Cabuya, Costa Rica: Nicoya Peninsula Beach Village Guide

Cabuya, Costa Rica is a peaceful beach village on the Nicoya Peninsula

cabuya costa rica beach view
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Cabuya is a small fishing village located between Montezuma and Mal Pais on the Nicoya Peninsula. As of now, this is a peaceful place to visit.

However, I expect that in the next few years, the road between Mal Pais and Cabuya will be paved. This will make it easy to pass from Montezuma and Santa Teresa and then this area will blow up in popularity.

So, visit now and enjoy the relaxed vibes while you can!

We like this area because although it is peaceful, there is still plenty to do in the nearby area. You could easily spend several days here.

Cabuya Background Info

Nearest International Airport

The Liberia International Airport (LIR) and San Jose International Airport (SJO) are accessible

visit the beautiful beaches, hike at Cabo Blanco Reserve, visit Montezuma Waterfall

Best Way to Get Around

Rental car

Best Time of Year to Visit

Dry season is from late December until mid-April, but this area tends to stay somewhat dry throughout the year

Grocery Stores

There is a small grocery store called Super Davis in the center of the village. For a bit more variety head into Montezuma and go to Super Montezuma.


There isn’t any ATM or bank here. The nearest option is Banco Nacional in Cobano.

Gas Stations

There are two decent-sized gas stations in Cobano (about 30 minutes from Cabuya), so plan accordingly.

(keep in mind all gas stations here are full-service. So stay in your car and an employee will fill your car up).

Cabuya, Costa Rica: Nicoya Peninsula Beach Village Guide

Map Of Cabuya

Cabuya is located on the very tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.

The village is close to the more popular towns of Montezuma and Santa Teresa.

Should You Visit Cabuya?

Cabuya is a small peaceful village, but despite that, there are plenty of things to do nearby. This is actually our favorite area in the country. It just has a different vibe than every other area of the country.

So, in our opinion, yes it is worth visiting.

Montezuma would be our top pick if you want to be in the area, but want more of a downtown area with some restaurants and shops.

If you are interested in surfing, yoga, and tons of things happening; then head to Santa Teresa.

Cabuya is for those of you looking for all the peaceful beach vibes.

Cabuya Weather

cabuya beach

Like most of the country, the dry season here runs from mid-December until April or May.

In early May the rainy season usually begins. 

From May until August, you can expect some afternoon rainstorms, however, we once visited in early August and we didn’t have any rain during the four days we were there. You just never know!

From mid-August until December a lot of things close down because the weather can be really rainy.

We visited one year in late September and it rained every day but the next year we visited at the same time and had perfect weather. 

It’s impossible to predict.

  • Sun Rise: Between 5:20 am (June) and 5:50 am (December)
  • Sun Set: Between 5:20 pm (Dec.) and 6:00 pm (June)
  • Average Day Time Temperature: 77 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 35 °C)
  • Average Night Time Temperature: 68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 25 °C)

Check out our guide to Costa Rica Weather by Month for more info

Pro Tip: If traveling during the rainy season just ignore the weather forecast. They often predict rain all day and that is just not true. 

Cabuya Transportation

Here are all the transportation options in this area.

Flights to Cabuya

Cabuya is accessible from both the Liberia Internation Airport and the San Jose International Airport. 

More and more airlines are starting service to Liberia so check out the rates. It may be worth it for you.

If you haven’t booked your flight yet, we suggest using Skyscanner. We consistently find the best rates through their website.

Check out our guides:

Transportation to Cabuya

From either the San Jose or Liberia Airport, there are a few different ways you can get here.

We suggest renting your car with our favorite Costa Rica rental car company, Adobe. They have an office at the Liberia Airport and at the San Jose Airport. 

We suggest them because they are upfront with their prices, have excellent customer service, and are a great local company.

They have kindly given us a 10% discount plus other great perks to pass on to you. 

⤷ Book Your Rental Car with Adobe

You do not need a 4×4 to get to Cabuya, but it is suggested. The road from Montezuma to Cabuya is unpaved and a lot of the side roads are hilly, involve river crossings, and are unpaved.

At a minimum, we suggest renting an SUV for decent clearance. 

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Driving to Cabuya from San Jose International Airport

We always suggest renting a car and driving to Cabuya on your own. 

There are two ways to make this trip.

  1. Drive the entire way. This will take about six hours.
  2. Take the ferry from Puntarenas. This will take about five hours (but 80 minutes of that are no driving because you’ll be on the ferry)

So, let’s go through each one.

Driving the Whole Way

If you opt to drive the entire way we suggest driving from the city to the coast on Route 27. This is a toll road. They accept US dollars or colones.

Near Puntarenas, you will exit onto Route 1 heading north. This road has been under construction for a while because they are widening it. So, you may have smooth sailing, but might also hit construction.

In the town of La Palma you will hit a roundabout where you will go to the left onto route 18. 

If you need a bathroom or food break, there is a small plaza on the right before the roundabout that has a KFC and Subway in it.

Other than that, there are not a lot of options for quick meals.

And I will admit, Subway is weirdly very good in Costa Rica. 

Immediately after the roundabout there is also a gas station on the left on the corner. If you need a gas station, snack, or bathroom this is a good spot to stop.

From there, you will continue on Route 18 to Nicoya.

There are always police hanging out on Route 18, so stick to the speed limit. 

In Nicoya you will turn left and finally be heading south of the Nicoya hook. 

They recently redid all of these roads so they are super nice in many spots. But, keep an eye out, there are a lot of speed bumps that are sometimes not well marked. We have definitely flown over a few!

Drive along the coast until you hit the town of Paquera (this is where you would have come out if you took the ferry). 

From Paquera, continue driving on Route 160. Follow the signs for Cobano / Santa Teresa.

Continue on Route 160 until you reach Cobano, which is approximately a 30 to 40-minute drive from Paquera.

In Cobano, follow the signs for Montezuma. You will need to take a left turn to connect to Route 624.

Continue on Route 624 until you reach downtown Montezuma. In Montezuma, take a right and drive down the coastal road until you end at Cabuya.

Taking the Ferry

The best way to do this (if coming from San Jose) is by going on the Puntarenas ferry to Paquera. In total this trip will take about five to six hours.

However, about two of those hours will be spent on the ferry/ getting off the ferry. So, in actuality, it is not too much driving.

Enter,”Naviera Tambor ferry” as your destination in your GPS. This will bring you to the ferry terminal in Puntarenas.

Basically, you will drive on Route 27 all the way to the city of Puntarenas. Route 27 is a toll road. You will spend about $8 USD in tolls. They accept US dollars or Costa Rican colones. 

In Puntarenas you will exit and drive straight through the downtown area until the very tip of Puntarenas. 

This is a city so there are a lot of traffic lights and people walking everywhere.

At the ferry terminal you will drive your car onto the ferry, exit your car and sit up top and enjoy the ride.

Check out our guide to the Puntarenas ferry for all the details

We suggest prebooking a ferry ticket to ensure you get on board. You want to go in the direction of “Paquera”

From Paquera, continue driving on Route 160. Follow the signs for Cobano / Santa Teresa.

Continue on Route 160 until you reach Cobano, which is approximately a 30 to 40-minute drive from Paquera.

In Cobano, follow the signs for Montezuma. You will need to take a left turn to connect to Route 624.

Continue on Route 624 until you reach downtown Montezuma. In Montezuma, take a right and drive down the coastal road until you end at Cabuya.

From downtown Cobano it will take about 30 minutes to reach Cabuya.

Note: We suggest using the free app Waze for directions in Costa Rica. It is widely used here and people are great about marking where there are police, things in the road, etc.

Driving to Cabuya from Liberia Airport

From the airport head south on Route 21 toward Nicoya.

Continue on Route 21 until you reach the town of Nicoya. In Nicoya there are some food places and gas stations if you need a break.

Also, if you would like one of the most interesting dining experiences of your life, check out, Bernina Artisan Food.

It is about a 10 minute detour but totally worth it.

But keep in mind it is on the high end price wise and you will probably end up spending at least an hour here.

Anyway, in Nicoya, you will stay on Route 21 all the way to Paquera. 

In Paquera, turn left onto Route 160. 

Continue on Route 160 until you reach Cobano, which is approximately a 30 to 40-minute drive from Paquera.

In Cobano, follow the signs for Montezuma. You will need to take a left turn to connect to Route 624.

Continue on Route 624 until you reach downtown Montezuma. In Montezuma, take a right and drive down the coastal road until you end at Cabuya.

From downtown Cobano it will take about 30 minutes to reach Cabuya.

Note: Google Maps may try to direct you along the west coast on the Nicoya Peninsula. Don’t drive this route! It involves river crossings and is almost impossible to pass. You want to drive along the east coast of the Nicoya Peninsula. 

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Public Bus

Taking the public bus to Cabuya is really difficult because it involves switching buses three or four times. 

We don’t suggest doing this, but if you would like to try it, use the website The Bus Schedule for the best routes. 

Private Transfer

If you don’t feel comfortable driving, a private transfer is always a good option. Adobe Car Rental now provides an excellent transfer service.

A trusted driver will take you from any place in the country directly to your place of choice in Cabuya. 

Get a Private Transfer Price Quote to Cabuya

Domestic Flights

There isn’t an airport directly in Cabuya, but the Cobano Airport is only about 30 minutes away by car or taxi. 

Sansa is the main domestic airline in Costa Rica and they offer flights from San Jose Airport to Cobano. 

Transportation in Cabuya

Once you arrive in Cabuya you will need transportation to get to fun activities. Here is our opinion on that….

We always suggest renting a car because it gives you the most flexibility.

Most activities are located within a thirty-minute drive of downtown.

As we mentioned above, you don’t need a 4×4 vehicle, but an SUV with decent clearance is best.

Also, if you plan to drive to Mal Pais or Santa Teresa, it is best to go around rather than through the road at Mal Pais. If you go by Mal Pais you will need to do river crossings, which are mostly impossible during the rainy season. 

Our #1 Car Rental Choice
Cabuya, Costa Rica: Nicoya Peninsula Beach Village Guide

Adobe Rent-a-Car

  • 10% discount for Costa Rica Vibes readers
  • Free second driver
  • 0% deductible on Liability Protection Insurance
  • Excellent customer service
  • New fleet of well-maintained vehicles

Things to Do in Cabuya

Here are the best activities to do near Cabuya.

Visit Cabuya Island Cemetery

cabuya island cemetery entry

The Cabuya Cemetery is located on an island that is accessible by walking from the mainland during low tide. This cemetery has some very unusual gravestones and is an interesting place to walk around.

Check out the Cabuya Cemetery Guide for More Info

Hike at Cabo Blanco Reserve

Cabuya, Costa Rica: Nicoya Peninsula Beach Village Guide

Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve is located at the very southern tip of Cabuya.

The hike is mostly flat, but a bit strenuous due to the heat. However, you will be rewarded with this beautiful spot pictured above.

🌴 Check out our guide to Cabo Blanco Reserve for more info 🌴

Go Beach Hopping

View between trees of the beach in Mal Pais, Costa Rica

There are a lot of really nice beaches in Cabuya and the surrounding area.

All beaches in Costa Rica need to have free public access by law. That means the entire coastline is yours to explore.

We like to just hop in our rental car and drive to see what cool spots we can find.

In Cabuya you should visit Playa Cabuya and Playa Los Cedros.

Soak in a River Pool

In Cabuya there is a river, called Rio Lajas, that creates a nice pool to soak in. I marked it on Google Maps for you here.

Take a Day Trip to Santa Teresa

santa teresa costa rica

Santa Teresa is the most popular beach town in the area. On a map, Cabuya and Santa Teresa appear to be very close together. However, we don’t suggest attempting the direct road between the two towns unless you have a 4-wheels drive vehicle and only during dry season. During the rainy season the rivers get to high and this area is not easy to pass.

Santa Teresa is a popular surfing and yoga town with a lot of fun shops and restaurants.

Check out our Complete Guide to Santa Teresa for more info

Swim Under the Montezuma Waterfalls

Cabuya, Costa Rica: Nicoya Peninsula Beach Village Guide

The Montezuma Waterfalls are just a short drive from Cabuya. There are two entry points to see the three cascading falls.

We recommend accessing from downtown Montezuma to get to the biggest waterfall that you can swim under.

Check out our guide to the Montezuma Waterfalls for more info

Take a Day Trip to Isla Tortuga

isla tortuga from above

From downtown Montezuma, you can arrange a day trip by boat out to Isla Tortuga.

Isla Tortuga is a remote, uninhabited island with white sand beaches and turquoise waters.

This trip also includes snorkeling and lunch.

Check out our Guide to Isla Tortuga for more info

Walk the Montezuma Beach

Cabuya, Costa Rica: Nicoya Peninsula Beach Village Guide

From downtown Montezuma walk north on the beach. You can walk this beach for hours and will be treated to a walk through a nature reserve as well as this beautiful waterfall flowing into the ocean.

For more info check out our guide to The Montezuma Beach Walk

Go Bioluminescent Kayaking

Have you ever experienced bioluminescence? In Paquera (where the ferry lands) it is possible to see bioluminescence year-round (but is is best at a new moon).

The best company for a bioluminescent kayak tour is Bahia Rica Adventures.

Just note that this experience does not include transportation, so you will need to drive yourself to where the adventure starts.

Check Availability and Book Your Bioluminescent Tour

Visit Curu Reserve

curu reserve

Curu Reserve is a lesser visited hiking area near the town of Paquera. From Cabuya it will take you about an hour to drive here. There are a variety of hiking trails where you can see wildlife and a beautiful beach.

Check out our guide to Curu Reserve for more info


Here are the best hotels in Cabuya. For more options nearby, check out our guide to the best hotels in Montezuma.

Some other great options are….

  • Jungle Lodge at Wild Sun Rescue Center: A beautiful hotel with infinity pool and views of the coast. Additionally, if you would like a volunteer opportunity, they are currently looking for volunteers in their wildlife rescue center. Get the details here.
  • Villas Cabuya Beach & Jungle: Simple (but nice) accommodation option with a pool. Each unit has a private kitchenette area, so you can prepare basic meals here. They offer a family room that can sleep up to 6 guests.
  • Coyote Rooms: This place has a bit of a boutique feel to it. They offer rooms with shared or private bathrooms. There isn’t a pool here, but you can easily walk to the ocean.
  • Calala Lodge: A beautiful jungle hotel consisting of private bungalows that can sleep up to 5 guests. There is a pool on the property.

Vacation Packages

Take the planning, stress, and guesswork out of traveling by booking a multi-day tour with an experienced guide.

For more tour ideas check out Tour Radar

Costa Rica Adventure

⭐️ RATING: 4.8/5 Stars on TourRadar | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  10 Days | ✅ Book it!

  • Relax in volcanic hot springs and hike to the base of a waterfall in La Fortuna
  • Take a wildlife night tour in Monteverde
  • Hike the Montezuma Waterfall and visit Cabuya Island Cemetery

Costa Rica: Ocean Waves & Sunsets

⭐️ RATING: 4.7/5 Stars on TourRadar | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH:  8 Days | ✅ Book it!

  • Visit the wildlife-filled Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve
  • Take a full-day boat trip out to the tropical Isla Tortuga
  • Try surfing, ziplining, boogie boarding, horseback riding or scuba diving

Restaurants in Cabuya

Cabuya, Costa Rica: Nicoya Peninsula Beach Village Guide

A lot of restaurants in Costa Rica do not have websites, so the best way to find places is through TripAdvisor.

  • La Selva Cerveza: If you are interested in craft beer, definitely come here! They brew their own beers on tap and also have a few other beers throughout the country available. They don’t serve food here.
  • Panaderia Cabuya Cafeteria: My favorite place to eat in Cabuya. They serve up a variety of great bakery type items as well as typical Costa Rican meals, salads, pasta etc.
  • Salon el Higueron: We like to come here for pizza, but they also serve things like fish dishes as well. The atmosphere here is typically very lively in the evenings.
  • Arrecife Cabuya: This is a new restaurant that we haven’t been to yet, but we have heard really great things about it. So, check it out and report back 😉

Cabuya Safety Tips

Cabuya, Costa Rica: Nicoya Peninsula Beach Village Guide

I have always felt really safe in Cabuya. I really don’t think you need to worry too much here.

Your biggest safety concern should be petty theft. To combat that we suggest:

  • Keep your valuables secure and refrain from openly displaying expensive items. 
  • A lot of restaurants are open-air. Don’t leave your cell phone out on the table or your purse just hanging on the back of your chair.
  • Dressing in a relaxed way will also help you blend in.

If something happens, the emergency number in Costa Rica is 9-1-1. You should be able to get a police officer who speaks English if you need.

Also, always purchase travel insurance. It doesn’t just cover injury but also helps if things get stolen. Our go-to travel insurance company for Costa Rica is a company called Heymondo. They are great!

Their comprehensive plans offer 24/7 assistance, trip cancellation and interruption coverage, lost baggage coverage, assistance in case of medical issues, as well as the option to add-on adventure activity coverage. 

↳ Get Your Travel Insurance Quote

Packing for Cabuya

In general, Cabuya is a really relaxed town. There is no need for nice clothing unless you plan on going to a fancy restaurant.

We suggest packing mostly beach gear and stuff for hiking. When possible, opt for fast-drying clothes that don’t wrinkle easily. 

Don’t forget your rain gear during rainy season!

  • We suggest carrying your stuff in a large backpack instead of a suitcase if possible. The Osprey 55L is great if you are only bringing a carry-on (take the small bag part off for under your seat) and the Osprey 75L is our go-to for checking in a bag.
  • Teva Voya Flip Flops for men and for women: The roads her unpaved and can be uneven in spots. If you want to wear sandals while walking here, make sure they have a good sole like Teva’s.
  • Columbia Bora Bora Sun Hat: This hat is slightly nerdy, but great for blocking the sun, folding up small in your luggage, and is made of breathable fabric.
  • Sun Bum Cool Down Aloe Vera Lotion: Hopefully you don’t get sunburned, but if you do, this stuff is a lifesaver.
  • Hero Microfiber Towel: Most hotels will have towels for showering, but not for the beach. Microfiber towels dry quickly and can easily fit in your luggage.
  • Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen: SPF 50 because the sun is powerful. We like Sun Bum because they are reef-safe.
  • LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle: It is safer to buy bottled water. We like LifeStraw to filter out any extra bacteria or impurities.

Check out our Costa Rica Essential Packing List for more must-bring items

Cabuya Travel Tips

playa cabo blanco
  • The main language in Costa Rica is Spanish. Cabuya is remote so you can’t really expect that everyone will speak English here. However, most people in tourism speak some English.
  • Some places here may not accept credit cards. It’s a good idea to carry cash in US dollars or Costa Rican colones.
  • We have noticed that sometimes tourists get frustrated in Cabuya because tours don’t begin on time and things aren’t always organized as you might be used to. Keep in mind that Costa Rica is the land of Pura Vida. People take everything in stride and relaxed. You might need to adopt a bit of that attitude while here. 

Articles About Cabuya

You Might Also Like Visiting

Montezuma: A small beach town with tons of fun things to do

Mal Pais: A small remote fishing village with beautiful ocean views

Nosara: A relaxed yoga and surfing town that is popular with backpackers

….if none of those appeal to you, check out our Guide to the Nicoya Peninsula for more ideas of places to visit in this area.

Costa Rica Travel Details: What You Need to Know

🚗 Should I rent a car in Costa Rica?

Having a rental car will give you the most flexibility when traveling in Costa Rica. This will allow you to visit more off-the-beaten-path destinations and will allow you to take fun day trips on your own.

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☀️ Should I buy travel insurance for Costa Rica?

Yes, travel insurance is always a good idea. It is not just for illness or injury, but also lost luggage, delayed trips, and more!

We like Heymondo for Costa Rica travel insurance.

✈️ 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).

🛏️ What is the best way to book my Costa Rica hotels?

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

🗣️What is the main language in Costa Rica?

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

💰 What is the currency in Costa Rica?

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

🌴 Is Costa Rica safe?

Generally, Costa Rica is considered safe for tourists. However, like any travel destination, it’s best to use caution and be aware of your surroundings.

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

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