Caribbean, Costa Rica

Costa Ricas Caribbean was once a completely isolated land, the eastern-most province of Limon was given a breath of life after the establishment of a seaport at Puerto Limon on the central coast. In 1867, authorities decided that an Atlantic port was needed to export bananas from the region's booming plantations to markets around the world. As the story goes, a solitary lemon (limón in Spanish) tree was growing at the proposed site and gave the port its name. The consequent establishment of Puerto Limon and construction of a railway to San Jose opened a near-abandoned province to the rest of the country. While the railroad no longer exists, the paved Guapiles Highway (Hwy 32) provides easy access, linking the Caribbean to the rest of the country.

Traveling north from Limon, forlorn Caribbean beaches and exotic nature reserves beckon adventurous travelers to explore areas often overlooked beauty and wildlife. The smooth alluvial plain, which extends westward from the Atlantic coast to the mountain ranges of Costa Rica's heartland, provides an ideal location for the villages that dot Highway 32's descend from the Central Highlands. Banana plantations envelop much of the surrounding terrain, as do thick rainforests, which grow in density with every step northward. The region's climate is undoubtedly sustained by Costa Rica's highest annual rainfall averages. It's no wonder that some of the most ecologically diverse parks in the country are located in Limon's northeast (Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre, Barra del Colorado, and Parque Nacional Tortuguero.) Here, swampland encompasses such an immense area that parks such as Tortuguero are only accessible by plane or motorboat.

Some of the most popular areas of the Central Pacific region of Costa Rica are: