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 town of Cahuita provides attractive accommodations and easy access, and the park has white-sand beaches, a coral reef, coastal rainforest and a small lagoon, all bursting with wildlife. The arrival of cruise ships and weekenders detract from the tranquility: plan accordingly and go early, if possible.
There are north and south entrances to the park. Visitors who enter the park at Kelly Creek to the north are not required to pay the US$5 entrance fee, but donations are welcomed. The park service is habitually underfunded, and tourist dollars provide important support for education, conservation and maintenance programs.