Cahuita was not a part of my original plan for Costa Rica.Long story, but I ended up here after some other plans changed.
Cahuita is a tiny town on the Caribbean coast. It’s not far from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca which is the main draw card for this part of Costa Rica. The people, the music and the laid back vibe were all a contrast to what I had experienced in Costa Rica so far. I rated it straight away!
After having lunch and taking a walk around town (didn’t take long) I went for a run along the water. It was a beautiful time of day. Plenty of people were about walking, running & cycling. I was treated to a spectacular sunset just as I was finishing up.
I had one full day to visit both the sloth sanctuary and national park. I got up early to talk to Dante. As always, it was awesome to see his face and talk to him. Being in contact regularly is definitely helping being away on my own. It’s so nice to know he is always there for me and I like to think we are sharing this experience in some way. I hope it will be the same for his trip.
After our chat, a workout and breakfast, I got the bus to the sloth sanctuary. I was hoping to ride a bike there but none of the bike hire places were open at the time I was ready to go (Miss Early Riser over here). It only took 20 mins to get to the sanctuary and I made it in time for the first tour.
The tour started in a room with both 2 and 3 fingered sloths. There were about 10 in total. Most were pretty old, I think the oldest was 20. When the founders of the sanctuary began rescuing sloths, they didn’t know enough about them to be able to successfully release them back into the wild. Therefore the adults that were still at the sanctuary, were dependent on human care. Some were only little babies when they arrived. These include:
– Bruno who is paralysed from the waist down, he came as a baby 20 years ago
– Little Angel who fell on a barbed wire fence, got tangled, struggled to get out and lost her right eye
– Chewbacca who is paralysed down one half of his body after falling from a tree
– Millie who is 16 years old. She was brought to the sanctuary with her mother who died the day after
We went into the nursery which was super gorgeous. The babies were bigger than I expected and most of them were asleep. We learnt a lot about sloths and the whole experience only made me love them more!
Some sloth fun facts:
– Sloths have 4 stomachs. It takes 1-1.5 weeks for each stomach to digest entirely. This makes for a month long digestion process
– They have almost no body fat and low muscle mass
– 2 fingered sloths have no tail, 3 fingered sloths have a little tail
– They always stay in tops of trees except to go toilet. They do this every 6-7 days, climb down to the bottom of the tree or vine, dig a hole and bury their waste
– The mums stay with the baby for 1 year, then they’re left on their own. They have to teach baby everything in that time.
– The Harpie eagle is the sloth’s primary predator. Big cats and snakes are secondary predators
After the tour we went on a canoe ride through the canals of the property. We tried to spot some sloths in the trees but just saw a monkey.
After getting the bus back to Cahuita, I headed to Cahuita National Park for the afternoon. It was beautiful! Through the jungle and along the beach, I saw lots of monkeys, huge spiders, lizards and a cheeky raccoon. I was walking pretty quickly because the park closed at 4pm and I needed to get past a certain point by 2pm.
After I walked 5km I thought I should turn around so I had enough time to return before the park closed. I had a break on the beach to have some fruit and reapply sunscreen (it was a super hot day).
On my way back I took my time a bit more, played around in some trees, chilled on the beach and went swimming. I absolutely loved having both the jungle and beach experience in one national park.
After a quick shower, I went to a juice bar for a fruit smoothie. A Swiss girl called Dorothy sat down with me and started chatting. We walked around town together, found a cool spot on the beach to watch the sunset then had dinner near the National Park entrance.
Cahuita was an unexpected gem! Very glad I made the trip here.
I’m ducking out of Costa Rica for a few days to visit Panama but continuing the Carribbean vibe in Bocas del Toro.