Puerto Limon, is the capital of the Caribbean, aka the province of Limon. It is chaotic, disorganized, wonderful, colorful, scary, dirty, vibrant, full of life, and very friendly. It is also located on the Caribbean Sea! What also makes it special is this fusion of cultures, with the native Bribri indians, the blacks who were brought from Jamaica to build the banana train, the Chinese, and of course, the Costa Ricans. No wonder it is so vibrant, with this diverse population of 76,000 people.
Like all Caribbean city, Limon has an annual carnival which lasts a week. It is known as Las Dias De Las Culturas, and falls around Columbus Day. It is definitely a wild, noisy affair, just like carnivals should be! Musicians, dancers, tourists of all kinds, and locals: everybody loves Limon’s carnival. Bare in mind that hotels are full during this period so if you are keen on being there for this event, make sure you reserve in advance.
Limon however doesn’t need a carnival to be full of life. It is most and foremost a working city and seaport. Cruisers reach the port of Limon on a regular basis. Visitors love the tropical atmosphere and the walking tour of the city, admiring its colorful buildings and its friendly people.
All is not always so friendly. All is not always as it seems. Tourists were robbed on more than one occasion when coming down from the ships, right there in the souvenir market just outside the docks. Precautions must be taken, and it is a good idea to remain alert at all times, to avoid displaying expensive items and to keep money in a safe place. If this is done, then there should be nothing to worry about. Most visitors enjoy wandering through the streets of Limon. Its Afro-Caribbean atmosphere is too irresistible. The original Spanish constructions always have their charms, and a visit to the central market or Mercado Central, is simply fascinating. The old seawall, along the eastern edge of town, is also another popular tourist attraction.
It would be fair to say however that Puerto Limon holds historical interest due the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1505. The city was called Cariari then, and was no more than a small fishing village. Columbus actually landed on a small island in front of the city, Isla Uvita.
There are lots of places to visit in a around Limon, indeed the whole province of Limon is full of surprises and interests. Tortuguero, along the canals, is famous for the turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs along the coast every year. Close to the city of Limon, following the road along the shore, you will find Cahuita, and further South, Puerto Viejo, two beautiful spots with some of the most beautiful beaches of the country. In fact, it keeps going until you hit Panama and is near the popular destination, Bocas del Toro.
Puerto Limon does have a reputation; however, once some common sense is used and certain precautions taken, it is really a fantastic place to visit and indeed it should not be missed. Nothing in Costa Rica compares with the tropical forests and flora and fauna of Limon. The colors are bright, the heat is strong, the sand is magic, the sea is soft, and even in the rain, Limon is beautiful. The food is maybe of the best you will try in this country with more heat and flavor than your typical meal (try the coconut rice and beans), and the people are simply wonderful.
Filed under: Limon on June 9th, 2008