Cahuita is a rustic alternative to the more touristic spots found further south. The town consists of a main street that runs off the highway and goes all the way to the ocean. Located here are a small selection of restaurants and bars and a bank and a grocery store. Leading away form the main street are mainly dusty dirt roads with guest houses and local residents.

There are two beaches within walking distance of Cahurita. They are Playa Negra, a dark sand beach that has good waves for beginner surfers, and Playa Blanco, a white sand beach located within the picturesque Cahuita National Park.



Sights and Activities

  • Aviarios del Caribe (10 km north of town. Take the local bus to Limon and get off 1 kilometre after the bus crosses the two-lane iron-girdered bridge that spans the Río Estrella. There are big signs at the side of the road in both directions.). The worlds only sloth rehabilitation center. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to get up close to one of the world's least understood creatures. A tour lasts about 2 hours and includes a boat tour. Groups welcome. Drinks available in shop, but no food. Tour/entrance fee is US$25pp.
  • Playa Negra (Black Beach) (North of town). A decent swimming beach running for several kilomteres along the sea coast northwest of town. As the name suggest, the sand is dark-colored; it is also very fine, almost like mud; while the place is good for swimming, it is not particularly photogenic.
  • Cahuita National Park (Entrance south of the town center). There is a also a little white-sand beach just inside the park entrance. Much more photogenic than Playa Negra



By Car

Cahuita is fairly straightforward to get to as it is located on a main highway (Route 36) that runs from Puerto Limon to the Panama border.

Taxis from Puerto Limon cost US$15. Taxis from San José cost $150.

By Bus

There are several buses departing San José to Cahuita from 06:00 till 16:00. Typically, these buses have Sixaola (Costa Rica's border town on the border with Panama) as their destination. Note that San José has many bus terminals, and the location of the terminal from which buses to Cahuita and Sixaola leave may change. As of the late 2013, schedule and map brochures distributed by the tourist authorities in San José still showed Terminal del Caribe as these buses' point of origin, but the location has changed to the San Carlos bus terminal. Before traveling, try to get the latest update from the bus company or from your hotel.

According to schedules, the travel time from San José to Cahuita on a direct bus is 4 hours, but you should add at least 30 min. Although the buses are direct, they make a fairly long stop in Puerto Limon, where you can get a quick meal at a bus station restaurant.

There are also slower (local service) buses running hourly between Puerto Limon and Sixaola; they, too, stop at Cahuita. From San José the cost is about US$4 and from Limon about $1.50.

Interbus runs services between Cahuita and San José for around US$35 per person taking 3-4hours.



Getting Around

The town is fairly small and can easily be navigated by foot. For getting to the beaches and your accommodation however, you may prefer to rent a bicycle.




Restaurants are pretty expensive for Latin America, with prices in line with those in the US (budget US$15-20 for a meal); many serve good local fish.




There is lodging of all price ranges here. On Playa Negra you can camp for free right on the beach for one night or ask in the hostels if they allow you to pitch your tent in the yard for a couple of dollars. In exchange you can use their showers and restrooms.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)



Keep Connected


It's easy to find internet access, and although you can still can find a lot of internet cafes, wifi is growing fast in the country. The further away you get from San Jose, the slower and more expensive it becomes when you are using an internet cafe. Wifi is generally free of charge at most places though and apart from off the beaten track parks, jungles and mountains, the connection generally is ok. Some internet cafés also offer international calls via either phone or IP using services like Skype.


See also: International Telephone Calls

  • The country calling code to Costa Rica is 506.
  • To make an international call from Costa Rica, the code is 00.

There are plenty of phone booths around and you will get the best rate using a pre-paid international card (can often be purchased in internet cafés and other small stores). There is usually a connection fee making short calls extra expensive. International calls are fairly expensive. The cheapest way to make them is over the internet using a service such as Skype at an Internet café. But making short calls using the domestic calling cards (you can make international calls using these but the denominations of the calling cards are quite small so your call will be short!) or the international calling cards available within Costa Rica (all from the government phone monopoly ICE) is the next best deal.

Those travelling with a mobile phone and willing to pay the roaming costs should ensure it supports 1,800 MHz GSM network. Note that the GSM phone systems in the United States and Canada use different frequencies and that travelers from there will need a "world" handset, such as a tri-band or quad-band phone, if you want to use your existing cell phone. If you want to use a local Costa Rica number, you can rent cell phone service, and of course anyone can buy a cell phone. If you have an unlocked cell phone (either one from home or bought in Costa Rica - all cell phones sold in Costa Rica must be unlocked), prepaid (prepago) SIM cards can provide a local number and service can be purchased throughout the country by anyone with a passport from any country. Try using companies like Grupo ICE under the Kölbi brand, TuYo Movil, Movistar and Claro.


Correos de Costa Rica (website in Spanish only) is the national postal services of Costa Rica. You can find post offices (correos) in almost any city and town and they are generally open from 7:30am to 5:30pm or 6:00pm Monday to Friday and 7:30am to noon on Saturdays. There are not that many mailboxes, so it's best to ask your hotel or go directly to the post offices. Services tend to be slow but generally reliable and on the whole cheap regarding letters and postcards. It costs about US$0.20 to the USA and Canada (taking about 1 week to 10 days), US$0.25 to Europe (about 2 weeks) and US$0.30 to Asia and Australia (3 weeks or even more). All in all, if you can try and arrange your mail from the capital San José as it's generally quicker from there. Small packages are also no problem, though take them to the post offices unpacked for inspection first! Otherwise, arrange things through private international courier services like UPS, FedEx, DHL or TNT.


Accommodation in Cahuita

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This is version 7. Last edited at 15:04 on Jan 22, 18 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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