Stretching across 1, 172 hectares of land, the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve is a paradise in itself. This tropical forest of rare flora and fauna is located at the southernmost tip of the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica. Also within the protected area of the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve is an additional 18 hectares of water with an abundant underwater ecosystem.
Preserving Costa Rica‘s Nature
Established in 1963 even before the park’s inception in 1970, the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve was a conservationist idea by Swedish Nicolas Wessberg during the decades of massive forest clearing in the country. For Wessberg and his wife Karen Mogenson, Cabo Blanco was the source of seeds for their orchard in Montezuma.
Seeing the importance of a nature reserve, he talked to various organizations that helped in buying and preserving many farms at the tip of the Nicoya Peninsula at Cabo Blanco. After a dialogue with the Costa Rican government, Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve was given absolute status for area preservation, meaning that for a few decades, no one but park staff could enter the reserve while it regrew its forests.
In 1975, the couple extended their environmentalist campaign by helping create the Corcovado National Park on the Peninsula de Osa. Unfortunately, Wessberg was assassinated at the site. The campaigns continued, however, even until his wife died in 1994. The Karen Morgensen Nature Reserve was created near Jicaral while the Nicolas Wessberg Absolute Reserve was established north of Montezuma as an addition to the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve.
What to See and Do
The Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve stands by its name being absolute when it comes to reserve activities available there. Hiking along trails is a common activity. It’s highly recommended to start early because it will give you a lot of time to explore the forest.
Swimming at the sandy, remote beaches of Playa Cabo Blanco at the end of the journey can also be quite rewarding. But watch out for the “Manzana de Agua” tree when you’re trying to find shade from the sun. It could cause some serious skin irritations. It’s a very spartan place when it comes to facilities as well. There are only restrooms and a small visitor center.
Even if they offer limited activities and facilities, the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve more than makes up for it with its wide biodiversity and abundant wildlife. It houses about 150 identified tree species, predominantly evergreen ones. The Sapodilla trees which produce white latex used to make gum can be found here. They grow along with Bastard Cedar, White Plum, Dogwood and Frangipani–to name a few.
Bird-watching can also be an exciting endeavor in the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve as there are quite a lot of birds to be seen flying around. Long-tailed manakin, sulphur-winged parakeet, brown pelicans and white-throated magpies are just some of the many other birds living in the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve. Anteaters, armadillos, cougars, howler monkeys, hog-nosed skunks, coyotes and gray foxes also inhabit this sanctuary along with many, many others.
Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve is a complete package of paradise with its rich history and interesting biodiversity. The next time you’re in Costa Rica, go the extra mile and visit this tropical sanctuary.
How to get to Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve:
An option is to fly from the main airport in San Jose to Tambor. From there, drive through Cobano and Montezuma and take in the scenic view during the 37-kilometer journey.
When traveling by land, either drive from San Jose on the Panamerican Hightway to Puntarenas or ride the bus from the Coca Cola bus station in San Jose. Both leads you to the ferry ride to Paquera where there is a connecting bus service to Montezuma. A taxi cab will bring you to the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve.
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