- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches
- Costa Rica’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
- Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Unique Retreats & Resorts
- Surf’s Up in Costa Rica
- Off-The-Beaten-Path Eco-Adventures
- Costa Rica Family-Friendly Adventures
- Adrenaline Rush
Highway 32 from San José enters town from the west and becomes Avenida 1. The street signs are not to be trusted. Most addresses and directions are given in direction and distance from the market or Parque Vargas.
The road leading south from the junction of Avenida 1 and Calle 9 leads to Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. Avenida 6 leads out of town to Moín and the JAPDEVA dock, where boats can be hired for the trip to Tortuguero.
There’s not much to hold you in town, although the Mercado Central (Avenidas Central/2, Calles 3/4), at the heart of town, is worth a browse. The unremarkable and slightly decayed Parque Vargas, at the east end of Avenidas 1 and 2, is literally an urban jungle, with palm promenades and a crumbling bandstand amid a tangle of vines. On the north side, a fading mural by Guadalupe Alvarea shows life in Limón since pre-Columbian days. A bronze bust of Christopher Columbus, erected in 1990 for the 500th anniversary of his party’s landing, faces the sea. On the west side of the park is the stucco Town Hall (Alcaldía), a fine example of tropical architecture.
The oldest building in town, the Black Star Line (Avenida 5, Calle 6, tel. 506/2798-1948), was built in 1922 as Liberty Hall, former headquarters of Jamaican black activist Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line Steamship Company. Nearby the Catholic La Catedral del Sagrado Corazón (Sacred Heart Cathedral, Avenida 3, Calle 7), completed in 2010, is the town’s most impressive site. Its dramatic post-modernist exterior is topped by a crystal-shaped 47-meter-tall spire. The Sacred Heart Music choir (tel. 506/8328-1755, www.sacredheartmusic.vpweb.com) performs.
Craggy Isla Uvita lies one kilometer offshore. Columbus supposedly landed on the islet in 1502; it is now a national landmark park.
Playa Bonita, four kilometers north of Puerto Limón, boasts a golden beach popular with Limonenses. Swimming is safe only at the northern end. The surf is good, but unreliable.
The port of Moín, six kilometers north of Puerto Limón, is where Costa Rica’s crude oil is received for processing (RECOPE has its main refinery here) and bananas are loaded for shipment to Europe and North America. The main reason to visit Moín is to catch a boat to Tortuguero from the dock north of the railway tracks. Boat captains here offer one-hour tours of the local mangroves ($10 pp), good for spotting sloths and other wildlife.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition