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 Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

Costa Rica Coastline
The Coastline Outside of Puerto Limon

Puerto Limon, Costa Rica Information
Tom Ogg
CruiseReviews at aol.com

Language and Currency
What is Puerto Limon Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?

Puerto Limon, Costa Rica Port Reviews

Language and Currency

The official language of Costa Rica is Spanish, however English is widely spoken. The currency is the Costa Rican colon, but the dollar is widely accepted.

What is Puerto Limon like?

Puerto Limon Overview
Puerto Limon (Splendour of the Seas docked)

Puerto Limon is a port city that at one time was a vibrant shipping port for the banana trade that flourishes around Puerto Limon. Abandoned, for the most part for the port of Moin some 10K to the north of Puerto Limon, the city fell victim to a savage earthquake in 1991 from which it has never really recovered. The cities rough appearance leaves some visitors with the felling that it is unsafe, but Costa Ricans are known for their hospitality and friendliness. However, one should be careful about wandering the city by one's self, as they would in any major city. The real reason for visiting Puerto Limon lies in the surrounding areas, as there is much to see and do.

What is the weather like?

Puerto Limon is tropical and as such, is hot the year around. With temperatures in the 80-s and 90s, the wettest months are November through January where rainfalls averaging 15 inches pert month are not uncommon. The driest months occur from February through April and then again in September. Be aware that it can rain at any time in this tropic environment.

Where does the ship dock?

The ship docks right downtown Puerto Limon so that one can easily walk into town just a couple of blocks away.

Where is the shopping?

Puerto Limon Shopping Street
Puerto Limon's Shopping District

First, there is an excellent crafts market within the compounds of the port itself. There are also telephones located there as well. The prices are great and the selection as good as you will find. Walking into town presents more opportunities at the open air market two blocks into town and then one block u0p the pedestrian street. The stores in Puerto Limon (with some exceptions on the streets adjacent to the port entrance) are selling primarily to the population of Puerto Limon.

Shopping may also be found at points where tourist congregate. We found excellent crafts at Playa Bonita and made a couple of purchases there of items that were not available anywhere else.

What is there to buy?

There are quite a few unique craft items to consider. We purchased several wooden boxes that were carved out of solid hardwood into designs with hidden compartments to hide jewelry and other treasures. They are actually very clever and unique and quite inexpensive. There were also lots of wood carvings and items, leather goods of all kinds, silver jewelry and the traditional souvenirs. Cashews are huge in this area as is cashew wine, a unique tasting beverage that you will not forget. HINT: If you are offered raw cashew nuts in the shell, do not bite into them as the oil in the shell is poisonous and will immediately cause a rash like infection on whatever skin touched it (I know from personal experience.)

What is there to do?

There are many different choices one has when visiting Puerto Limon. First the city is worth exploring even though it is not the perfect environment for carefree tourists. The open air market is interesting and the side streets are worth a visit. There are several Internet Cafes and communication centers. This would be an excellent port to take a ship sponsored shore excursion if you are at all squeamish about taking off on your own in a foreign land and do not speak any Spanish at all. That said, there are local tour operators and taxis set up right off the ship if you want to "do it yourself" in Puerto Limon. But, be aware that they are paying a premium to be there and will also stick you with a guide that expects a tip. Just outside the port gates there are a number of other taxis and tour operators that are not willing to pay to gain entrance to the port and will offer you more for less, as it were. Following would be the main attractions if you chose to do as shore excursion.

Puerto Limon's Playa Bonita
Puerto Limon's Playa Bonita

Folks looking to spend the day relaxing at a beautiful beach do not have to go any further than Playa Bonita Beach some 4 kilometers from downtown Puerto Limon. It is a short taxi ride, but be sure to arrange for transportation back to the port. There is a restaurant and bar here, as well as a small shopping area. There is also a rideable left break here for surfers.

Tortuguero Canal
Puerto Limon's Tortuguero Canal

One very interesting thing to do is to take a panga up the Tortuguero Canal to enjoy the wildlife and coastal scenes. The canal connects several rivers and parallels the coastline from just north of Puerto Limon all the way to the Nicaraguan border some 200 kilometers to the north. During the excursion one sees many different and unusual birds, cayman, bats, water plants and sometimes, sloths.


Tortuguero Canal Two Toed Sloth

The Tortuguero Canal also opens up miles of deserted coastline. Here is a shot of a beach that I took at one stop. There is a high potential for excellent surf in the area to the north.


Tortuguero Canal Deserted Beach

One option that is available from Puerto Limon is to take an all day excursion to Costa Rica's capital city of San Jose over 100 kilometers from the port. This is a great trip if you are new to Costa Rica as it takes in a national park, the city, some local communities and offers time for shopping opportunities.

The Rain Forest Ariel Tramway is one of only three in the world. This offers a tram ride through the canopy of a rain forest to see the flora, bird and wildlife. Be aware that most tours arrive too late in the day to really see many animals, which are normally sleeping midday.

White water rafting on the Reventazon River is an excellent class III rafting trip that may be enjoyed by everyone. The Green train is a narrow gauge railroad that operates between Puerto Limon and the village of Banaito where local crafts are available.


The "Crazy Monkey Canopy Ride"

To the south of Puerto Limon lies several great areas of interest. The Almonds and Coral Lodge offers the "Wild Monkey Canopy Ride" a unique experience for those that want an active way to visit the rain forest canopy. South of Almonds and Coral lies Manzanillo Beach with excellent restaurants and sandy beaches. Just a tad north lies Puerto Viejo, a large and primarily American beach community that offers great restaurants, restaurants and bars. There is also rideable surf in this area for surfers (mostly beach breaks)

Is there anything of “Don’t Miss” quality?

Yes, I would say that a ride on the Tortuguero Canal is fascinating and a unique experience not to be missed.

Are there any great restaurants or bars?

Not that I am aware of. Do you know of any?

Places to Stay in Costa Rica

 Port Reviews

  • Wild Monkey Canopy Ride,

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    190 users found this review helpful.
  • Horace Plotkin, Full Day Tour with Charlie Soto,

    Full Day Tour with Charlie Soto Horace Plotkin We had arranged online for a full day tour and were looking forward to it and Charlie Soto was dockside waiting for us at the pre-arranged...read more

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  • Marilyn,

    Limon is so poor and dirty – the market by the ship had a lot of interesting things for sale. We did the Flores Tropical Garden tour it was pretty nice at the end...read more

    62 users found this review helpful.
  • Ted Blank,

    In Limon, Costa Rica we took the “Sloth Sanctuary / Canoe Trip” which was well worth it. A couple has built up a Sloth rehab and study center at their B&B,...read more

    81 users found this review helpful.
  • John Watson,

    This is not a great port if you wish to get out and about but don’t want to take a tour, whether on your own, and there are lots of folks outside the gates willing to take on a tour,...read more

    132 users found this review helpful.
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