Tucked away between two very popular beach towns next to Costa Rica’s first-ever National Park is a small beach called Playa Cabuya. This beach is part of the town Cabuya and can be a quiet getaway for anyone looking for something different. This is an old town dating back to the 1700s. The beach is beautiful with many beachfront properties that make it seem like you have the whole beach to yourself. Many of these properties already have many hammock setups in absolute perfect locations. I know this because it was very hard for me to find my own great location.
This town is also famous for two things. The first-ever National Park in Costa Rica and an Island Cemetery that is only accessible during low tide. Playa Cabuya is a very easily accessible beach but if you want an even more secluded beach, Cabo Blanco is for you. The best beaches in Costa Rica you have to hike to and I love it. In this blog, I will tell you about the things to do in and around Playa Cabuya as well as where to stay.
How to Get to Playa Cabuya
Because of the location of Playa Cabuya and the town, people often take day trips here instead of booking accommodations. If this is you, then below I will explain how to get from the popular neighboring towns of Santa Teresa and Montezuma to Cabuya.
Santa Teresa to Playa Cabuya
Getting from Santa Teresa to Cabuya seems like it should take only a few minutes but that can totally depend. This is Costa Rica where some places aren’t as car-friendly as others. This area of the Nicoya Peninsula is one of those. Below I will list a few examples of how you can get from Santa Teresa to Cabuya and enjoy your time at Playa Cabuya.
- Rent a car: You will have to pass through Montezuma and it will take 45 minutes – 1 hour. I don’t suggest this unless you already have a car rented.
- Rent an ATV: This is what I suggest as you can take the back roads much easier in an ATV. The drive is only 12 km instead of 23 km as you can drive through the back roads. Rentals are pricey but extremely fun and you can do many other activities in Santa Teresa like explore all of the surrounding beaches like we did. The company we used was Localbird.
- Taxi: This option is more doable if you have multiple people with you. The ride to Montezuma cost us $30 and we split it 3 ways. So the ride to Cabuya will be about $40 or so.
Montezuma to Playa Cabuya
When we visited Cabuya were staying in Montezuma. We ended up having a little taste of multiple transportation options as we weren’t sure if there was going to be a second shuttle run. Every local you ask says there are no more busses coming but the info we had was there was on leaving Cabuya back to Montezuma at 4:00 PM. There are indeed shuttles throughout the day, at least in peak season. Below are some of your options.
- Take the local shuttle: This is how we got to Cabuya in the morning. We were told the cost was 500 CRC but we paid 1000 CRC per person. Maybe this was because we don’t speak a lot of Spanish, who knows but either way that is really cheap. The shuttle arrives at the main bus stop in Montezuma by the beach. Shuttles leave Montezuma in 2 hour increments starting at 8:15 until 18:15 and leave Cabuya at 7:00 until 16:00.
- Take a taxi: For us, this option wasn’t too bad. We weren’t sure if there was actually going to be another shuttle arriving so we took a taxi back to Montezuma for $10 split by two people. Also there was air conditioning so that was nice.
- You can rent ATVs in Montezuma but we didn’t do that since we already did. The prices are similar to that of Santa Teresa, around $90 for 24 hours.
Where to Stay at Near Playa Cabuya
There are some great places to stay that are within walking distance to Playa Cabuya. Many of these places are on booking.com and have great reviews. I will list a few below that you can check out and see if you like them enough to book!
Calala Lodge is almost like a mix of a treehouse and a modern-day cabin in the middle of the jungle. This property is a 1-minute walk away from the beach and is my top pick to stay at in Cabuya. Included in your property are a large outdoor pool, living-dining area, bathroom, and a porch with 2 hammocks. Calala Lodge’s restaurant offers unique international cuisine that you will definitely enjoy. A nice perk of this property is that you can view the Pacific Ocean right from your bedroom!
Villas Cabuya Beach and Jungle
Villas Cabuya Beach and Jungle are not as unique as the last one but it is still extremely nice. With a rating of 9.0 on booking.com, you will find it difficult to find something you don’t like. Playa Cabuya is only a 4-minute walk away. The pool is larger than the last as it is shared with more people. The added benefits of this villa are having a flat-screen TV, a well-fitted kitchen, and a safety box. There is nothing that you won’t like about this beautiful villa located in the jungle of Cabuya.
Casa Camper is another very unique place to stay during your time in Cabuya, Costa Rica. This is a little farther walk from the beach (15 minutes) but you are way more secluded than most other options. If you like to feel like you are truly living in the jungle, then this is the place for you. There is air conditioning and access to a garden during your stay. All of the furniture is modern styled.
What to do in Cabuya
There are many activities to do when visiting Playa Cabuya other than laying on the beach. The town of Cabuya is full of adventure and there are plenty of things to do. All of which is very unique in itself.
Isla Cabuya is a very unique island that has a full cemetery on it. It has been used as a burial site since the 1700s and more people are being buried there yearly. When I visited it recently the newest burial site I saw was from 2020. The island is only accessible during low tide. A path will show up and you will start to see groups of people making their way across to see the unique island. This is a must when visiting the town and Playa Cabuya.
Cabo Blanco is a unique nature reserve located on the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. This area is just minutes away from wherever you are staying in Cabuya. Cabo Blanco became the 1st National Park in Costa Rica in 1963. The park is open from 8 am-4 pm between Wednesday – Sunday. While in this nature reserve you will see many different animals such as white-faced monkeys, howler monkeys, anteaters, as well as giant conches and lobsters. You will want to arrive as early as possible because the main hike that is done takes 4+ hours round trip. This trail, formerly known as the Swedish trail, takes you straight to the pristine white sand beach of Cabo Blanco. The cost to get in is 12 USD.
Wild Sun Rescue Reserve
Wild Sun Rescue Reserve is an awesome non-profit organization that rehabs animals and then releases them back into the wild. Due to covid-19, the schedule is in flux as to when you are able to go in and see these animals. It is well worth it if you are able to though. They also do internships and veterinary externships.