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South Caribbean

Beaches, Culture & Wildlife

If you think you know Costa Rica's beaches but haven't visited the Caribbean Coast, you're in for an eye opener. Here you'll find a long, wide beaches shaded by coconut palms and lapped by warm, clear waters. The Caribbean Coast is friendly, funky and relaxed. Every time we visit, we wish we had more time to surf, snorkel, and sleep in a hammock.

Puerto Limón is Costa Rica's main Caribbean port, and the heart of the country's Afro-Caribbean culture. Visitors (most of whom arrive by cruise ship) can raft the Pacuare and Sixaola rivers, sport fish, zip-line, and tour the Sloth Sanctuary.

About an hour south of Limón, Cahuita National Park protects the country's largest coral reef, which is home to manta rays, sharks, sea turtles and more than thirty coral species. Snorkelers and divers enjoy crystal-clear visibility. The park's beaches are a perfect place to laze away a day or three.

The string of beaches continues south of the park, stretching 20 miles from Playa Negra to Manzanillo. The main beach town is Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, home of the Salsa Brava surf swells. Waves here can reach heights of 40 feet from October to December, peaking again from June to August. Other area attractions include the Tirimbina Rainforest Center's cacao plantation; the Bribri Kikoldi iguana project; and the wonderful Jaguar Rescue Center in Playa Chiquita.

Farther south, the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge protects another six miles of beach—nesting grounds of four sea turtle species. The refuge's waters shelter a coral reef, West Indian manatees and dolphins.

Limón can be reached by road from San Jose, which passes through the verdant mountains of Braulio Carillo National Park. En route, visitors can stop at the Rainforest Aerial Tram's 1,200-acre private reserve. Two other routes from to the Southern Pacific pass through Sarapiqui and Turrialba.

Mosaico Travel Services arranges personalized travel in the South Caribbean region and throughout Costa Rica. We organize luxury accommodation, private transportation, domestic flights, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a Mosaico travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."


Ellen Parr