RESERVA NATURAL ABSOLUTA CABO BLANCO, 9km south of Montezuma, is Costa Rica’s oldest protected piece of land, established in 1963 by Karen Mogensen, a Danish immigrant to Costa Rica, and her Swedish husband Olof Wessberg. Until 1989, no visitors were allowed into the twelve square kilometres of reserve, which covers nearly the entire southwestern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula. Though hard to believe today, most of the reserve was pasture and farmland until the early 1960s. Since its inauguration, Cabo Blanco has been allowed to regenerate naturally; a small area of original forest that had escaped destruction served as a “genetic bank” for the re-establishment of the complex tropical forest that now fills the reserve.

Pay your entrance fee at the ranger hut, and they’ll supply you with a trail map (there are only two), which also outlines the history of the reserve and the species living here; walking the trails here can be very hot work, so head out early. The Sendero Sueco (5km; 2hr) leads from the entrance through tropical deciduous forest to Playa Cabo Blanco, a lovely, lonely spot (in low season, anyway). Swimming, however, isn’t great around here; due to the high tide (marea alta), you’ll need to walk back along the trail rather than the coast. Ask the ranger at the entrance when and where you’ll likely get cut off if you want to venture along the beach.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Costa Rica features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best hikes in Costa Rica

The best hikes in Costa Rica

Over a quarter of Costa Rica’s landscape is protected by its comprehensive system of national parks, wildlife refuges and biological reserves. As well as …

28 Mar 2018 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
9 tips for travelling in Costa Rica

9 tips for travelling in Costa Rica

Inspired by pictures of Costa Rica’s primordial-looking shores, rainforests brimming with exotic creatures and steaming volcanoes that tower above the clouds?…

03 Oct 2017 • Chloe Cann insert_drive_file Article
14 magical sunrises that prove it's worth getting up early

14 magical sunrises that prove it's worth getting up early

Looking through the Rough Guides photography archive, one kind of shot stands out again and again: pictures captured at sunrise. Sure, there's nothing more temp…

16 Apr 2015 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right