Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve became the first National Park in Costa Rica in 1963. It covers 1,270 hectares of mixed forest and 1,788 hectares of ocean. You are able to access 5% of the park in 2 hikes they offer; the rest is restricted to protect the wildlife. One of the hikes is much shorter and takes you around a short path of the forest. The other hike is much longer and takes you to a deserted beach where you can enjoy a nice swim and picnic. This hike takes around 4 hours there and back, not including the time you spend at the beach. There is various wildlife to see in the park including 150 different kinds of trees, howler monkeys, capuchin monkeys, white-tailed deer, anteaters, armadillos, pacas, coyotes, racoons, and cotis. Wild cats in the park include ocelots, jaguarundis, and margay cats although very rare to see in the wild. Moreover, there is around 240 species of birds in the park. And in 2016 a puma (also known as mountain lion or cougar) was seen on camera traps in the area.
It is around a 45 minute drive from Casa MarBella. We can provide you directions at reception. There is a fee to get into the park and it's closed on Monday and Tuesday. We recommend either a vehicle with 4x4 or renting ATVs.
Curu Wildlife Reserve
Curu is privately owned and part of a large farm that uses sustainable agriculture and forest management to preserve the wildlife. It covers 1,495 hectares of land and has various habitat types including marine zones, mangrove swamps, tropical dry and moist forest, and farmland. It is teeming with wildlife; there is around 232 species of birds (including scarlet macaws which have been successfully reintroduced) and some of the mammals include collared peccari, coyote, anteaters, otters, howler monkeys, and capuchin monkeys. Moreover, ocelots, margay cats, and pumas have been spotted there. They are also undergoing a project to help restore the spider monkey population. There are different trails to choose from and you also have the option of renting a private boat to visit Isla Tortuga which is nearby.
Though a longer drive than Cabo Blanco, it is definitely worth it. It's around an hour and 15 minute drive from Casa MarBella. There is a fee to get into the park. A vehicle with 4x4 is not necessarily required.
We always recommend our customers to spend a day visiting the famous waterfalls and exploring the town of Montezuma. There are three waterfalls surrounded by jungle and two different access points to reach these falls. Access 1 takes you to the first waterfall, which is the biggest and most impressive. Here there is a big natural pool where the waterfall falls into where you can relax taking in the view and allowing yourself a dip. For the more thrill seeking, you can jump off the rock and climb up to the other two waterfalls. Access 2 takes you to the 2nd and 3rd waterfalls, which are quite smaller with smaller pools, but there is still enough space to relax and take a dip; sometimes they are less crowded. After the waterfalls, we recommend enjoying a nice lunch in Montezuma town. There are various restaurants to choose from with different types of cuisines. Afterwards, you can spend some time walking the streets of the small, cozy town and enjoy some of their nice beaches.
In reception, we can provide you directions and maps, which take you on a longer but beautiful and scenic route through the jungle and Cabuya, which eventually lead to the waterfalls. On the way home, we provide a shorter route. For this journey we recommend a 4x4 vehicle or an ATV.
- wear tennis shoes or hiking boots
- bring plenty of water
- bring snacks/lunch; particularly for the beach walk in Cabo Blanco
- wear bug spray and sunscreen