Cabuya Island is one of the most mysterious places of the Southern Nicoya Peninsula. From the center of Cabuya, it’s a fairly short walk to the fishermen’s beach from where you can get to the island. The tree-covered island is visible from the shore, and during low tide a path dotted with dull-colored stones materializes from beneath the waves.
This special place has been a cemetery with a large mysterious gate for as long as anyone can remember. It is the reason that makes the area a place of fear, rumor, legend, and excitement, haunted by ghosts at night. Supposedly, when the Spanish settlers first arrive this island, it was already a place where the natives buried their dead and the new comers. And the rumor is that the place was used to guarded by spirits, magic, and was controlled by the village shaman. When a local person dies, the funeral service held at night and all the attendees carry candles. It looks like lights are walking across the water and that creates an eerie sight as seen from the hills above Cabuya, Delicias, and Montezuma.
Cabuya island itself also appropriately eerie. There are several trees which have a bleached, hollow appearance, like monolithic bones buried in the sand. Visitors are welcomed by a chalky arch into the cemetery. Crossing under the arch, between two rows of pointy cabuya(agave) plants(for which the island and town are named), you can walk.
Amazing Snorkeling Spots:
One of the best snorkeling spots of the area is on the north side of the island, at low tide. As the protected Marine Zone (where fishing is not permitted) of Cabo Blanco Park is near the area, it ensures that there are a lot of fishes. The water is often cloudy there but when it is clear, you might find big heads of hard coral (the only coral of this type on the peninsula). Other types of fishes include puffers and a rainbow assortment of others can be found there. You can catch octopus, lobsters, sea turtles and if you are lucky enough, you might also catch a glimpse of a seahorse, which live here but even professional divers of Montezuma almost never see due to its extreme rarity. Farther to the south, on the other side of the island, there is a great wave for surfing. The actual spot isn’t easy to get to or see. This spot is in front of the Cabo Blanco river mouth and to reach this location it takes 15 or more minutes of paddling. Known as the Secret Reef Surf Spot, this place is a big hollow wave that rarely breaks.
Surf Spot – Cabuya Island’s Reef Break:
There is a surf spot on the south side of Cabuya Island which is known as ‘The Secret Reef’. Few tourists ever head to this spot because of the long hot hike to get out and there are so many easier surfing opportunities in Santa Teresa. A few locals, and big wave aficionados occasionally surf this spot from time to time during the right swell conditions (huge). Although it’s not often done, one could hire a boat to take you out there. Since it breaks so rarely it’s very unlikely to be surfable if you’re in the area for a short visit. So for the most part it remains something between a curiosity and a legend.
Hike out to the Island:
It’s easy to find, since you can just walk towards the beach from the Cabuya Bakery in the middle of the town. If you know when the tide will be low, you can walk out to a spit of land that opens up between Cabuya Island and the mainland during the low tide. In the full sun and humidity, this area becomes very hot so it is better to be prepared with a large floppy hat and carry lots of drinking water. After arriving you can go to the grave sites, or head to the place best known as one of the best snorkeling spots around here. Just be sure to come back before the tide comes in, or you’ll be spending the night with Cabuya Island’s ghosts.