Cabo Blanco Strict National Reserve
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Size: 1,172 hectares
Distance from San José: 300 kilometers
Camping: Not permitted
Dry season: November to April
Cabo Blanco is a very important refuge for the protection of sea birds, and also one of the most scenic spots along the Pacific Coast. Deep blue waters fringed with a dense green forest that grows tight down to the edge of the beach, interesting geological formations, a variety of wildlife and countless tidal pools where a myriad of sea creatures get caught, make Cabo Blanco one of the most beautiful and fascinating wilderness areas in the park system.
The reserve was established by executive decree in 1963. It is the only government-protected area created before the inception of the park service in 1970 that has survived to this day.
Cabo Blanco owes its existence as a protected area to Olaf Wessberg, who moved to a small ranch on the peninsula with his wife from their native Sweden in 1955. It wasn’t long after arriving that the danger of destruction from rapidly expanding agricultural settlement and lumbering. They set about collecting funds necessary to purchase the last large stand of forest, and in 1963 bought the land that now comprises the reserve.
Mr. Wessberg was killed while in the process of trying to gain protection for what was to become Corcovado National Park, but his wife, Karen, still lives in the town of Montezuma and can tell you much about the early days of the reserve.
Due to the fact that there is a greater amount of rainfall here than in the rest of the "Dry Pacific" with approximately 2,300 mm. a year, The Cabo Blanco forest are made up predominantly of evergreen species.
You will find a spiny cedar tree which is a national monument that grows next to the trail to Maven Peak. It is 50 meters tall and 3 meters in diameter at chest height.
Marine life at Cabo Blanco is varied with a large population of fish, crabs, chitons, nerites, lobsters, shrimp, giant conch, clams and many other species native to the intertidal zones and neighboring waters.
A very visible landmark and an impregnable refuge for sea birds is Cabo Blanco Island, located 1.6 km. of the coast. It is a steep, rocky mound that is completely devoid of vegetation. It takes its name from the large deposits of bird guano of this color. Another place of special interest is a long rocky ledge that just out from the very tip of the cape where the Nicoya Peninsula ends. It is an excellent spot to explore during low tide when a variety of marine creatures that live in the intertidal zone can be observed on enormous proportions. On the northern tip of Cabo Blanco Beach there is an awesome cliff that towers over the surrounding seascape. Balsitas Beach is sometimes used by sea turtles to lay their eggs.
Animals found here: tree squirrels, white-tailed deer, howler monkey, spider monkey and white-faced capuchin monkey, Mexican tree porcupine, agouti, paca, kinkajou, coyote, common long-nosed armadillo and tiger cat.
Birds found here: brown pelicans, frigatebird, laughing gull, common tern and brown booby, pelicans, ospreys, lonng-tailed manakin, magpie jay, cattle egret, green heron, crested caracara, elegant trogon, white-bellied chachalaca, ringed kingfisher, sulphur-winged parakeet, and turkey vulture.
Trees found here: silk-cotton tree, camibar, cotonron, sonzapote, lemonwood, bastar cedar, wild plum, gumbo-limbo, trumpet tree, dogwood, frangipani, spiny cedar, chicle tree, espave, and also 165 other species