Cabuya Costa Rica – A Unique Island Cemetery Guide

Have you ever heard of Cabuya Costa Rica? Probably not! It is a really small seaside town on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica which is home to an unusual cemetery located on an island. The cemetery can only be accessed during low tide when a shale pathway is uncovered.

We visited on the morning after Tropical Storm Nate hit Costa Rica. At that point, we had no idea that the rest of the country had been hit so badly by the storm. The storm made for an eerie experience, as you’ll see in the pictures.

cabuya cemetery in Costa Rica

This complete guide to Cabuya Cemetery island will tell you all you need to know to have a successful visit including when to visit, what to wear, and fun things to do nearby.

History of Cabuya Cemetery

The Cabuya cemetery has been used as a burial ground since the 1700’s. It is still used today, with some of the graves being very recent.

Several years ago there were bids from developers to buy the island, but the locals refused because of the deep history attached to this haunting island.

cabuya cemetery in Costa Rica

I’m not sure of the validity of this, but apparently, during a full moon, the funeral processions take place at night.

Helpful Tips for Visiting Cabuya Cemetery

– Get there about an hour before the lowest tide point. Because the island is only accessible during low tide it is best to get there about an hour before the lowest tide point. You will be able to walk out without any problems at that time. This will allow you a few hours of time out on the island without having to worry that the tide will go in and you will be stuck.

– Be respectful of any locals out there. When we visited there was a group of locals gathered on the shore. We were about hesitant at first because we weren’t sure if we were interrupting a funeral. One woman was crying which made us a bit nervous. We then realized that they were all dressed in normal clothes and everyone just seemed to be standing around talking.

cabuya cemetery in Costa Rica

Thomas thinks that maybe one of the local fishermen had been lost at sea. It was the morning after the tropical storm, and everyone looked kind of nervous.

We don’t know what as going on, but either way, we tried to be very respectful and quiet. Just be aware there could be a funeral during your visit.

– The northern tip is apparently a great place to snorkel. We did not snorkel because it clearly was not the best day for it, but apparently, the northern tip is a great spot for it. We always suggest bringing your own snorkel to Costa Rica. It will allow you to have the flexibility of snorkeling wherever and whenever you want. I recently bought this one for Thomas and he loves it!

Cabuya Costa Rica - A Unique Island Cemetery Guide  – The walk is relatively easy. As you can see in the picture below, the walk to the island is flat. It is covered in sharp rocks though and it can be a bit slippery. The island itself is a flat dirt pathway.

cabuya cemetery in Costa Rica

Important Info about Cabuya Costa Rica

Directions: The easiest way to get to Cabuya Cemetery is from Montezuma. It will take about 20 minutes. It is possible to get there from the Santa Teresa area as well, but during the rainy season, it requires a river crossing. Type in “Cabuya Island” into your GPS and the directions to the island will come up. Just note you will need four wheel drive or at least a car with good clearance to get here. The road is not paved.

Pro Tip: Rent a car with Adobe through our site and get a 10% discount plus a second driver for free!

Parking: You can park on the side of the road where the road ends. There is nobody watching cars here (at least there wasn’t when we were there) so please don’t leave anything of value in your vehicle.

Cost: It is free to visit the Cabuya Cemetery.

To bring: Snorkeling gear, a hat, water, snacks, camera

road to cabuya cemetery in Costa Rica

To wear: You will need some kind of stable shoe to get out here. I wore flip flops and majorly regretted it because the rocks you have to walk to get out there are very sharp. I suggest something like Chacos or Keens.

If you plan on swimming, you will need to wear your bathing suit. There are not any bathrooms out on the island.

Amount of time you’ll need: We spent about an hour at Cabuya Cemetery, but you could definitely make it a longer visit and do some swimming.

cabuya cemetery in Costa Rica

What to do after visiting Cabuya Cemetery?

There are plenty of nice beaches On the stretch between Cabuya Costa Rica and Montezuma. We suggest stopping along the way to check out a few of them. Also, close to the cemetery, you will drive by this cool old tree. It’s huge! Definitely, stop to check it out.

tree in Cabuya

From the Cabuya Cemetery, you are also very close to Cabo Blanco Reserve. This is a great hiking spot. We have a complete guide to the Cabo Blanco Reserve here.

Have any questions about Cabuya Costa Rica Cemetery? Leave them in the comment section below and we’ll help you out!

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Having a rental car will give you the most flexibility when traveling in Costa Rica. This will also allow you to take fun day trips on your own.

🏄🏽 How can I book things to do?

We find that Viator tends to have the most comprehensive selection of activities with secure booking and good cancellation policies.

🍍 I’m overwhelmed with planning. Can you help?

Of course! I suggest joining our Facebook group for specific questions and head to our Start Here Page to get started planning.

✈️ What is the best way to book a flight?

Usually, we have the best luck finding great prices with Skyscanner. Check for flights to both San Jose Airport (SJO) and Liberia Airport (LIR).

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We highly suggest for hotel bookings and typically use VRBO for Costa Rica vacation rentals.

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The main language in Costa Rica is Spanish. Most people working in tourism speak at least some English.

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The currency used in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colón (CRC). However, the US dollar is widely accepted in most tourist areas

📞 What is the best way to stay connected?

An eSIM from Airalo is the easiest way to get 4G data while traveling in Costa Rica.

🌴 Is Costa Rica safe?

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🛂 Do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica?

Yes, Costa Rica is its own country. You will need a passport to visit.

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