Puerto Limón (pop. 65,000) is an important maritime port and gateway to all other points on the Caribbean . The harbor handles most of the sea trade for Costa Rica. Trucks hauling containers rumble along the main road day and night.
Except for Carnival , when it gets in the groove, Puerto Limón is merely a jumping-off point for most travelers; there is little of interest to see. However, it throbs with vitality and is populated by colorful characters at a crossroad of cultures.
The earthquake of April 22, 1991, dealt Puerto Limón a serious blow. The city has come a long way since, as reflected in the razing of decrepit buildings and a sense of newfound prosperity. A cruise port (tel. 506/2799-0215) draws cruise ships.
However, the city has a bad reputation among Ticos and is often referred to as Piedropolis (Crack City). Visitors should beware of pickpockets by day and muggings at night, and gang violence has recently consumed the city.
Nature Air and SANSA offer regular service to the airport (tel. 506/2758-1379) two kilometers south of Limón.
Transportes Caribeños (tel. 506/2221-2596) runs double-decker buses that depart the Gran Terminal del Caribe, on Calle Central, Avenidas 13/15 in San José , hourly 5 a.m.–7 p.m. daily. The buses continue to Cahuita , Puerto Viejo , Bribrí , and Sixaola. Buses to San José depart Puerto Limón from Calle 2, Avenida 2 ($4).
Local buses depart Limón for Cahuita ($1.25), Puerto Viejo ($2), and Sixaola ($3.50) from opposite Radio Casino on Avenida 4 eight times daily (5 a.m.–6 p.m.). Buses for Manzanillo  ($2) leave at 6 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 6 p.m. daily. Buy tickets in advance at the soda beside the bus stop, as buses get crowded. Around the corner on Calle 4 to the north is the bus stop for Playa Bonita and Moín.