Sunset on beach with Ocean, Costa Rica

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Playa Negra

Top choice in Cahuita

At the northwestern end of Cahuita, Playa Negra is a long, black-sand beach flying the bandera azul ecológica, a flag that indicates that the beach is kept to the highest ecological standard. It's rarely crowded, so you can stretch out and relax as the Caribbean Sea laps at your feet.

Swimming and surfing

This is undoubtedly Cahuita’s top spot for swimming due to the clean, calm water. However, when the swells are big, this place also has a good beach break for newbie surfers. It's an excellent option for those intimidated by the more popular surf locations; kids and adults alike can try out their surf skills in peace.


Cahuita is just a 5 minute drive away or a 20 minute walk if you'd prefer to stretch your legs. The town has a great selection of hotels and guesthouses on offer in both the bustling center and the quieter northern end of town close to Playa Negra. If you're journeying between Playa Negra and the center at night, it's best to cycle (with lights) or take a taxi, especially if traveling alone.

Food and drink

Cahuita offers some of the best Caribbean fare around, along with some surprisingly delicious Italian and French cuisine. There are good options closer to the beach, too.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cahuita attractions

1. Playa Blanca

1.14 MILES

At the entrance to the national park. A good option for swimming.

2. Parque Nacional Cahuita

1.15 MILES

This small but beautiful park – just 10 sq km – is one of the more frequently visited national parks in Costa Rica. The reasons are simple: the nearby…

3. Cacao Trails

5.79 MILES

Halfway between Cahuita and Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in Hone Creek, this botanical garden and chocolate museum has a couple of small exhibits devoted to…

4. Aiko-logi


Nestled into the Cordillera de Talamanca, 15km outside Puerto Viejo, this private 135-hectare reserve is centered on a former finca (farm), on land…

5. Finca La Isla

8.84 MILES

West of town, this farm and botanical garden has long produced organic pepper and cacao, along with more than 150 tropical fruits and ornamental plants…

6. Playa Cocles

10.03 MILES

Playa Cocles has waves for surfers who aren't keen to break skin and bones at nearby Salsa Brava (Costa Rica's biggest break). Instead, it has steep lefts…

7. Jaguar Centro de Rescate

11.21 MILES

Named in honor of its original resident, a jaguar, this well-run wildlife-rescue center in Playa Chiquita now focuses mostly on other animals, including…

8. Reserva Biológica Hitoy-Cerere

12.67 MILES

Only the most intrepid of nature enthusiasts will make the journey to Hitoy-Cerere, about 60km south of Puerto Limón and only accessible by 4WD along a…