Situated on the Southern most tip of the Nicoya Peninsula, Cabo Blanco is a second growth nature reserve created in 1963 by Olof Wessberg and his wife Karen Mogensen. Before this time, most of the land was cleared for agricultural development, mainly grazing land for cattle, and such was the fate for a large part of what is now Cabo Blanco. Devastated by what they saw, this husband-wife duo, with the help of some international organizations, bought this land, replanted native trees and created the first protected area in Costa Rica.
Cabo Blanco is home to San Miguel Biological Station, dedicated to protection, research, and education of the environment and natural world. The area is extremely diverse; it is right on the line between a dry and wet forest, combining the flora and fauna from both. Over 140 species of trees have been identified here, including the Panama Tree with it’s wide (bat-infested) trunk and the amazing Ficus Tree outside park boarders. This tree is actually an award winner; the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad named it “Tree of the Year” in 2009. The fauna here includes raccoons, porcupines, deer, coyotes, coatimundis, monkies, and a vast array of birds. We spotted within the park white-nosed coatimundis, howler and white-face (capuchin) monkeys, and too many birds to list. We actually spotted a wood thrush that is also seen back home!
The trails vary from a smaller loop to full day hikes to the beach. Although well marked, part of the trail we took was so dilapidated we were unsure if we were supposed to be there. Nevertheless, we crossed the river easily in the dry season but it would be interesting to see the park during the wet months. It was so worth the ‘massaging’ dirt road there and the muggy, hot, mosquito-infested atmosphere. The park ranger at the entrance was very nice, told us about the bones that have washed ashore which include baby whale vertebra, ribs, and jaw bones as well as a dolphin skull.
It was beautiful, peaceful, and a great workout. – Jes