Of the many interesting attractions on the southern Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, the Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve and quaint fishing village of Cabuya are a fun and easy day trip from Santa Teresa.
The Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve is Costa Rica’s first privately protected reserve at the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. On the way to Cabo Blanco, you pass through the tiny village of Cabuya. When you do, it’s worth it to stop and see the sights. Don’t miss the huge strangler fig tree along the main road – great for photographs to amaze your friends and family.
Beaches of Santa Teresa, Mal Pais and Montezuma are known for waves and great surfing. At Cabuya, there is a pretty white sand beach protected by a rocky reef that is safe for swimming -- especially for children – without big surf or rip currents.
Cabuya’s most unique attraction is the small Cabuya Island located 100 meters off the coast that has been used as a cemetery from pre-Columbian times to the present. At low tide, you can walk over to the island on a rocky path that gets exposed. The tide stays low enough to cross for a couple of hours; time enough to explore the cemetery, snorkel and see the tide pools. The reef on the far side of Cabuya Island is one of the best spots in the area for snorkeling. During the day it is very hot in the full sun, so be prepared with lots of drinking water, a sun hat and sunscreen.
The name Cabuya comes from the Fique plants (Furcraea andina) – known locally as cabuya – growing on the island. Local people have used cabuya fibers for centuries to make ropes, garments, hammocks, baskets and textiles.
The island’s spooky reputation stems from the belief that it is guarded by spirits. Residents still bury people there, and when funerals are held at night, the family and friends will sometimes walk to the island holding candles and lights, creating an eerie sight because it looks like lights are dancing across the water.
A hidden travel tip: You can have a beach sunrise and sunset all in the same day! If you go to Cabuya really early, you can see the sunrise over the ocean at Cabuya Beach since it is located on the southeastern side of the Peninsula. Then return to Santa Teresa for a spectacular sunset!
Article by Shannon Farley