Costa Rica’s famous east coast, which includes locations like Cauhita, Puerto Limón, Tortugeros, and Barra del Colorado, is very different from the west coast.
To visit Limón Costa Rica on vacation, you can get there by plane or drive on Highway 32 from San José and marvel at the breathtaking landscapes. You also have the option to continue north and pass by the Volcano Barva, followed by Puerto Viejo and Sarapiqui, or go south and pass the Braulio Carillo National Park and straight down to Limón.
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Best time to visit Limón Costa Rica
If you want to avoid the rain, the best months to visit Limón Costa Rica are February-March and August-October. But whenever you choose to visit this wonderful Costa Rican destination, you’ll be warm, because the temperatures always stay in the high 20s (°C). The rains do come with an advantage: the clouds provide a bit of shelter from the scorching sun.
Is Limón Costa Rica safe to visit?
Crime has been reported to be slightly greater on the east coast, so be cautious. It’s best to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. That’s why I suggest you get travel and medical insurance just to be on the safe side.
What to see when you visit Limon Costa Rica
Cahuita National Park
Cahuita National Park has over 1000 hectares of land covered with lovely mixes of coconut palm trees, lush forests, and animated mangroves. This national park also has over 14 kilometers of beaches and there are snorkeling spots all along the coast, accessible to all travelers.
Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge
The Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge in the south is definitely worth seeing. You should go all the way to Punta Mona (Monkey Point), which is supposed to have been named by Columbus himself.
Book the Gandoca-Manzanillo Rainforest hike with Terraventuras from the video for the full experience.
Tortuguero Canals by boat
Plan a trip to Tortuguero and book a canal cruise, too. Because it’s a lengthy journey, you’ll most likely need to set aside 1-2 days for it. For a better experience, make sure you pack some extra dry clothes (in case it rains), bug repellant, and clean drinking water.
While you visit Tortuguero, you might get lucky and also see sloths and a sea turtle or two!
Veragua Rainforest Eco-Adventure
The Veragua Rainforest Eco-Adventure, located less than an hour from the ancient Caribbean port of Puerto Limón and with stunning views of the Talamanca Range’s infinite mountains, offers guests to discover the natural marvels of Costa Rica’s breathtaking tropical rainforest.
Here are two tours I recommend booking for when you visit Limon Costa Rica:
Parque Vargas in Puerto Limón
With its towering beautiful palms and other tropical trees, flowers, and animals near the seaside, Parque Vargas in Puerto Limón is a delightful place to appreciate the beauty of the tropics.
Discover the beaches near Limón Costa Rica
Two beautiful tiny beaches are located four kilometers north of Puerto Limón. Playa Bonita is a beautiful beach with fine yellow sand, palm palms, and a few hotels. However, the water is not ideal for visitors. The other is Playa Portete, with a dock where local fishermen return with their catches. at a pier at Playa Portete.
Going south, you’ll come to the most popular spot: Cahuita.
Cahuita is a huge community with tens of thousands of residents and it’s also a popular destination for backpackers. A peaceful environment, white sand beaches flanked by coconut trees, and a serene Caribbean way of life attract a lot of tourists. (If you’re planning to stay there for a few nights, keep in mind that finding accommodation in Cahuita can be difficult, so book in advance!)
Cahuita is also home to a number of smaller beaches. Playa Cocles, Playa Chiquita, and Punta Uva are all close by. However, Talamanca, much further south, is the best beach to visit.
Here’s what I recommend for when you visit Limon Costa Rica:
- Visit Punta Uva Beach & Jaguar Animal Rescue Center
- Visit Playa Bonita, Tortuguero & other Limon highlights
The food in Limón
The cuisine on the east coast ranges from regional delicacies to traditional Costa Rican food, Caribbean cuisine, but also French and Chinese cuisines. Stay adventurous, but keep in mind that not all foods are suitable for all travelers!
Of course, to discover the taste of Costa Rica when you visit Limon, you should go on a cocoa plantation, learn how chocolate is made from bean to bar, and even learn how to make chocolate yourself!
Puerto Limón’s nightlife
There are always open pubs and cantinas around the major parks at night in nearly all Costa Rican towns. There is no exception in the case of Puerto Limón. However, travelers (especially female solo travelers) should avoid going out alone after midnight.
Take Salsa & Bachata Dance Lessons in Costa Rica + learn where to go out to practice your moves, too!
See the best of Limon in a short time
If you’re short on time when you visit Limon Costa Rica, I recommend booking a Limon highlights combo tour. Most of them combine visits to Cahuita National Park, boat tours on Tortuguero Canals, cocoa or banana plantation visits, trips to the beach, and Limon city tours, among other attractions.
Here are some of the best tours to visit Limon Costa Rica: