Attractions Nearby Puerto Limon, Day Trips and Excursions
(Puerto Limon, Limon, Costa Rica)
can be seen as one huge national park, containing everything from endangered species and ecological wonders, to active volcanoes, every possible style of rainforest, fabulous offshore islands, coastal attractions and much more.
The country is a dream for eco-tourists, who would need far more than the average holiday to see it all. Outdoor sports enthusiasts will find lots to do as well, with good surf, coral reefs, great hiking and similar recreational attractions, canoeing and white-water rafting.
Many day trips and excursions are possible from Puerto Limon, with highlights including the Parque Nacional Tortuguero (north-west), the Parque Nacional Barbilla (west), the Reserva Biologica Hitoy Cerere (south), the Refugio Nacional Gandoca Manzanillo (south-east) and the Parque Nacional La Amistad (south) all coming recommended.
Also within reach of Puerto Limon is the Costa Rican capital of San Jose
, the Arenal Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal), the Monteverde Biological Cloud Forest Reserve (Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde) and the plentiful attractions within the Rio Sarapiqui region.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Just a short distance to the south-east of the city is Puerto Viejo, some 63 km / 39 miles away. This is a mostly American beach-side community resort area, well-known for its excellent restaurants, bars and lively nightlife. Surfing is a popular occupation here, while rainforest trekking and upstream kayaking are also possible. If you are coming here for the surfing scene, then the conditions around the Playa Cocles and the Salsa Brava beaches are amongst the best. You may also like to check out the Finca La Isla Botanical Garden and the neighbouring jungles of Talamanca.
Rio Sarapiqui Region
Address: Rio Sarapiqui Region, Northern Costa Rica, CR
The course of the Rio Sarapiqui is a favourite for rafters and kayakers, as well as birders (twitchers) and wildlife enthusiasts. Entering the plains, the river runs more calmly, and monkeys, crocodiles, caimans and three-toed sloths can often be seen on its banks. The scarlet macaw's habitat is here too and the sight of this majestic and extremely brightly coloured parrot in full flight is one to remember.
Osa Peninsula (Peninsula de Osa)
The country's most bio-diverse and remote region is the southerly Osa Peninsula, with its Corcovado National Park (Parque Nacional Corcovado) brimming with natural beauty, as well as jaguars, crocodiles and a huge variety of birds. Intense, lush tropical rainforest covers this virgin lowland region. The principal town here is Puerto Jimenez, which comes with its very own airport.
Monteverde Biological Cloud Forest Reserve (Reserva Biológica Bosque Nuboso Monteverde)
Address: Near San Jose, Costa Rica, CR
These eerie mist-shrouded mountains, with towering trees covered in orchids and vines, are a haven for conservation and a must-see for the eco-tourist. Obtained by the Tropical Science Centre in the early 1970s and now maintained by the Monteverde Conservation League, the reserve continues to expand and is home to more than 400 bird species, 100 mammal species and over 100 reptiles and amphibians. For those who would like to explore the jungle, the Chomongo Trail offers some of the best views.
Open hours: daily - 07:00 to 16:00
Botanical Gardens (Jardin Botanico)
Address: Las Cusingas Guapiles, Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, CR
Tel: +506 382 5805
If you are fascinated with how things grow in a tropical setting, you will enjoy a visit to this nearby botanical garden. This attraction is a working farm, growing spices, flowers and tropical fruits within a botanical garden environment. There are also many Costa Rican birds and small creatures living here as well, adding to the overall appeal.
Open hours: daily
Arenal Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal)
Address: Arenal Volcano National Park, North-West Costa Rica, CR
The huge and perfectly cone-shaped and constantly active Arenal volcano lights up the night with its lava streams and scares the birds with its massive explosions. Measuring in at 1,670 metres / 5,479 feet in height, the volcano itself is quite a sight, particularly when viewed from Lake Arenal. Hikers are advised not to get too near - this mountain is deadly and ranks as one of the world's ten most active volcanoes.
Open hours: daily - 08:00 to 16:00
San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, is a fascinating city ringed by beautiful valleys and forested mountains. Shopping and dining are great here, and the city is famous for its museums, such as both the Museo del Jade (Jade Museum) and the Museo de Arte y Diseno Contemporáneo (Museum of Contemporary Art and Design). San Jose is just about close enough to Puerto Limon for a day trip to be possible, being around 168 km / 104 miles to the west. If you have the time, do check out the historic Barrio Amon district, the spacious Parque Metropolitano La Sabana, and the profusion of bars and eateries spread along the Calle de la Amargura and the Centro Comercial El Pueblo.
Parismina resides on the southerly side of the Parque Nacional Tortuguero, roughly 80 km / 50 miles to the north-west of Puerto Limon. This appealing village is known for its abundance of huge tarpon fish, with its beaches being a notable breeding ground for green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles. The main attractions here include a turtle hatchery, the Jardin Tropical gardens and the secluded Barrita Lagoon, which features a tranquil beach and is perfect for a picnic or swim.
The village of Tortuguero lies some 95 km / 59 miles to the north-west and since it is surrounded by sea and forest, can only actually be accessed by either plane or boat. There are a number of reasons to take a day trip to Tortuguero, with the huge quantity of nesting turtles between late July and August being a major draw card for tourists. If you are planning an excursion here, then you may like to pencil in a trip to the visitor centre of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, or the Canadian Organisation for Tropical Education and Rainforest Conservation, where various rainforest trails are available.
Parque Nacional Tortuguero / Tortuguero Canals
Address: Parque Nacional Tortuguero, Costa Rica, CR
Close to the village of Tortuguero, the Parque Nacional Tortuguero is to be found 85 km / 53 miles to the north-west of Puerto Limon, being close to Tortuguero village. The park itself features lush rainforest, which can be rather wet and humid, with rainfall being least likely in February and March, and again in October. This vast coastal park covers more than 75,000 acres / 30,350 hectares and is home to a famous network of canals, which link various rivers and lagoons.
The canals open out into unspoiled rainforest and isolated landscapes - a heaven for birders. Boat trips run to the heart of the back country to see herons, kingfishers, egrets, jacanas and many other water birds, as well as howler monkeys, caimans, iguanas, parrots, turtles, unique three-toed sloths and even manatees, usually finishing at Bonita Beach. The Tortuguero Canals are affectionately known as the 'Little Amazon' due to their lush rainforest flora and wealth of jungle fauna. Perfect for a short jungle trek, the El Gavilan Land Trail is around 2 km / 1.5 miles in length and loops around.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Located approximately 58 km / 36 miles to the west of Puerto Limon, the town of Siquirres has become something of a major transportation hub in this part of Costa Rica, and so it is quite likely that you will pass through if you are exploring the country by car. Siquirres lies at the intersection of Highway 10 and Highway 32, and although there is little in the way of attractions here, you may like to stop over at one of the lodges if you are travelling northwards to Parismina. The Parque Central provides a notable recreational space in town.