Limon dining reflects the temporary nature of a typical tourist visit to this bustling port city. Since Limon is not really a tourist destination, except during Carnaval, it tends to be a one or two night stopover on the way to Tortuguero National Park. So it’s no surprise that the best restaurants for visitors are in the better hotels.
That doesn’t mean eating in Limon Costa Rica has to be boring or pedestrian. You can still find relaxing spots with great views and food that is filling and tasty. Limon dining might not shine for its haute cuisine, but you don’t have to go away hungry either.
The restaurant at Hotel Corcori, located a few kilometers out of town on the way to Playa Bonita, serves basic Tico fare at an affordable price in a gorgeous setting overlooking the sea, making Hotel Corcori the perfect choice for a small plate and a long drink at the end of the day.
Limon dining at the Hotel Maribu Caribe offers even more spectacular views. Built into the side of a hill overlooking the sea, tables on the hotel’s curved veranda maximize an already romantic atmosphere. The food is generic here, but the view is the best in all of Limon and worth experiencing.
Across the street from the fire station you’ll find a big peach building with tons of character. Limon dining at the colorful Park Hotel takes you into the heart of the city without worries. The sunny dining room serves inexpensive Tico fare in a friendly safe environment.
Take a walk around town in the morning to check out the colonial architecture, then spend an hour or so sitting in the Parque Vargas along the seawall, watching the sloths in the trees and the people going by on the street, before relaxing over a leisurely Park Hotel lunch.
If Limon dining options still seem too starved for continental tastes, Cahuita is only half an hour out of Limon and features Creole food, Caribbean cuisine, and great shopping. Try Cha Cha Cha for upscale international fare, or Casa Creole to be transported to Bob Marley’s Jamaica with colorful décor and even more colorful cooking.
Still hungry? A little father down the road, Puerto Viejo offers more shopping and a taste of truly local fare. A number of local women cook up a pot of something special every day in their little home-run sodas. Ask around for Miss Dolly, Miss Daisy, Miss Sam, Miss Isma, or Miss Irma.
When you get directions to these women, prepare to have your taste buds invigorated by the exotic taste of paty (filled meat turnovers, seasoned fresh fish, chicken cooked with rice and beans, pan bon (a sweet dark bread) ginger cakes, and best of all, ‘rundown stew’—a dish made of coconut milk and anything the cook can run down (usually sweet potatoes, local vegetables, and maybe some fish or seafood).
Dining in Limon Costa Rica might not be luxurious, but it definitely doesn’t have to be boring. The key to successful Limon dining is to keep a open mind, a relaxed attitude, and a nice chunk of open time to watch and wander, then sit and sip and let the rest of the world go by.