Nestled far from the beaten path at the southernmost tip of the Nicoya Peninsula where dirt roads are highways lies Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve – Costa Rica’s oldest protected wilderness area.
To honor the park’s 49th anniversary, local residents of all ages gathered on Sunday, October 21, to celebrate – rain or shine.
The festivities, held at Plaza Cabuya (the soccer field clubhouse in the adjacent pueblo) featured dance troupes from the local schools, an orchestral performance by students attending the Montezuma Music School and a soccer match between local residents that included several of the nine park rangers employed at Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Reserve.
Las Mujeres de Kinder –a volunteer group of mothers of kindergarteners who fundraise for the primary school – kept busy serving generous portions of local dishes made to order for a hungry crowd. The program which began at 11 am ended just in time for the anticipated afternoon downpour.
Cabo Blanco covers 12 square miles of tropical forests with numerous hiking trails surrounded by pristine white-sand beaches that give the park its name.
Cabo Blanco, although quite small in comparison to the other 20 national parks in Costa Rica, is a moist microclimate – home to the howler monkeys and a nesting spot for brown pelicans.
Francisco Perez Lopez who has been a park ranger for 15 years, is proud of the important work done at the reserve. “Cabo Blanco falls under the jurisdiction of ACT (Area Conservacion Tempisque), a national conservation organization responsible for protecting wildlife and nature throughout the Nicoya Peninsula.”
The area known as Cabo Blanco was entirely off-limits to visitors prior to the late 1980’s due to strict efforts to preserve the wilderness. Since then several trails have been opened to tourists, although the park is only open from Wednesday through Sunday from 8am to 4 pm in an effort to help keep foot traffic to a minimum.
To see images of Cabo Blanco’s 49th anniversary celebration visit: sallyricefotos.com
For more information on national parks in Costa Rica please visit: www.costarica-nationalparks.com