Cahuita National Park

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Cahuita National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Cahuita.jpg
Location Costa Rica
Nearest city Cahuita
Coordinates 9°43′45″N 82°49′30″W / 9.72917°N 82.82500°W / 9.72917; -82.82500Coordinates: 9°43′45″N 82°49′30″W / 9.72917°N 82.82500°W / 9.72917; -82.82500
Area 11 km² land, 6 km² marine
Established 27 December 1982
Governing body National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC)

Cahuita National Park is a 2,711-acre (1,097-ha) national park in the Caribbean La Amistad Conservation Area of Costa Rica located on the southern Caribbean coast in Limón Province, connected to the town of Cahuita. It protects beaches and lowlands and attracts tourists and other visitors who are able to scuba dive and snorkel in the protected marine area which contains the Coralline Reefs, as well as being a nesting ground for sea turtles. February through April typically have the best underwater visibility. This is also one of the nicest and least developed beaches in Costa Rica.[1]

The 600-acre (242-ha) reef is known to have at least 35 species of coral, 140 species of molluscs, 44 species of crustaceans, and 123 species of fish. On land there are many types of animal as well including Northern Tamanduas, Pacas, White-nosed Coatis, Raccoons, sloths, agoutis, Mantled Howlers and White-headed Capuchins. It has a variety of birds as well including the Green Ibis, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher and Keel-billed Toucan.

Due to its close proximity to the town of Cahuita, the park's roads and facilities are well developed. Roads access the park from both the north and south. It can be reached on foot via Kelly Creek, which is just south of Cahuita.

History[edit]

Originally the site was created as the Cahuita National Monument in 1970, and was reformed as a National Park in 1978. This change was ratified in 1982. Cahuita National Park also has the distinction of the only national park in Costa Rica not to charge an admission fee (at the Cahuita entrance) and instead relies on donations.

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