One of Costa Rica's most popular national parks begins at the southern edge of the town of Cahuita. Its rain forest extends right to the edge of its curving, utterly undeveloped 3-km (2-mile) white-sand beach. (Let's call it a "whitish-sand beach.") The park was created to protect the 2½-square-km (1-square-mile) coral reef that encircles the coast and offers excellent snorkeling off Cahuita Point. Trails into the rain forest reveal howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys, coatimundis, armadillos, and raccoons. As is the case on this coast, you can expect rain here no matter what the time of year. February through April and September and October are drier months, and offer the best visibility for snorkeling.
Southern end of Cahuita, Cahuita, 70403, Costa Rica
/2755–0461-Cahuita entrance; /2755–0302-Puerto Vargas entrance