On Day 2, we were up early to make preparations to tour the national park aboard a canoe. Roberto had arranged the tour, and we were told we’d see lots of wildlife, including exotic birds, monkeys, sloths, and maybe some alligators. However, at the last minute we decided to cancel the tour and head to our next destination, a small town named Cahuita. It was about a four-hour drive, and we wanted to arrive before nightfall.
Cahuita is a district of the Talamanca Canton in the Limon Province of Costa Rica. It is located about 163 miles from Panama’s northern border on the Caribbean coast. Due to its proximity to the Caribbean shoreline, Cahuita is renowned for the Afro-Caribbean influence on its dining and local culture. The city is specifically known for its beaches, dessert crepes (often including local bananas, strawberries, and chocolate), and variations of grilled chicken.
While traveling to Cahuita, we stopped in Limon because Jeanetta and Gerardo wanted us to sample the flavor of the city. Unfortunately, the highway was under construction in many areas, which slowed us down considerably. We finally arrived in Limon at nightfall and drove around the central area. We saw lots of people out shopping while Latin and Calypso music blared from small shops and lovers hung out near the beach. Normally when you bring up the name Limon, many people give it a bad rap, referring to high crime and drugs, but that can describe any city in the United States, as far as I am concerned. We didn’t spend enough time n Limon for me to draw an honest opinion one way or the other. Perhaps we will go back one day and spend more time. I’ve been told that the Annual Afro-Caribbean Town Festival is something we absolutely must experience.
We had already decided to spend the night at Cabinas Smith in Cahuita, which was owned by Joyce, an Afro-Costa Rican woman Jeanetta had met years earlier. Joyce was very happy and surprised to see her friend Jeanetta again. We were fortunate because she only had a few rooms available. We had not made reservations, and it turned out that we needed to be out the following morning. That’s just how Jeanetta likes to roll, which makes it an adventure and a lot more exciting. It was about 7:30 when we arrived and everyone was hungry, so we decided to grab a bite to eat at Restaurante Vista Del Mar. We were all surprised at the amount of food on our plates—enormous helpings of food. No one will go hungry eating here, that’s for sure!
We had decided not to spend a lot of money on this trip by staying at fancy-schmancy hotels. Cabinas Smith’s rates were only 25000 colones per night (about US$41). When traveling like this, the focus is on finding clean lodging in a safe area. This was the case in both places we stayed.