A port city known for its vibrant Caribbean culture, Limon greets a constant stream of cruise ship passengers as a strategic jumping-off point for exploring Costa Rica's beaches and rain forests. With two days, you can immerse yourself in the natural landscape and venture farther along the coastline. Here’s how to do it.
Day 1: Costa Rican Culture
Morning: Join a guided sightseeing tour and get acquainted with the port where Christopher Columbus landed in 1502. Stroll through Vargas Park (Parque Vargas), filled with French-inspired architecture, palm trees, and sloths. (It’s best to avoid this area at night.) Then, browse the local shops for souvenirs.
Afternoon: Head to Tortuguero National Park and hop aboard a riverboat. Gliding at a leisurely pace through a network of narrow canals, look for native wildlife like crocodiles, howler monkeys, iguanas, bats, and toucans. Or, visit the sloth sanctuary and learn about these fascinating creatures.
Night: Try some of the Afro-Caribbean cuisine at local eateries like Soda El Patty, a popular spot known for its pati (pastries stuffed with beef, onions, and peppers). Dishes like jerk chicken, curry, and seafood feature Jamaican and African influences, differing in style from foods served elsewhere in Costa Rica.
Day 2: Ecoadventure
Morning: Get picked up at the port for a white-water rafting excursion down the Reventazon River, suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters. Navigate the churning class II and III rapids, along with calmer sections, as you take in the surrounding Caribbean rain forest. Tours usually include a picnic lunch.
Afternoon: Learn about one of Costa Rica’s most important exports: stop by a local banana plantation to see how the fruit is cultivated, processed, and shipped. The country is the second-largest banana producer in the world, with 80 percent of its plantations located in Limon. Alternatively, take a rain forest walk in Cahuita National Park.
Night: Make your way to to lively Puerto Viejo de Talamanca for music and dancing, about an hour’s drive from Limon, near the Panamanian border. Nearby Cahuita has a more low-key atmosphere. Note: travelers—particularly women—are discouraged from wandering around Limon and environs alone at night.