Limon Costa Rica boasts a long colorful history and an ambience that is well worth experiencing first hand. Known as the ‘gateway to Tortuguero’ National Park, Limon Costa Rica is not a tourist destination in its own right but rather a stopover on the way to Tortuguero and the southern Caribbean beaches.
Many visitors to Limon Costa Rica don’t even consider where to stay for any length of time, focusing instead on reaching their vacation destinations beyond Limon as soon as possible.
Lingering a day or two can be pleasant and educational.
Just offshore Limon is Isla Luvita, reputed to be the actual place Christopher Columbus landed and declared his discovery of North America. Although he was wrong about where he was, the spot where he landed grew into the largest banana port of the late 19th century, making Limon the most important port city on Costa Rica’s eastern coast even today.
The Park Hotel in downtown Limon Costa Rica possesses a certain shabby charm, through the fire station across the street makes asking for an ocean view room essential.
Though the Park Hotel has seen better days, if you ask to see the room first and are satisfied, the service is fine and the experience is authentic rough-and-tumble Limon. The suites are nicer than the single rooms and are surprisingly affordable. The restaurant on site serves inexpensive and filling Tico fare prepared in the traditional ways.
Just north of Limon Costa Rica awaits Playa Bonita, a nice enough beach that is popular with surfers, though the water is a bit rough for swimming. Between Playa Bonita and Limon the Hotel Corcori is located right on the water with a fine view of the cove and a small private beach of its own. The rooms are small and basic but the view of the water is lovely, and traditional TIco fare is served right on site makes the Hotel Corocori a good choice for a surfing stopover.
The very best view in or around Limon can be found at the Hotel Maribu Caribe, a cluster of individual circular cabins built to resemble an Indian Village and located on top of a hill overlooking the Caribbean. Popular with locals, the Hotel Maribu Caribe features white tile floors, varnished wood ceilings, and plenty of open-air tables on a curving veranda that showcases the spectacular view perfectly.
Just south of Limon Costa Rica, the Selva Bananito Lodge offers convenient access to Limon or the beaches of Cahuita or Puerto Viejo in a lush rainforest setting. This friendly nature lodge features varnished wood raised stilt cabins with comfortable furnishings and a choice of views. Half of the cabins look out on the Bananito River, and the other half afford a fine view of the Matama Mountains, part of the Talamanca mountain range.
Selva Bananito does lack electric lights, but makes up for it with romantic candlelight dining and oil lamps in every cabin. Family style meals are served daily, and a variety of eco-tours are offered by the proprietors, including horseback riding, hikes through the rainforest, and bird watching expeditions.