Community and Lifestyle

Life in Cahuita

It wasn’t until about 30 years ago that Cahuita was even on the travel trail. Originally, landowners brought Caribbean islanders over to the coast for cheap labor on the banana plantations. Today the town is home to about 4,000 residents, mostly from Jamaican descent who in addition to the national language of Spanish speak Jamaican Creole English. This wonderful cultural fusion can be seen in the brightly painted wooden homes, spicy coconut curries, and the many reggae bars.

In addition to a Caribbean population, Cahuita has several tribes of indigenous people, Costa Ricans of Latin descent, and expats from over fifty countries. Expats from all over the world have opened hotels and restaurants alongside locals, creating an international scene of Italian restaurants alongside typical Costa Rican fare.

The town has basic conveniences like a bank, grocery stores, and a pharmacy, and nearby Limon and Puerto Viejo offer all necessary amenities. Most local residents live in the town center, which has many guesthouses, hotels, and rental properties.

Activities and Attractions

Cahuita National Park

The Cahuita National Park is the main tourist draw in Cahuita and covers over 2,000 acres of beach, jungle, and sea. The park protects the white sand beaches and lowlands and provides a nesting ground for sea turtles. There is no development in the park and consequently it remains one of the most natural, beautiful beaches in Costa Rica.

Snorkeling and scuba diving here is excellent, with a 600-acre reef with 35 species of coral and over a hundred species of tropical fish. The jungle backing the beach is teeming with wildlife including raccoons, sloths, howler monkeys, white face capuchins, toucans, and much more.


Far less crowded than Salsa Brava and Playa Cocles in Puerto Viejo, Cahuita has two surf breaks. Playa Negra has small, soft waves that break on the beach, perfect for beginners. Playa Blanca next to the entrance to the National Park is a popular spot with locals and breaks on a shallow reef into a tiny bay.

Outdoor Adventure

With miles of beach, Cahuita offers many outdoor adventures from kayaking and standup paddle boarding to snorkeling and fishing. Tour operators have offices in town and can arrange trips or visitors can just ask around and find their own rentals or hire a local fisherman to take them out for the day.