What to do and see in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica: The Best Places and Tips

September 12, 2017 Flossie Demartino

Puerto Limón (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈpweɾto liˈmon]), commonly known as Limón (Spanish for "lemon"), is the capital city and main hub of Limón province, as well as of the cantón (county) of Limón in Costa Rica. It is the sixth-largest city in Costa Rica, with a population of over 55,000 (including surrounding towns), and is home of a multicultural community. Part of the community traces its roots to Italian, Jamaican and Chinese laborers who worked on a late nineteenth-century railroad project that connected San José to Puerto Limón. Until 1948, the Costa Rican government did not recognize Afro-Caribbean people as citizens and restricted their movement outside Limón province. As a result of this "travel ban", this Afro-Caribbean population became firmly established in the region, which influenced the decision to not move even after it was legally permitted. Nowadays, there is an important outflow of Limón natives who move to the country's Central Valley in search for better employment and education. The Afro-Caribbean community speaks Spanish and Limonese Creole, a creole of English.
Restaurants in Puerto Limon

1. Veragua Rainforest Park

Costa Rica Limon, Puerto Limon 70101, Costa Rica +506 8380 7206
Excellent
76%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 414 reviews

Veragua Rainforest Park

Immerse yourself in nature by riding an open tram through the rainforest canopy where you will observe monkeys, exotic birds, colorful insects, the occasional shy sloth and other extraordinary rainforest inhabitants.

Reviewed By 892Greta73 - Magog, Canada

One of the best part of this tour was the hour drive through the little villages. You were able to see the small farms and how the people live. The research Center itself explained how the rainforest is being protected and how local indigenous people are getting new opportunities for jobs. You can tell that the guides are well informed and care to preserve this area and not let happen to it what happened to the Amazon.

2. Tortuguero Canal

Tortuguero Canal Terminal de Cruceros Japdeva | Cruise Terminal, Puerto Limon 70101, Costa Rica +506 8362 2550
Excellent
56%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 312 reviews

Tortuguero Canal

Reviewed By Ron S - Point Edward

What an opportunity to see wildlife touring in a pontoon boat. We had the opportunity to see quite a few sloths, monkeys, and a cayman (crocodile). The tour operator took his time to spot the wildlife for us so that we could take some amazing photographs. A great experience.

3. Costa Rica Wildlife Sanctuary

Moin | 4 kil North of Por Moin, Puerto Limon 73-7300, Costa Rica +506 8892 6771
Excellent
65%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 56 reviews

Costa Rica Wildlife Sanctuary

We are a wildlife rescue center and sea turtle program. We work through volunteering.In general, we expect volunteers to become a willing part of the Rescue Center team and to take an integral part in the day-to-day operations of the Center. We also expect that, barring physical limitations, all volunteers take an equal part in performing all tasks at the Center regardless of background, training or educational level. At times there is a lot of work, especially during the cruise line tour season since many of the animals are confiscated during this time. Animals in Costa Rica are still used as tourist attractions.In addition, volunteers are encouraged to develop their own individual projects

Reviewed By OVCruiser57 - Ocean View, Delaware

I've always had a particular fondness for sloths...perhaps they're my spirit animal, maybe it's their irresistible, serene smiles, or maybe it's hard to believe that anything can move so slowly. Whatever the reason,I knew we had to see these remarkable animals up close. Our visit to the sloth sanctuary was a highlight of our trip, primarily because of Buttercup. At age 24, she's the oldest and first-rescued sloth at the sanctuary. If she doesn't steal your heart, perhaps it's time to see the cardiologist!
Now, if you're expecting an action-packed day, remember that these unique creatures barely move even when they're awake. I've often heard people wonder why sloths evolved, because they seem to serve little purpose. They don't contribute much to the ecosystem, because they don't prey on anything. Subsisting on a diet of leaves, they spend most of their time lolling in trees alone unless it's time to mate -- an activity that, according to our guide, takes all of 40 seconds. I guess it's the only thing sloths do quickly.
Still, there is so much to love about these slow-moving, solitary creatures.
The sanctuary sits on several acres fronted by a shallow river that winds through the rainforest. A boatman in a four-person skiff will steer you slowly down the river, pointing out native foliage and wildlife, including basilisks (aka, "Jesus" lizards for their ability to run on water), birds and howler monkeys. Even if you can't see them, you'll know they're there by their incessant Barking to each other across the canopy. They sound more like angry dogs than primates, and the more excited they become, the louder they bark. Their grunts yowls are the only things that disturb the tranquility of the rainforest. If you look high up in the canopy you might see their limber black bodies swinging from tree to tree.
Following your 50-60 minute ride, you'll return to the sanctuary, where a guide will meet you and take you into the sloth building. It's divided into two sections, one for the adults rescues and one for the nursery, where babies remain with their mothers for a year. After that time, they're moved into individual enclosures where they can live alone. Sloths are not pack animals, so each needs his/her own space.
The guide provides a substantial amount of information about each animal -- how it was rescued, what injuries it had, the rehab process -- and about sloths in general. Did you know that all sloths have three toes, but the two species at the sanctuary have either two fingers or three? You'll see the differences in their faces, fur and forepaws.
The animals live in large enclosures open to the forest on one side, so they enjoy sun and breezes. Each has tree branches to climb and a hammock to sleep in. Even if you object to animals being kept in captivity, you will appreciate how much room they have and the abundant attention they receive. This isn't a zoo but a rescue, and all of the sloths there appear to be in excellent health, cared for by people who are deeply concerned with their welfare.
Your final stop is the gift shop, where you'll find all manner of sloth-related items for sale. Purchases support the work of the sanctuary, so you can feel good about spending a little extra for a T-shirt or plushie.
When you exit the gift shop onto a large porch, you'll meet Buttercup, the sanctuary's ambassador. She sits perfectly still in a papasan chair suspended from the ceiling only a few feet from you. There's a waist-high plexi barrier so you don't get too close, but you feel as if you can reach out and pet her.
At first we weren't sure if she was real, she's that still. But she slowly turned her head toward the leaves attached to her chair and started to munch. We were hooked. We watched her chew, climb and smile that smile for a half hour. Compared to the sloths in the rescue building she was a dynamo of activity! It took her about 90 seconds to move from her position in the chair to a branch, but after all, she's a sloth. Every time she glanced at us with that perpetual smile, we smiled back. She is absolutely adorable, and a beautiful example of what makes these creatures so worth saving.
This is eco-tourism you can feel good about. You'll learn so much, and your admission contributes so much to the care of these unique animals. The guides and caregivers are dedicated and eager to share information with you. We highly recommend a visit.
One more note. You're in the rainforest, and it does what it's supposed to do: RAIN! During our visit, there were several torrential downpours separated by periods of bright sun. Bring a rain jacket or umbrella because the weather is predictably unpredictable.

4. Explore Limon

Puerto Limon | Pasaje Cristal, Puerto Limon 70101, Costa Rica +506 8869 1653
Excellent
81%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 29 reviews

Explore Limon

At Explore Limon we specialize in historic tours around the city of Puerto Limon. Our themes are culture, art, gastronomy, music, nature, and others that make up the identity of the city. The tours last 2.5 hours and cover the main monuments, buildings and natural sites classified as Costa Rican National Heritage sites. The routes do not have an established rate, the participant decides at the end of the tour to give the value that they believe is adjusted to the quality of the activity.

Reviewed By Apurva78 - Cary, North Carolina

Sergio is absolutely amazing. Our family of 4 did a 2 hour walking tour with Sergio. He met us at Parque Vargas and took us from there. He told us about the rich history and culture of Puerto Limon. He answered all of our questions and we learned so much. I highly recommend this tour!

5. Playa Bonita

Playa Bonita Highway 240, Puerto Limon 70101, Costa Rica
Excellent
22%
Good
41%
Satisfactory
22%
Poor
11%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

3.5 based on 67 reviews

Playa Bonita

Reviewed By DHExplorer - Newton, Massachusetts

This beach used to be a great open secret spot for surfers. It is no longer the case. In recent year an earthquake altered the floor bottom and the currents have changed. On bad weather days there can be quite a riptide, but on good weather days locals will come to this sandy beach and swim. There is plenty of parking. Facilities are clean and you can get cold beer at Quimbamba. Great beach to catch some sun.

6. Catedral Sagrado Corazon de Jesus

Catedral Sagrado Corazon de Jesus Calle 6, Puerto Limon 70101, Costa Rica
Excellent
49%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
0%
Terrible
5%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 19 reviews

Catedral Sagrado Corazon de Jesus

Reviewed By Pete_Gill_W - Haslemere

In the centre of the town, we approached this church with low expectation as it looks tired with an exterior of blackened concrete. Inside was a complete surprise with pretty stained glass windows. There is a small section that has remained from the early build which survived hurricane storms.

7. The Buttercup Center

The Buttercup Center Hwy 36, Puerto Limon 70101, Costa Rica +506 2750 0775
Excellent
88%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 8 reviews

The Buttercup Center

Reviewed By Travelbug13Canada - Calgary, Canada

We took the Insider's Tour which gave us breakfast with Buttercup, a canoe ride where we saw sloths in the wild, and a visit to the Slothpital. In addition, we got to visit with the older sloths that are permanent residents, see the medical facility and spend time in the nursery. Spending timing with the babies was an incredible experience. We sat on the floor between the little ones in buckets who had just come in from outside time. It was incredible to interact with them as they wandered around the room, or just hung out in their buckets. Too cute for words. We stayed at the onsite hotel - the Buttercup Inn - as part of the experience. Overall, a tremendous experience and an excellent facility. For anyone who either loves sloths, and/or is interested in learning all about them, this tour should be on your list. The Insider Tour gives you much more of an in-depth experience, and is well worth it.

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