Getting To Limon
Buses for Limon are leaving every 30 minutes from the Terminal del Caribe bus station in downtown San Jose. You can expect a trip of around 4 hours, with modern buses, so the ride will be comfortable.
If you decide to drive, head to Tibas and take Highway 32, which goes through the Braulio Carrillo National Park. There are almost no deviations in the road to Limon.
So, if you follow the signs, you should make it there without a problem. To make it to this Caribbean province faster, you can also take a domestic flight from the Tobias Bolaños Airport, located in Pavas, San Jose. This trip can take about 35 minutes.
What to Do in Limon
Downtown Limon is a point of departure for visiting other tourist destinations. If you happen to see a lot of foreigners in the streets of downtown Limon, chances are that those are cruise ship passengers.
Spending a full day there, before heading to other Caribbean sea destinations. The most attractive event here is the Limon Carnivals (their local version of the Rio Carnivals).
You’ll get to enjoy a really nice parade and a few international concerts. It’s celebrated in October for a full week. So if you happen to be in the area during that time, make sure to check it out.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
This is probably the most famous beach town in the province. This is especially true among surfers who come here in search of riding the waves at Salsa Brava, one of the most dangerous surf breaks in Costa Rica.
This is also where nightlife is best at Limon. With various discos and bars where you’ll always find some reggae music and the warmth of the multicultural residents.
Once in here, you can also check out the smaller adjacent villages of Manzanillo and Punta Uva to the south, where you’ll find beautiful white-sand beaches.
Cahuita National Park
This place is located 22 miles away from downtown Limon and it’s home to a large variety of animal and plant species.
The main attraction in the park is the coralline reef, where you’ll find 35 species of coral, 44 crustaceans, 140 mollusks, and 123 fish, making it the perfect spot for some snorkeling or some scuba diving.
Tortuguero is located within a conservation area on the north side of the Limon province in Costa Rica. The national park is considered to be one of the most visited parks in the country, despite the fact that it can only be reached out by boat.
The park is connected to Limon through a series of canals and rivers or by plane. This park is incredibly rich when it comes to its biological diversity.
And the main reason for this is the existence of 11 habitats, including Lagoons, Swamps, Rainforest, and Beaches, all of which form the unique scenic beauty of this place.
Tortuguero is famous because this is the area where many turtles lay their eggs every year. But the practice of harvesting such eggs spread among the locals back in the ’50s.
And in order to protect the turtles and the rest of the wildlife in the area, the Park was established in the early seventies. Today four species of turtles lay their eggs here: the Giant Leatherback Turtle, The Green Turtle, The Loggerhead, and the Hawksbill Turtle.
Getting To Tortuguero
Since you can’t drive there directly, we recommend taking the bus to Limon. And from there head to one of the embarkation points, including Caño Blanco, Cariari, and Moin.
Then take any of the boats heading to Tortuguero. If you’re the backpacking type and are looking to save some money, you can take the bus to Cariari from downtown San Jose.
And once you’ve reached that town take another bus to La Pavona, and finally a boat to Tortuguero from there. Flying is also possible, and there’s a daily flight from the Juan Santamaria Airport.
Although if you really want to enjoy Tortuguero to its fullest, a boat trip is recommended. Also, if you’re staying for a few days in one of the local lodges, they will most likely offer you transportation from San Jose to Tortuguero and vice versa.
Things to Do in Tortuguero
Turtles Nesting And Animals in Tortuguero
If you wish to see how the turtles lay their eggs in the sand, come to Tortuguero in the months between July and October. And a nightly exploration of the beaches which are frequented by the turtles is recommended.
If you visit during the prime nesting period, then you’ll most likely get to see Green Turtles, the most common species here. To take a tour during the night, request a licensed guide. And the tours can last between two to four hours. The wildlife in the park is also very rich. With different species of monkeys (mostly howlers), Jaguars, Anteaters, Peccaries, Butterflies, and Birds.
So exploring by foot is also a good idea. Although it’s best if you have a guide with you. This is because a guide will tell you all you want to know about the different species of Flora and Fauna you might happen to observe.
Tortuguero Boat Trips
The other top activity in Tortuguero is to take a boat trip through the different canals. This will give you the opportunity of spotting any of the different species of birds and animals that call this place home.
Also, if you feel adventurous enough, you can rent a dugout canoe from one of the locals at the town’s center. This can be an interesting ride, but you should be careful as these little boats are a bit heavy and can become difficult to maneuver.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Limon
Puerto Viejo is located in Limon (Caribbean coast of Costa Rica), near the border with Panama. It used to be quite isolated from the rest of the province. Until the late eighties when the small village started to see some development.
And that was thanks to the arrival of surfers looking to ride Salsa Brava, the most dangerous break in the Caribbean. Since then, Puerto Viejo has remained a laid-back destination and is far from becoming another resort community.
This is also a truly multicultural place where there are always people from all over the world, with a lot of them already calling this place home. And, as varied as the people are, so are the alternative lifestyles present in Puerto Viejo, including Rastafarians, Bohemians, Surfers, and Hippies.
Getting To Puerto Viejo
The easiest way to get to Puerto Viejo is by bus, with four or five departures per day from downtown San Jose. Although if you’re driving, you’ll need to make it to downtown Limon, from there to Cahuita, and you’ll find Puerto Viejo just 16 miles away from that town.
The road trip takes approximately 4 hours. Now, if you want to make it there faster, you can also take a flight to downtown Limon and pick a bus or rent a car over there.
Things to Do in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica
There are different tour operators in Puerto Viejo offering all sorts of activities. This includes Surfing, Scuba Diving, Rafting, and Canopying.
Ask the place where you’re staying to recommend one. The nightlife is quite active here, so you’ll surely not get bored. Two places stand from the rest: Johnny’s Place and Stanford, two discos where you can expect a lot of dub and reggae music.
Exploring Puerto Viejo
Just south of Puerto Viejo you’ll find Chiquita Beach, Cocles Beach, and Punta Uva Beach, 3 stunning beaches which you visit by taking a taxi or by renting a bike (around $5 per day).
ATEC, Puerto Viejo, Talamanca
The Talamanca Association of Ecotourism can help you arrange multiday trips to the Talamanca Mountains where you can camp and get to know more about the wildlife. You’ll have the chance of watching animals and birds that includes Toucans, Sloths, Iguanas, and Monkeys. Plus, getting familiarized with the Bribri and Cabecar indigenous reserves from the region.
You can also ask at ATEC (nearby well known Soda Tamara) for their half-day trips, which are also focused on the natural diversity and the culture of Talamanca. If you’re planning to stay in Puerto Viejo for a considerable amount of time, you might consider volunteering. And ATEC, whose mission is to preserve the environment and the heritage of the area, can give you that opportunity.
Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge
Here you can explore the rain forest and see where 4 different types of turtles lay their eggs. The fauna within the park also includes Caimans, Iguanas, Manatees, Dolphins, and Waterfowls.
A nice way to explore this refuge is to hike along the coast and to arrange to be picked up by a boat at Punta Mono. A tour operator at Puerto Viejo can help you with this. And a cab from Puerto Viejo will charge you around $10 to get you to the refuge.
Cahuita National Park:
The main attraction of this park is its coral reef, one of the largest in the country. And the best way to appreciate the rich sea life (many species of corals, mollusks, crustaceans, and fish) within the reef is to hire a boat with a guide that can take you to the best places for some Snorkeling.