Limón, the easternmost province of Costa Rica, is situated in the country's Caribbean lowlands. It is the least visited region of the country, and home to the country's Caribbean culture.
The major places of interest to tourists are:
- 1 Bribri - close to the Reserva Indigena Bribri y Cabecar
- 2 Cahuita - little town next to the National Park of Cahuita
- 3 Parismina
- 4 Puerto Limón - just a stopover place for most tourists, although the central market is worth a visit, as is the city during Carnival
- 5 Punta Uva
- 6 Puerto Viejo de Talamanca - the south Caribbean coast
- 7 Tortuguero - accessible only by boat or airplane, it is located in the Northern part of Limón
- 8 Sixaola - banana territory close to the Panamanian border
Although Spanish is the official language of Costa Rica and is understood by practically everyone, due to its large population of people of Jamaican descent, many locals in Limón also speak an English-based creole known as Limonese Creole (Mekatelyu), which was derived from and is very similar to Jamaican Patois. As such, Jamaicans should be able to make themselves understood by speaking Jamaican Patois. Standard English is not widely spoken, though English speakers may be able to communicate with some difficulty due to the fact that Limonese Creole is based on English.
There is frequent bus service (hourly) from San José to Puerto Limón. Some buses continue along the southern Caribbean Coast to Sixaola, with stops in Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. To travel to a number of other destinations, you'll need to change the bus in Puerto Limón.
One of the best ways to see the southernmost Caribbean islands or surrounding South American islands is via a cruise.
The Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge is located south of Puerto Viejo near Punta Uva. The refuge is free to visit and can be reached by a bus to Manzanillo. You can as well get to Gandoca from Sixaola via taxi or private car. From the highway, it is 8 km until the beach of Gandoca which lies pretty much on the border to Panama. In Gandoca you can stay as well over night. From February until May, turtles come to the beach to lay their eggs there.
There are opportunities to participate as a volunteer in social and environmental programs, like wildlife protection and social care. Tourists usually participate in such programs while they discover the natural beauty and culture of the province (sustainable travel). One of the most recognized organizations working on these matters is Planet Conservation, which is always looking for volunteers for programs related to sea turtle protection, kids' education, beach cleaning and more. They also sponsor campaigns against the use of plastics and the promotion of recycling and reuse of second-hand products.
The province is also a better place to learn Spanish than San José if you only speak English and you have zero knowledge of Spanish, as it is populated by natives of Costa Rica who speak Spanish, but also by people of diverse origins like the Caribbean, Europe and the United States who speak English and other European languages, so you can use your native language in your daily life while you learn Spanish (there is a degree of transition). You can find a lot of Spanish schools in the northern and southern parts of the province, but people usually visit the south Caribbean coast and study at language schools in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. This town is a good place to stay because it is near to the best places to visit in the province and allows you to do activities such as surfing and yoga.