Best Things to Do in Limon, Costa Rica

Costa Rica has been on my travel bucketlist for a long time now and this rainforested, rugged Central American country was finally crossed off of it, at least by stepping into one of its cities, Limón or also known as Puerto Limón. Costa Rica means “rich coast” in English and you’ll see what that means when you get an opportunity to see this country. 

In Costa Rica, there is a province and a city that is home to the Afro-Costa Ricans, one of the oldest cities in the world where Christopher Columbus took voyage in, and rains almost all year round. Limón is the seventh largest city in Costa Rica and it is full of gems left and right!

If you’re looking to get ideas on how to explore this city, read on.

Best times to visit Limón, Costa Rica

Limón is probably one of the areas in the country that gets the most rain. Although I visited in November, we got pretty lucky visiting with hardly any rain, but the temperatures were super hot and humid. It can get uncomfortably humid visiting Costa Rica, so be prepared to dress right for this type of weather. However, in November, it is one of the wettest months along with June, so consider visiting the best months which is February, March, September, and October.

What should you wear when visiting Costa Rica?

  • Shorts
  • Moisture-wicking material clothes
  • Sneakers
  • Hiking boots
  • Dad or baseball hats
  • Light long pants

1. Take a legit tour company: Try Tortuguero Shuttle tour.

When visiting a country for the first time, a tour is always a good start to opt for to help bring you to locations and explain the story behind the places being toured. Tortuguero Shuttle was an exceptional tour we took in Limón and one of the best foreign tours I’ve gone on so far. They provided us with some of the stops I will mention in the following sections.

2. Visit a local market

Visiting a local market in a new country is like walking into a place to really feel what their food is like, see how the local people are like and how they work, and overall, a glimpse of what their culture is. When you arrive at a local market in Limón, you need to try the fruits of Costa Rica!! The local market I also went to sells the Caribbean cousins of empanadas (which they call as “patties” or “plantintas”) for just about 2 bucks. 

The mouthwatering fruits you have to try in Costa Rica are:

  • Papayas
  • Mangos
  • Guanabanas (soursop)
  • Water apples
  • Pineapples
  • Rambutans or also known as mamon chino
  • Bananas
  • Mini bananas
  • Coconuts and their coconut juice

At some local markets, you have a chance to sample them before you can buy them. My favorite fruit I tried from that list are the mini bananas! Ultra small, but packed with powerful flavor in that small size they come with. Probably the best type of bananas I’ve tried so far in my life.

You may also find some gift shops attached to them or other booths selling other items than just fruits and food. Just outside the market, I got to see the trees that grows the fresh rambutans.

3. Visit a Banana Plantation

Did you know Costa Rica is the second largest banana grower right after Ecuador? You might’ve heard about this famous brand known for its fruits, Del Monte. There’s a plantation in Limón where they grow Del Monte bananas. So if you’ve seen Del Monte bananas being sold in your local American grocery store, they most likely came from here. 

The tour we took showed us the plantation as I believe you can only have access from certain tours. Other famous brands you’ve probably heard of for bananas are Dole and Chiquita, and the same bananas are grown on the same plantation but are sold with different company names.

Going to a banana plantation can teach you how bananas are grown, selected, cleaned, and exported.


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4. Visit Another Banana Plantation with More Than Bananas

Aside from the banana plantation mentioned above from some well-known brands, you may want to consider visiting this other banana plantation that has more than bananas in it.

Other fruits are being produced on this plantation (like the ones I mentioned you should try in the local markets) and even cacao beans, the main ingredient in chocolates. They can also have a variety of beautiful Costa Rican flora to see them blooming or fully bloomed like in this plantation I saw. 

There are some guided walking tours you can take to tour the plantation or you can do a self-guided tour there. You might even get a glimpse of a crocodile or caiman peeking through the swampy waters surrounding the plantations, but they or other wildlife should not be a concern when walking through the plantations.

This banana plantation also has a really good gift shop where I was able to pick up a lot of gifts for my friends (I got them artisan-made sustainably-made bookmarks during the holiday season), so you might find some plantations with a gift shop, along with a bar.

Blogger Gabrielle Sales walking a banana plantation in Limon, Costa Rica
Different fruits and plants in a banana plantation in Limon, Costa Rica

5. Do the Jungle Canal Tour in Tortuguero National Park

Tortuguero National Park, also known as Parque Nacional Tortuguero, is one of Limón national parks and it is the third most visited park in the country. Named after the Spanish Tortuga, which means “turtle”, the wildlife that is famed in this area is the green sea turtles, which are endangered. 

The national park spans about 77,032 acres with eleven different habitats (there are rainforests, mangrove forests, beaches, etc.). This national park is pretty remote, so the only way you can get here is by plane or boat. One of the best experiences to see it by boat is joining a Jungle Canal tour, where you get to go on a speed boat-like boat. 

The Jungle Canal tour is an amazing tour to get an up-close look at some of the wildlife that calls Tortuguero National Park home. Our guide had such an eye for spotting wildlife within the trees and it took us more than a double look to find them! Some of the wildlife we saw were sloths, iguanas, crocodiles, herons, hummingbirds, and other birds I don’t know the name of.

If you’re looking for an experience that is close enough to be like the Amazon Rainforest, you’ll love this experience as you ride along the murky waters. The jungle of Tortuguero National Park is stunningly lush with so much life in its biodiversity.

Blogger Gabrielle Sales sitting in a boat for a Jungle Canal tour in Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
Tortuguero National Park in Limon, Costa Rica

6. Cahuita National Park

Cahuita National Park, also known as Parque Nacional Cahuita, is where the most preserved coral reef is in the Caribbean of Costa Rica. You can find some of the most beautiful beaches here with pristine white sand, turquoise sea, and thriving marine life. With 2,732 acres of land, this is the place to go for exploring beaches and jungles from hikes to birdwatching to viewing wildlife.

7. Playa Bonita

Playa Bonita which translates to “beautiful beach” in English is called this for a very good reason. This beach has gold sand and turquoise water that do not particularly have the calmest waves but have some fun huge waves to watch or jump over. However, you may want to be careful around the shoreline as some sharp coral rocks are sticking out there. I’ve banged my feet a few times on them.

Overall, the atmosphere of Playa Bonita is what I would describe if one has to experience “Pura Vida” (the well-known Costa Rican saying meaning “simple/pure life”). There’s an open bar and restaurant right by it that offers amazing Costa Rican Caribbean cuisine and seafood. You would also hear some upbeat Spanish music playing in the background while at the beach, no matter how close or far you are. Hotels and restaurants are lined up around this area, so it is common to find tourists hanging out here.

Playa Bonita in Limon, Costa Rica

8. Veraguas Rainforest Reserve

Veraguas Rainforest Reserve is a private reserve that is surrounded by rainforests. You can find some guided nature trails and a cable car system that can show you canopy views over trees that are about over 300 years old. You may also have the opportunity to see the Puma Waterfall, a stunning waterfall that cascades into 2 tiers into a large pool. This place is basically an adventure park located in pure nature. It is also such a family-friendly place with museums, restaurants, and attractions that have activities for everyone.

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