When I first heard about Cabuyal (Pronounced Ca-boo-jahl) it was from a taxi driver who told me it was the best beach in all of Costa Rica. Having seen it since then, I tend to agree with him. He told me how the beach used to be a favorite destination for people during the Semana Santa beach rush, but in recent years it has been seriously tamed by conservationists. A home was built there, and a small conservation station popped up. The message to party-people and poachers? Party and poach elsewhere.
Know this: Playa Cabuyal is not for the unadventurous. Getting there is half the adventure, but once you arrive you will find yourself surrounded by nothing but raw Costa Rican beauty. It’s a place that seems almost Caribbean and is crawling with wildlife.
No fighting for prime beach space
Other than the conservationists, and a few other brave souls who’ve made the trek, you can expect to have the beach at Cabuyal almost entirely to yourself. I would still recommend bringing swimwear. It’s not that remote, but you certainly won’t feel ogled in your tiny bikini bottoms. Semana Santa will likely bring more people than normal, but you won’t see tents popping up, and in case you were hoping to camp there yourself… sorry, not allowed. This is a day trip.
Just like the Caribbean?
So the taxi-driver got me wondering… is Cabuyal really the closest thing to Caribbean water without crossing the country? Mm, that’s a stretch. The Pacific is a darker beast than her lymin’ sibling on the other side of the isthmus.
Anyone who has stood at the shores of the Caribbean and wondered who dumped gallons of Cool Blue Gatorade into the sea can attest, there is nothing quite like Caribbean water… except whatever they put in sports beverages.
Still, the beach is calm, the sand is the whitest and coolest sand you’ll find in on the Pacific side, and you can lyme like a pro if you want to. [Lyme? For those who don’t know, in oversimplified terms lymin’ is the Caribbean word for relaxing.)
In fact, not only does one species of turtles lay eggs on Playa Cabuyal, but three species call this place their sandy midwife on the sea. [Note: I don’t know what they really call it if they call it anything, I just thought that’s what I would call it if I were a pregnant turtle.]
Anyway, your chances of catching turtles somewhere in the egg-laying or hatching process are pretty good. In fact, if you search the internets a bit you’ll likely find a volunteer outfit where you can help out. How about that?
Like normal, plan to bring the usual beach stuff with you. Also, like normal, please do not leave anything in your vehicle. You would be surprised how fast things can disappear when you think no one is around. Be secure and worry-free. Take it with you and keep an eye on it if it matters to you. Plan to get out before the sun goes too far down if you don’t have other arrangements. May you enjoy your solace and sun, and may your only invaders be baby turtles and howlers.
How to get there
Just take a left after the Do It Center and follow the signs from there. No, we can do better than that. In fact, here are some mappy things. You will leave Tamarindo, preferably in something with four-wheel drive, towards Liberia. No joke, when you see the Do It Center, you want to turn left just after the building and follow the signs, but there won’t always be a sign. The easiest way for you to find it would be to plug the coordinates 10.672655, -85.653599 into your GPS, and follow the map.
1) Take the road out of Tamarindo to Villarreal, and take a left at the T intersection. You only have right or left. If you go right, you weren’t reading that last direction.
2) Stay on the main road until you hit Huacas. The same thing as Villarreal, only left and right, but this time you’ll go right. You’ll be on the 155.
3) The road (155) from here is the same one to Belen, but there’s a funky right before you hit Belen where if you go straight you will end up in some neighborhood. See the map.
4) After the now-famous Do It Center turn (on the 253) you will take the right split to head north. The signs at this point will be pointing you to Papagayo and the Four Seasons.
5) Take the left to The Four Seasons (map), but get ready to take a right off the main road. From here you are following map or GPS, and be ready for some rough road.
Horizon Pacific Management & Rentals is located in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Horizon Pacific offers vacation rentals, property management, long-term rentals, as well as a complete concierge service. Providing you with a local contact during your stay, Horizon Pacific is a company you can trust, with the experience you need.