What is the Name of the First National Park to be Established in Costa Rica?
Cabo Blanco National park is the first national park to be established in Costa Rica. It is a beautiful 1,172-hectare Nature Reserve, located on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in Puntarenas province. Two immigrant, Nils Olof Wessberg and his wife Karen Morgenson donated the area to Costa Rica before the national park system was created. You can find a plaque erected in their honor near the Cabo Blanco ranger station.
For many years, only scientists were allowed in the area of Cabo Blanco. Now tourists can also enjoy the natural beauty of Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve, but in order to minimize impact, the reserve remains closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. There are a number of trails that allow the visitor to explore the area. For example Sendero Sueco that leads to the totally unspoiled Playa Balsita. From there, you can take another trail called Sendero El Barco. Both trails have tidepools so make sure you check with the ranger station before entering the reserve – otherwise you might get stuck at high tide.
Many wild animals can be found in Cabo Blanco. such as howler-, spider- and white faced monkeys, sloths, iguanas, raccoons, armadillos, anteaters, and deer can be observed easily, while creatures such as the margay and ocelot are more elusive. Marine birdlife is abundant, too, and you likely will see the brown booby, as well as magnificent frigate birds, laughing gulls, common terns and brown pelicans. In the coastal areas, large populations of fish, crabs , lobster, shrimp, giant chonches and clams are prevalent.
How can I get to Cabo Blanco? You can reach Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve by a four wheel drive vehicle on a 11 km long dirt road from nearby Montezuma. Or, you can hire a taxi in Montezuma, where mountain bike rental provides another option for transportation. The park is open 8 am to 4 pm Wednesdays to Sundays and an entrance fee of $7 has to be paid at the ranger station. There you can also get a map explaining the trail system. Part of the beauty of this area is that there is no infrastructure. Bring water and food along if you want to spend some time walking the beach and hiking in the national park.
One of the most wonderful things about this park is there are few tourist here. Perhaps because it is off the beaten path and to get here by car you have to put the car on the Puntarenas ferry. Or take a commuter flight on Sansa Air or Nature Air to Tambor and then there hire a taxi to Montezuma beach.