Cabuya Island is one of those magical spots that most people see, but few people actually take the time to walk out to. It’s a place of fear, legend, rumor, and excitement, supposedly haunted by ghosts at night, due to the fact that it’s been a cemetery for as long as anyone can remember. Supposedly, when Spanish settlers first arrive here, it was already a place where the natives buried their dead, and was guarded by spirits, magic, and was controlled by the village shaman. The newcomers continued the tradition by keeping it a cemetery. When funerals are held there at night, the participants will sometimes walk to the island holding candles and lights, creating an eerie sight as seen from the hills above Cabuya, Los Cedros, Delicias, and Montezuma, because it looks like lights are walking across the water.
Hike out to the Island
Check a Costa Rica Tide Chart, then at low tide, a spit of land opens up between Cabuya Island and the mainland, so you can walk out there. It’s very hot in the full sun and humidity, so be prepared with a large floppy hat and lots of drinking water. Once you arrive you can peruse the grave sites, or head to what’s known as one of the best snorkeling spots on the pacific coast of Costa Rica.
Amazing Snorkeling Spot
The water here is often cloudy, but when it’s clear, you can find big heads of hard coral (the only coral of this type on the peninsula). The nearby protected waters of Cabo Blanco Park ensure that there’s a lot of fish here. The best spot for snorkeling is on the north side of the land, at low tide. You can find all types of fish such as puffers and a rainbow assortment of others. Lobsters, octopus, sea turtles, and if you’re extremely lucky you may see a seahorse, which live here but are almost never spotted, even by the professional divers who live in Montezuma.
Surf Spot – Cabuya Island’s Secret Reef
The south side of Cabuya Island has a great surf spot… an open secret called “The Secret Reef”. Because of the long hot hike to get out there, few tourists ever head to this spot because there are so many easier surfing opportunities in Santa Teresa. But locals go there from time to time, since during the right swell conditions, it can form a large heavy wave that thrills adrenaline junkies.
Many people who choose to surf here don’t walk out but instead hire a boat from Montezuma or Cabuya to take them out to the wave.