Outside the park, the best place for swimming is Playa Negra. The stretch right in front of the Playa Negra Guesthouse is my favorite spot. The waves here are often good for bodysurfing, boogie-boarding, or surfing. If you want to rent a board or try a surf lesson, check in with Rennie at Willie’s Tours or Brigitte.
Cahuita has plenty of options for organized adventure trips or tours. I recommend Cahuita Tours (tel. 2755-0101; www.cahuitatours.com), Willie’s Tours (tel. 2755-1024 or 8917-6982; www.williestourscostarica.com), and Roberto Tours (tel. 2755-0117). All are located along Cahuita’s main road, and offer a wide range of tours ranging from snorkel outings, to rainforest hikes, to visits to nearby indigenous reserves. Most also offer multiday trips to Tortuguero, as well as to Bocas del Toro, Panama.
Butterfly Garden -- On the main highway, just north of the main entrance to Cahuita, is the Mariposario Cahuita (tel) 2755-0361), a large, informative butterfly-farm attraction that charges $10 and is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm, and weekends by appointment. It’s best to come in the early morning on a sunny day, when the butterflies are most active.
Horseback Riding -- Brigitte (tel. 2755-0053; www.brigittecahuita.com;) offers guided horseback tours for $35 to $85. She also rents mountain bikes and surfboards, and even has a few rooms available.
Wildlife Viewing -- Bird-watchers and sloth lovers should head north 11km (7 miles) to Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica ★★ (tel. 2750-0775; www.slothsanctuary.com). Their signature tour features an informative visit to their sloth rehabilitation project and learning center, as well as a 1-hour canoe tour through the surrounding estuary and river system. More than 330 species of birds have been spotted here. You’ll get an up-close look at a range of rescued wild sloths, both adults and babies, as well as several bred in captivity. After, you can hike their trail system and look for sloths in the wild. Tours begin at 8am, with the last tour of the day leaving at 2pm. It’s best to make reservations in advance. They are closed on Mondays. These folks also offer up a few cozy and quaint rooms right on site if you want to spend more time exploring the bird-watching and wildlife options, as well as sloth rescue project. Entry is $30 for adults, $15 for kids 5-12, free for those under 5.
Toward the northern end of the dirt road leading out beyond Playa Negra is the Tree of Life Wildlife Rescue Center and Botanical Gardens (tel. 2755-0014; www.treeoflifecostarica.com). Stroll through extensive, well-maintained gardens, where a series of large cages house a range of rescued and recovering local fauna, including toucans, monkeys, coatimundi, deer, wild pigs, or peccaries. This place is typically open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 3pm, however they often close for weeks or even months at a time. Admission is $15.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.