The Caribbean coast has it all. Amazing tropical rainforest, spectacular beaches and overflowing vegetation and wildlife, add to the rich flavor of the region's people. It's paradise for ecotourist - green sea turtles lay their eggs each year in Tortuguero. The adventurous have plenty to do: fishing, sea kayaking, diving, and much, much more.
The fascinating afro-caribbean culture (mainly a combination of Jamaican, Italian and Chinese immigrants), predominates in this region and fills the atmosphere with fragrances, tropical rhythms and brilliant colors, which mixes with the daily work of many of the inhabitants on the banana plantations and the ports of Limon and Moin.
A wild and beautiful region with pounding surf and prehistoric rainforests, Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast is a beach lover's delight. Set apart from the rest of the country, this region of Costa Rica offers tourists some of the most gorgeous white sand coconut tree lined beaches that one has ever seen. Actually one of the country's most geographically diverse regions with inland rainforests that stretch right up to the coastline, the Caribbean expanse of Costa Rica has beautiful swampy lagoons to the north and is bordered by the towering Talamanca Mountains to the south.
Running for some 125 miles between the borders of Panama and Nicaragua, the entire of Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast lies inside of Limon province. First discovered by Christopher Columbus who landed here in 1502, this province is one of the least traveled areas of the country. Almost always hot and humid throughout the year, this part of Costa Rica receives the highest amount of rainfall, with major downpours taking place between May and August and then in between December and January.
One of the lushest regions in Costa Rica, when the weather is good Limon offers tourists a plethora of activities to enjoy from some outstanding diving opportunities to awesome surf breaks, superb sportfishing and an excellent chance to get up close and personal with nature. Home to the Tortuguero National Park famous for its turtle nesting and the Cahuita National Park, Limon also home to the last remaining indigenous Indian tribes of Costa Rica namely the Bribri, Cocles and Talamanca Cabecarv communities.
To get to Puerto Limon, the capital of Limon province from San Jose, take Highway 32 also known as the Guapiles Highway that connects this region to the rest of the country. A major banana port until recently, Puerto Limon is a melting pot of Costa Rica's Afro-Caribbean culture. An interesting city to tour, visit Puerto Limon during carnival when this bustling town transforms into party central. A trip to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and Manzanillo is ideal, as these two towns showcase what Limon is all about.
It is the region of most rainfall in the country and this factor, combined with high temperatures, makes the evaporation and humidity quite high throughout the year. The extensive plains are washed by the Pacuare, Estrella, Reventazon and Parismina rivers, which join in some sectors with the Tortuguero canals, of great importance for their scenic beauty and as a site of refuge for the marine turtles to lay their eggs.
Along the length and width of this area you can observe small groups of houses among the plantations of cassava, annatto, and bananas, as well as an infinite number of beautiful beaches on the southern part of the coast, coral reefs, and protected areas with small trails which permit penetration into the heart of the tropical forest. In the Costa Rican Caribbean the options are so varied that they satisfy plenty of the different tastes and preferences of those who visit it, while experiencing the wonders of the swamps, the marine wealth, green lagoons, imposing rivers, wide canals, and the unique majesty of the solitary Uvita Island
For those who love fishing, diving, surfing and snorkeling, this place is undoubtedly an earthly paradise. Daily tours to the Tortuguero area leave from San Jose. These are complete packages including meals, transportation and short boat rides to observe the native flora and fauna of the region. A two night stay is recommended.
The Northern Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica is known for it large population of nesting sea turtles that return year after year to the Tortuguero Area. To the north Barra Del Colorado is well known for its superior Sportfishing. Anglers come from around the world to come fish these plentiful waters.
Most of the Northern Caribbean Coast is part of two national parks or reserves. An extremely small percentage of people live in this area, as most of it is made up of small beaches, mangrove swamps, and costal forests. The Northern Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica also gets much more rainfall than the northern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica and it rains most of the year however it does let up a bit in Costa Rica's dry season ( December to April).
Transportation is this area is very limited, mostly by small boat or by light aircraft. However do not get discouraged as Tortuguero is a very popular place to visit and tours can be arranged. It is highly advised to make a reservation at a hotel or arrange a tour so when you do arrive after the long bus/boat ride you have a place to stay. You will need to take a bus to Puerto Limon and from there you will board a small boat and travel through the canals. The canals of Tortuguero provide refuge for many animals and birds and along the long ride to Tortuguero you will be able to sight many of these animals and birds. You can also fly to Tortuguero and Barra Del Colorado, as this is the preferred way to get to Barra Del Colorado
The Southern Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica is truly a wonderful place to visit with its laidback environs, spicy piquant food, and unique Afro-Caribbean culture. The heart and soul of the Caribbean Coast, this region with its rich flavors has become a tourist favorite for those who are looking to relax and have some fun in the sun. Step into Puerto Limon, the capital of Limon province and you will be transported into a completely different world, from the one you left back in San Jose.
Most of the people here are of Afro-Caribbean decent and were brought either from Jamaica or other Caribbean Islands to help work on the railroads or in the banana plantations that still support and make up much of this province's exports. If you tour Southern Limon today, you will find numerous banana plantations as bananas are now a major cash crop out here.
Head into any of the towns along Costa Rica's Southern Caribbean Coast and you will find yourself in what can only be described as mini Jamaica's with dreadlocked Rastafarians, reggae and calypso music being played in the streets, delicious Costa Rican Creole cooking aromas, and a confusing mix of a Spanish-English dialect that is spoken here. Welcoming strangers with open arms, these towns are an experience in themselves. In this part of the country one also gets the chance to come into contact with many indigenous Indian tribes that have lived in this region for hundreds of years.
Inaccessible till only a couple of decades back, this region has enjoyed a tourist boom in the recent years with the construction of the Guapiles Highway in 1987 connecting Limon to the capital city of San Jose. Visit the gorgeous Cahuita National Park and Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge, home to amazing coastal rainforests and stunning underwater marine life and coral reefs. For the avid surfer, a trip to this region would incomplete without staying over at Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, with its amazing beaches and home of the famed Salsa Brava. The prefect place to kickback and have a good time this town is a great place to stay in.
For those who are looking for a quieter time, there are plenty of remote areas in the region, where one can stay literally in the middle of the jungle and still just a few minutes away from the coast. These all inclusive resorts are great as they offer a tranquil haven to relax as there are no other tourist facilities in the immediate area.
Cristopher Columbus set foot on the country's Caribbean shore and immediately named it Costa Rica (rich coast). Many years later, the ecological treasure he discovered remains protected for visitors to enjoy.
The northern section stretches for 90 miles (150 km) where warm ocean currents meet lush vegetation. The vast jungle is mostly unexplored, so much in fact, that Tortuguero National Park and Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge can only be reached by river or air.
The town of Limon is a charming retreat where indigenous, afro-Caribbean, Asian and European heritage combines creating a cultural Mecca. Locals honor their ethnicity feasting, dancing and chanting on the streets during the Carnival held every October. The food is as diverse as the population so be sure to try the Caribbean classics coconut flavored rice and beans, pati or plantinto. The reggae beat welcomes you to this paradise where development and environmental protection go hand in hand.