Basic Details about Cabo Blanco:

Size: 1270 Hectares (3138 acres) + 1788 Ha (4420 acres) Marine Reserve
Founded: October 21, 1963
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 8am – 4pm
Admission Price: $10
Phone Number: +506 2642-0093
More Info:

Cabo Blanco Reserve is stretching across 2,896 acres (1,172 ha) of pristine dry tropical forest famed for its biologically rich ecosystems. This tropical paradise consists of unique plant and animal species, plus over 150 species of trees. Within the protected area of Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve are many animals that are rarely seen in nearby areas, such as Jaguars and peccaries. It also includes 4,420 acres of ocean marine reserve, within which fishing is banned.

There is also the San Miguel Biological Station which was created for promoting and supporting environmental research and education. It features a reference library, classrooms and labs where you can learn more about the ongoing conservation efforts in Costa Rica.

The History of Cabo Blanco:

This nature reserve is named after the island Cabo Blanco which is situated 1.6 km from the reserve’s southern tip. It has been known as the ‘White Cape’, since the times of the Conquistadores, because encrusted guano covers the rocks. Cabo Blanco was the first national park in Costa Rica, founded in 1963. At that time, 80-90% of it was farmland, which has since grown back, mostly naturally, but there was also some tree planting of rare species in the early days.

This nature reserve is popular with ornithologists. There are a large number of brown pelicans, laughing gulls, frigate birds, common terns, ospreys and Costa Rica’s largest community of brown boobies make this park a very important seabird sanctuary.

Two basic ways to enjoy the park:

Short Trail Loop:

First option is at the ranger station on the Cabuya side and from there hike around the loop across trails and bridges through the canopy. Since this reserve was founded, most of the trails has grown back within the last 50 years. You will find signs with detail about the trees, etc.

Beach Hike:

It takes around two hours to hike Playa Cabo Blanco and it is quite strenuous. In tropical conditions, you will have to climb several jungle-covered mountains without much airflow to cool you. Jungle canopy provides good shade but it also makes it muggy.  Though the beach is not the prettiest in the area, it is remote and you will enjoy go around the edges of the beach and see a truly remote site. As it will be a total of four hours of serious hiking to reach and back, weak people should avoid this hike. There’s a water source at the beach so you can refill your water bottle when you get there. If you’re hoping to see wild animals, then try to be the first ones on the train in the morning.

What to See and Do:

cabo-blancoHiking along the reserve is a common activity. It is better to start early so that you can get more time to explore the amazing forest. You can enjoy swimming at the sandy, remote beaches of Playa Cabo Blanco at the end of the journey. When you will get tired and take some rest, you can watch out for the ‘Manzana de Agua’ tree rest under the shade.

Though there are limited activities and facilities you can enjoy at the reserve but you will find the area rich in biodiversity and abundant wildlife. This park is home to about 150 identified tree species. This reserve has Sapodilla trees which produce white latex that is used for making gum. These trees grow along with Bastard Cedar, Dogwood, White Plum and Frangipani and many more.

This large, verdant and magnificent reserve has the most impressive flora and fauna in this country. This abundance of diverse fauna and fauna is due to the location of this national park, between the rainforest and the dry forest. In this natural reserve you will find evergreen trees such as the unique Cortez Amarillo, the imposing Espavel and the splendid Guacimo Colorado as well as deciduous trees such as the beautiful Guacimo, the Pochote and Indio Desnudo.

In this nature-friendly destination you will get the opportunity to watch monkeys including the white-faced monkeys and the howler monkeys which are native to Costa Rica. There are also armadillos, anteaters, cougars, coyotes, hog-nosed skunks, gray foxes and many other wild animals. With its rich history and biodiversity, Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve is a complete package of paradise. You can also spot other mammals including the white-tailed deer, the white-nosed coati, the margay and even the coyote.


In Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, bird-watching can also be an exciting endeavor as there are a lot of bird species flying around. You can spot long-tailed manakin, brown pelicans, sulphur-winged parakeet, white-throated magpies and many other species of birds and also home to impressive marine birds such as the pelicans and brown boobies as well as a wide range of fish, crabs and conch.

Cabo Blanco Island, which can be seen from the beach once you do the two mile hike, is a seabird paradise. The photo below shows thousands of them in the air surrounding it. They use the island as a nesting area, and no people are allowed. There’s an old structure on the top of it, long since abandoned. This is within the marine reserve, and boats aren’t allowed. People are certainly not allowed to go to the island to explore, either, which is tempting because the many caves in the sides of it look perfect for a pirate’s treasure.

Isla Cabo Blanco

Cabo Blanco Island with a zillion seabirds flying around it. Click the photo to see a larger version. Photo by Livio Macchia

Cabo Blanco Video:


Maps of Cabo Blanco Natural Reserve


Cabo Blanco Map