The Cabo Blanco Reserve protects 3,070 hectares or 7,586 acres of land. The elevation of the reserve ranges from sea level to 5 meters or 0 – 16 feet. It protects rainforest, beach, mangrove, and river habitats. There are several groomed hiking trails.
The isolated reserve is home to plenty of wildlife. There are three species of large felines including margays, jaguarundis, and ocelots. Capuchin and howler monkeys represent the primates. In addition there are anteaters, armadillos, raccoons, kinkajous, pizotes, and deer. There are many reptiles including black and green iguanas, whip-tailed lizards, and boa constrictors. Many species of birds have been identified in the reserve such as scarlett macaws, crested caracaras, magpie-jays, long-tailed manakins, and elegant trogons. Along the shore, there are brown pelicans, sandpipers, frigate birds, brown boobies, and laughing gulls.
Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve is government managed. The reserve is open from 8 AM – 4 PM, Wednesday through Sunday (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays). It has a ranger station that is equipped with basic amenities including public restrooms. The entrance fee to the reserve is $12 per person. There are no overnight facilities. Most visitors stay at hotels in Mal Pais or Montezuma.
More about the Cabo Blanco Reserve
The reserve is in an ideal location for trees to flourish as it is located between tropical dry and wet forests. The park is home to over 140 different species of trees, including the wild plum, trumpet tree, lance wood, and the sapoditta – famous for producing the material that is used to make chewing gum.
The reserve is famous for the white cape; a group of rocks located at the southern tip of the reserve that serves as a dwelling ground for a plethora of bird species. The two beaches of Cabo Blanco, Playa Cabo Blanco and Playa Balsitas are excellent locations to witness hundreds of pelicans as they soar while scouring for fish.
There is a beach at the southern tip that has rocks with large fossilized oysters and other ancient marine shellfish. While these are quite a sight, you are not permitted to remove them.
At a glance
Region: Southern Nicoya Peninsula
Closest town: Montezuma and mal Pais
Size in hectares: 3,070 (7,586 acres)
Year established: 1963
Elevation in meters: 0 – 5 (0 – 16 feet)
Private managed: no
Government managed: yes
Rangers station: yes
Overnight facilities: no
Public restrooms: yes
Entrance fee: $12pp
Days: Wednesday - Sunday (closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
Hours: 08:00 - 16:00
Hiking trails: yes
Boat tours: no
Average temperature range in Fahrenheit: 70 - 90
Average yearly precipitation in millimeters: 2,800 (110 inches)
Habitat: mangrove, rainforest, beach, river
How to get there
From San Jose, take Rt. 27 west to the Puntarenas exit. Take this exit, Rt. 17 west to Puntarenas and follow all the way to the ferry. Cross the Gulf of Nicoya on the ferry to Paquera. From Paquera, take Rt. 160 south to Cobano. Turn left on Rt. 624 and follow to Montezuma. From Montezuma, continue south on the dirt road passing through Cabuya and eventually to the reserve entrance. A four wheel drive vehicle is necessary on this road.
Weather and packing list
The reserve is located in a transitional area from rainforest to tropical dry forest. Day time temperatures regularly reach the low 90s and night time temps are usually in the upper 70s. The reserve receives an average of 2,800 mm or 110 inches of precipitation each year. The driest months are December through April and July.
Visitors to Cabo Blanco should pack a bathing suit, towel, shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block, and insect repellent. Visit our packing list for more ideas.
Fun Fact: The blanco part of the name Cabo Blanco is a result of a section of cliffs and rocks which are permanently colored white due to bird droppings.