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Gorgeous beaches, coconut palms and great Caribbean flavor are some characteristics of Costa Rica's Atlantic side.

Costa Rica literally means “Rich Coast”, Columbus named Costa Rica because of the beauty he saw on these shores when he arrived in 1502, while looking for a passage to the Pacific Ocean.

People from all over the world visit the Caribbean side of Costa Rica for its beautiful beaches, vast rainforest and nature reserves, world class Tarpon and Snook fishing, Turtle sanctuaries, surfing, laid back Caribbean style ambiance and culture. Limon is the largest town in the area, but is mainly known for its sea port and Carnival festival. Rio Colorado, Rio Parisima and Tortugero are north of Limon and are famous for the fishing and eco-tourism. The towns of Cahuita, Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo are south of Limon and are best known for the surfing, snorkeling and laid back life style.

There is a wide variety of unique hotels and specialty lodges available on the Caribbean Coast. You won’t find many 5-star resorts but clean and affordable lodging is available throughout the region. Most of the fishing and eco-tourism lodges in the north not only provide comfortable rooms but also provide excellent meals. Recently, we fished for Tarpon in the area and we were fed like kings; fresh fish (Snook), home grown vegetables, exotic fruits, and 3-inch thick pork chops they had delivered from San Jose. The Southern Caribbean towns have nice hotels and nice little restaurants that serve fresh local dishes, many of them excellent sea food dishes done Caribbean-style with coconut milk and hot spices. There is a small restaurant in Manzanillo that has really cold beer and $5 Lobster dinners.

Limon, Cahuita, Puerto Viejo and the rest of the Southern Caribbean is an easy drive from San Jose. The roads are good and once you get out of San Jose there is not much traffic and the scenery is incredible. It’s about a 4-hour drive from San Jose to Puerto Viejo.
It’s not really possible to drive to the northern part of the Caribbean. Some people take a bus to Limon and then take a water taxi from Limon to the north, but most people take a local flight from San Jose to the Rio Colorado area, it’s faster and very scenic.


Canals, rivers and waterways are the primary means of transportation in the north and locals all travel by boat. Usually your lodge will provide all transportation once you are in the area.

Taxis, buses, rental cars and tour guides are the best way to get around in the Southern Caribbean area. Most of the roads are good and you probably won’t need a 4-wheel drive.

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