Costa Rica Day Hikes

Around Cahuita
By Harry S. Pariser
  |  Gorp.com
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My favorite place to day hike in Costa Rica is not in the rainforest but on a beach right by the village of Cahuita. Cahuita now operates its end of the park and admission is by donation. You may follow the beach along as far as the other entrance of the park, a few miles down the beach. But you may choose to turn back at any point. I love to alternate walking along the paths and on the beach. Monkeys are easily spotted, iridescent blue morpho butterflies take wing at your side, and the serenity is wonderful. Bring plenty of water, binoculars, and wear windsurfing sandals.

Gandoca-Manzanillo Reserve
The Gandoca-Manzanillo Reserve is due south of Cahuita. A day hike here leads to Punta Mono (Monkey Point). On the way, along an often muddy trail, you pass wonderful small areas of coral coves that host craggy black outcrops and crashing surf and spray. The tented eco-resort of Almonds and Corals offers guided hikes out here, but it is easily done on your own. Be sure to watch your time; it is so enchanting that you may not want to turn back.

Rincon de la Vieja National Park
Over in Guanacaste, the Rincon de la Vieja National Park offers waterfalls, boiling mudpots, fumaroles, and a sometimes active volcano. This is a great place to visit, and the surrounding lodges all offer trips. You can also go on your own and camp at the ranger station.

Corcovado National Park
Farther down the coast along the Osa Peninsula, Corcovado National Park is Costa Rica's equivalent of Alaska. The stately giants of this park are threatened by illegal logging. It is difficult to dayhike here; a multi-day hike up the beach is the norm. However, the effort is worth it. This magnificent trek passes waterfalls, crashing surf and misty beaches.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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