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Cabuya Island

At the southern tip of the Nicoyan Peninsula, just off the coast of Montezuma, lies Cabuya Island, one of Costa Rica’s must secluded and paradisaical places to escape the crowds and relax. This remote island features a myriad of relaxing and exciting activities, and visitors can get a break from the bustle mainland life with snorkeling excursions around the island, surf breaks at the world-class Secret Reef surf spot, or with yoga at at a beautiful yoga studio.

Cabuya Island is easily accessed by bus from the mainland, and during low tide it is even possible to walk to the island because the stretch of water between the island and the mainland drains away to reveal a sandy walkway. Don’t miss this fantastic location in Costa Rica, which is one of our favorites at BookingYoga.com to escape the crowds and really immerse yourself in Costa Rica’s “Pura Vida!”

Cabuya Island

Costa Rica


Costa Rican Colón

Important dates in Costa Rica

Because Cabuya is such a sheltered retreat, visitors will not usually find many local festivals. The easily reachable city of Montezuma which lies a short 10 km bus ride away, has celebrations for typical Costa Rican Holidays, including:

  • January 1st: New Year’s Day
  • March/April: Easter Week
  • April 11: Juan Santamaria Day
  • May 1st: Labor Day
  • July 25: Annexation of Guanacaste Day
  • Aug 2: Patron Saint Day
  • Aug. 15: Mother’s Day
  • Sept. 15: Independence Day
  • Oct 12 (entire weekend): Limon Carnaval
  • Nov. 2: Dia de los Inocentes
  • Dec. 24: Christmas Eve
  • Dec. 25: Christmas Day

Interesting facts

  • Cabuya Island is also often called Cemetery Island for the cemetery which is visible on the island, and has been in use for as long as anyone can remember.
  • At low tide, it is possible and enjoyable to walk from Cabuya Island to mainland Montezuma. Just make sure you don’t get stuck on the wrong side when the water comes back!
  • Cabuya is home to a Giant Banyan tree, thought by many to be the largest tree in Costa Rica.
  • Cabuya sits at the entrance to Cabo Blanco, a giant nature preserve that is one of the first conservation efforts of Costa Rica. The protections from fishing in this preserve is credited with the amazing fish biodiversity that can be seen when snorkeling around the island.

Good to know

The roads to access Cabuya Island are seasonal, and for much of the year the island is only reachable by boat. Make sure to check the conditions before you plan your trip to avoid a difficult transfer when you arrive!

Culture and Etiquette in Costa Rica

The influence of the culture for this region comes from the Caribbean, North and South America. The locals, who are endearingly called Ticos, are very proud of their heritage and enjoy conversing with foreigners about family, politics, education, peace and their homeland. Speaking of interaction between locals, when asked how you are doing, it’s common to state pura vida, which translates to full of life, in this particular instance. This word, used in many contexts, is as fluid as water. Ticos use it to answer ‘how are you?’, to reply to a ‘thanks’, and just to express joy.

You won’t have a hard time making friends with the Ticos, as they are friendly humans who take pride in their piece of paradise. When it comes to punctuality, you can expect lateness, as it is just a slice of the culture. In order to conserve the beautiful nature of ‘chill’ that exists in Costa Rica, the lack of awareness and recognition of time’s importance needs to be peacefully accepted. When traveling by bus, just make sure you are planning for a possible 2-hour delay.

If you plan to venture through the rainforests it’s best to bring bug spray, long pants and a hat. Creepy crawly bugs are not strangers to this area. For those who enjoy soaking up the rays in the beach zone, relaxed attire is very much welcome here.

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Cabuya Island is a true haven for relaxation and natural beauty in Costa Rica. It’s easy to see why several resorts have sprung up in the area catering to tourists looking to escape from the bustle of daily life by unwinding in this tropical paradise! On the island itself you’ll find pristine beaches, beautiful natural reserves, and secret surf spots. Even with all this relaxation, it’s easy to hit nearby Montezuma for night life and fine eateries if you find yourself craving some more excitement. Overall, Cabuya Island can be a perfect escape for any type of traveler, and it makes an excellent destination for a family or group of friends each seeking a little different slice of paradise.

Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve

Cabo Blanco is one of Costa Rica’s first nature preserves. Originally founded by two foreigners living in Costa Rica in 1963, this wildlife sanctuary hosts a beautiful array if animal and plant life. This preserve stretches over 1172 hectares, giving visitors ample choice of hiking and walking trails. Maybe the best part of hiking in this beautiful nature reserve, however, is the opportunity to cool off with a swim at one of the many pristine beaches at the end of the trail. Be sure to keep an eye out for the over 150 types of identified tree, and listen closely to see how many different bird species you can discover!

The Secret Reef Surf Spot

On the south side of Cabuya Island you can find a hidden and almost exclusive surf location ideal for beginners and advanced surfers alike. This is a pristine sport that takes a bit of work to get to, but is totally worth it for an exciting day of amazing surfing when the waves a breaking.

Snorkel Around Cabuya Island

The small size of Cabuya Island make it a perfectly timed adventure to circumnavigate the island with with your snorkel equipment, and the proximity to the previously mentioned nature preserve means there’s an abundance of exotic fish that can survive and thrive without constant pressure of fishing. Make sure the conditions are right though, because when the tides are strong and the waves a rolling the area can get a bit murky.

Visit the Ancient Cemetery on Cobuya Island

One of the more spooky sights on Cobuya is the cemetery which dates back to Columbian times. Now, the cemetery can be visited during the day to see some ancient grave sites. More interesting, however, is if you can catch a glimpse of a modern funeral service held on the island. For these services, candles are lit on the island which can be seen all the way in neighboring cities, and they provide a solumn, but beautiful reminder, of the fragility of life.

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Costa Rican food is known for its simplicity and freshness–imagine fresh, perfectly tenderized beef over a bed of steaming rice paired with fresh avacado, papaya, piña (pinapple), melon and banana, all perfectly seasoned and forming a mouthwatering, but simple, lunch. This is the perfect food to help cleanse your diet and refresh whether you are on a yoga retreat or a surfing getaway to this beautiful Central American destination.

That being said, Costa Rican food can still be adventurous and exciting for the foodie-traveler! You might find yourself trying a veggie or fruit you’ve never heard of and whose name you can hardly pronounce. Yuca, Mangosteen, Rambutan, and Chayote are just some of the common, popular staples you might find at a local farmer’s market or as a delicious side for your lunch time meal. Maybe you will even end up with a new favorite pairing you can bring home with you!

We think you will love the new foods you try when you are in Cabuya, but to give a you a bit better idea of what types of dining you might expect, we have put together this little guide which features some of the best spots to enjoy when you are visiting this paradise on the Niocoya peninsula.

Cabuya Bakery and Cafe

Located just next to Cabuya Island, making it the perfect place to siesta after an invigorating morning surfing, snorkeling or hiking around Cabo Blanco, is Cabuya Bakery and Cafe. This local Costa Rican joint features authentic local cooking, Costa Rican sweets and pastries, as well as heavenly fresh fruit smoothies. Local visitors say that you have to try the chocolate cake and banana smoothie if you’re stopping for a snack. For a more filling lunch, however, the arroz con pollo, a Costa Rican favorite, is a great choice.

Don’t hesitate to take an afternoon to relax in beauty of Cabuya at this local pananderia (Costa Rican for Bakery). Sip a coffee, watch the birds, and remember to smile because you’re in paradise on earth!

The bakery is located at: Main Road, Cabuya, Montezuma Costa Rica.

You can give them a call at +506-2642-1184 to ask questions or for help finding this beautiful eatery.

Playa de los Artistas

Looking for a romantic evening under the palms? Look no further than Playa de los Artistas. This gorgeous seafood restaurant specializes in fresh fish, giant sunsets, and cozy seating. The best part? Your table will be located right on the beach, allowing you to witness the pristine Costa Rican coastline in all its glory as the sun sets behind you. Located in Montezuma, this is about a fifteen minute drive from Cabuya Island, but it is totally worth the distance. We recommend trying some local seafood–take your choice of the local catch which can include shrimp, lobster, Pargo Rojo, Dorado, among others.

You can Playa de los Artistas just across the street from Los Mangos Hotel in Montezuma. Call them for a reservation at +506 2642 0920. Cash only!

Ylang Ylang Restaurant

An unexpected surprise in Costa Rica is an excellent western restaurant called Ylang Ylang. This spot features a taste of all over the world, including North American, Spanish and Japanese flavors. Their sushi is known as one of the bests in the area–and it really stands out thanks to the fresh fish local to the area. Though you won’t be getting the local Costa Rican experience here, this can be great option if you’re feeling a bit homesick and just need a taste you’re familiar with.

Make a booking with Ylang Ylang at their website here.

Find them at the Ylang Ylang beach resort.

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