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Cahuita National Park


It is located in the province of Limón, on the Caribbean coast, 42 km south of the city of Limón.
It was created by the executive decree nr. 1236-A, on September 7, 1970, (under the name of Cahuita National Monument).
It comprises an area of 1,067.9 terrestrial and 22.400 maritime hectares.Cahuita National Park

Cahuita is located in the basal tropical area of Costa Rica’s Atlantic region and it is a fact that no other wildlife area in the country protects the present plant and animal resourses in this region.

The park was created to protect the terrestrial flora and fauna, the coral reefs and different maritime ecosystems. It is one of the country’s most beautiful areas for its white sandy beaches, its thousands of coconut palms, its blue and turquoise sea and its coral reefs.

According to the Holdrige’s biosphere classification, the park is categorized as humid rainforest. The park features various important habitats, such as the swampy forest with its special species, the sangregao and the golden fruit; the non-inundated mixed forest with “guaitíl” species, the jorco and the cerillo; the mangrove swamp with predominantly colored mangrove trees; and the coastal vegetation, with an abundance of coconut trees and the papaturro.

The coral reef comprises an area of 600 hectares and extends in the shape of a fan in front of Punta Cahuita, between the river Perezoso and Puerto Vargas. Part of the reefs platform is submerged up to 11 km below sea level.

According to studies carried out after the earthquake on April 22, 1991, the reef platform emerged approximately 1 meter. It is the most developed reef of the whole Costa Rican Caribbean coast. Among the most characteristic coral species you will find the ¨cuerno de alce¨ coral (Spanish for: the elk´s horn¨ coral), the cerebriformed corals, the Poritis poritos, the big Montastrea cavernosa and the Poritis divaricada. Furthermore, you may see the ocean´s fans, the sea urchin and an infinity of fish of different colores and sizes.

The pez ángel reina Cahuita National Park(Spanish for: ¨angel queen fish¨), is without a doubt one of the most beautiful ones of the whole reef. Nonetheless, there are other very attractive species, such as the pez ángel francés (Spanish for: ¨French angel queen fish¨), the isabelita (Spanish for: ¨little Elizabeth¨) and the pez loro azul (Spanish for: ¨blue paprrot fish¨). Other species living here are the barracuda, the remora, the manta ray, three species of sharks, morains, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, which grow up to 30 cm, the langouste, the sponge, the cambute, the white shrimp, the green turtle and the hawksbill turtle. In the reef of Cahuita, 35 different coral species have been identified, 140 mollusc species, 44 species of crustacea, 128 species of algae and 123 different fish species. The protected maritime resources here are in a deterioration process, caused by the great quantity of sediments and contamination on the part of agrochemicals, washed by the La Estrella river and which are deposited all over the coral reef because of the ocean current.

Among the terrestrial fauna the most common species are the congo monkey, the white-faced monkey, the raccoon, the sloth, the nutria and the coati, as well as various bird species of the swampy forest, as for example the green ibis, the green-reddish kingfisher, the nocturnal heron and the chocuaco.

 

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