Stretching the length of Costa Rica’s 125-mile long eastern Caribbean coast and covering over 3,500 square miles of spectacular wilderness, Limon is – without a doubt – the country’s most distinctive province. Home to just over a quarter of a million people, many of whom boast Afro-Caribbean roots, the Limon Province is revered for being home to some of the most outstanding and remote highlights in the entire country, including the Pacuare River (the best rafting river in the country), the Tortuguero National Park (an idyllic turtle watching destination) and the Cahuita National Park (a revered snorkeling destination). Lesser visited than its western counterpart, the Limon Province offers a host of very authentic Costa Rica travel experiences and is, contrary to popular belief, actually easy to reach from the capital, San Jose. Some of its most enticing corners may be harder to reach (a few only accessible by boat or plane!) yet the rewards, for those with a few more days up their sleeve, are immense. Pristine jungles and forests, as well as indigenous villages seemingly untouched by the passing of time, are just a few of Limon’s most alluring attractions.
For nature and wildlife lovers and for adrenaline-seeking adventurers, the Limon Province is not to be missed.
Here are just some of the exceptional experiences you can have in Limon:
Watch a turtle nesting spectacle in the Tortuguero National Park
One of the world’s best turtle-watching destinations, the Tortuguero National Park is tucked in the north-eastern corner of the Limon Province and only accessible by boat or plane. A prime spot for Hawksbill, Giant Leatherback, Green and Loggerhead turtles, the beaches of Tortuguero can transform into a hive of absolute activity during nesting season, although the entire park hides a wealth of other unique creatures, including manatees, river otters, American crocodiles, caimans, sloths and several species of monkeys. The best way to explore the park is by boat or kayak and the best time of year to visit, for the greatest chances to watch turtles nesting, are the months between June and November. Read our Tortuguero guide for more detailed insights.
Learn to surf in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
The southern Caribbean coast is a world onto itself and the two main towns, Puerto Viejo and Cahuita, offer a very distinctive Costa Rica beach experience. Infrastructure here is not as developed as on the western coast so you’ll notice a most distinctive lack of luxury resorts and hotels lining the shores. Instead, you’ll be amazed to see luscious rain forests catapulting into the turquoise sea here, leaving enough glistening sandy shores for you to enjoy. For a sublime spot of R&R in a quieter and more culturally immersive region, you really can’t go past the beaches of the Limon Province. And if you’re up for a bit more action then head straight for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, where a host of great surfing schools have set up shop.
Visit the Jaguar Rescue Centre Foundation near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Animal lovers looking for an exceptional wildlife experience ought to keep the Jaguar Rescue Centre Foundation firmly within their sights. This incredible animal sanctuary rescues orphaned, mistreated, injured and confiscated animals, with the aim to release them all into the wild once they’re back in prime condition. On a visit you can enjoy a tour of the refuge and gain a deeper understanding of the problems faced by some of the country’s most precious wildlife. You’ll get to meet baby monkeys and sloths (although direct contact is, obviously, kept to a minimum) and get to meet some of the full-time residents who call this place home. An ethical and immensely successful rehab center, the Jaguar Rescue Foundation is just a few miles south of Puerto Viejo and easy to visit from town.
Raft and kayak the Pacuare River
The crown jewel of the Limon province, the Pacuare is one of the world’s top-rated rafting rivers and attracts adventure seekers from all the world. Stretching for more than 70 miles across some of the most untouched landscapes in the country, the Pacuare offers 16 distinct rafting sections, spanning the gamma from Class II to Class V rapids. Suitable for beginners and advanced rafters alike, the Pacuare is the most sought-after adventure vacation destination in Costa Rica and one-week itineraries (like this one) offer an impressive number of activities. The river is flanked by primordial rain forests and features deep gorges, waterfalls and a mind-boggling array of unique wildlife. On a rafting and kayaking trip on the Pacuare River, you can enjoy a truly immersive Costa Rica experience, staying in eco-lodges tucked in the heart of unspoiled forests, visit indigenous villages and, of course, enjoy a bevy of active pursuits, including rafting, kayaking, zip lining, hiking, mountain biking and more.
Ready to get way off the beaten tourist path in Costa Ria and explore the magical Limon Province? Visit our adventure vacation page for fantastic travel inspiration and contact us for more detailed info on how to best add side-trips to your itinerary.