The Caribbean Zone is located between the coast of the Caribbean Sea and borders of Nicaragua and Panama. The temperature in the coastal areas oscillates between 25ºC and 27ºC; therefore the warmest days fall between May and the end January the temperature reaches 31ºC. . In the CaribbeanCoast, the dry season is divided into two periods: February to March and September to October. Again, like the other regions there is a period when the rain ceases -Saint John's Short Summer, in July. This region is different than the others because of its people and culture particular characteristic of the CaribbeanIslands. The principal access to this zone is through the city of Limón (consisting mainly of afro Caribbean people since 1870) where the plantation of banana and portuary activities are of great importance for Costa Rica's national economy the Caribbean Zone is the most humid region of Costa Rica, because of the wind influence coming from the Caribbean Sea. The rainfall in the lowlands of this region reaches 3000 mm per year and up in the highlands increases to 4500 mm.
Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge
Located in LimonProvince, bordering the Barra del Colorado River, on the Caribbean coast. This area consists of swampland, almost totally devoid of wooded areas. The topsoil is unsuitable for supporting agriculture or livestock. However, the refuge has great tourist appeal and possesses a wide range of wildlife. This is a very hot and humid tropical rain forest environment, very similar to TortugueroNational Park.
One of the country’s main attractions is the 47,000 acresTortugueroNational Park with its innumerous lagoons and canals. It protects a terrestrial area of 18956 hectares and 52265 hectares of marine habitat.
Tortuguero (derived from the Spanish word tortuga = turtle) is an one of the most important nesting sites for the Green Sea Turtle, the Leatherback and the Hawksbill Turtle in the whole Caribbean These are best observed between July and September at night. North of the national park, the village of Tortuguero is located on a narrow land strip. To the west side of the village lies the tranquil Tortuguero lagoon; to the east the Atlantic ocean with a strong surf and sharks, so swimming is not recommended here. In the small canals where the bordering vegetation forms amazing tunnels, nature presents itself from the most beautiful tropical side: Caimans, crocodiles, sweet water turtles, poison-arrow frogs, Basilisk lizards, oropendolas, toucans, Anhingas, Amazon kingfishers, bats, howler monkeys and manatees are just a few examples of Tortuguero’s abundant fauna.
TortugueroVillage and National Park are accessible by boat only, so individual traveling in this area might become difficult. Most of the lodges are offering complete packages including transportation, meals and a tour program from/to San José. For those traveling on a limited time budget, a domestic flight to the Tortuguero air-strip could be taken into consideration.
On his fourth journey to the New World in 1502, Christopher Columbus anchored in front of the Island of Uvita, just in front of the nowadays city of Limón. He named the country “RichCoast” (Costa Rica), but his and the Spanish crown’s expectations of unlimited treasures never were fulfilled.
Limón boasts a population of some 85.000 people, most of which are of Afro - Caribbean heritage. The town has increased in size steadily since the 1970s and has proven to be a good place for Costa Ricans to settle down. The climate is warm and tropical, the surroundings are beautiful and a recent influx of tour operators has brought a new focus of the town. Limón was founded in 1870 as a port for exporting bananas and grains. Today it continues this tradition although it is now complimented by the arrival of cruise ships that stop off for a few hours of shore leave.
Talamanca Mountain Range
The Talamanca is part of the biosphere La Amistad Caribe and difficult to access. A good starting point to enter the rainforests of the Talamanca is the Selva Bananito Lodge.
CahuitaNational Park is located just south of the town of Cahuita, about 43 kilometers south of Limón, on the Caribbean coastline in one of the most beautiful and scenic regions in Costa Rica. Its main attractions are the white sand beaches fringed with endless coconut trees, a calm sea of transparent waters and the coral reefs just offshore. Other habitats of the park are secondary rain forest and littoral woodlands, home of the three-toed sloth, numerous leaf frogs and monkeys. A shipwreck located at the mouth of the Perezoso river was used to transport slaves in the 18th century.
The main entrance to the park is at Puerto Vargas, located about 6 km south from Cahuita at the main road to Puerto Viejo.
Puerto Viejo Talamanca
In recent years, this small village has developed rapidly and become a point of tourist attraction with the corresponding infrastructure. The roads have been paved; a variety of small hotels, bed & breakfasts and restaurants is now available in the immediate surroundings of the village's center. More expensive accommodation close to the most beautiful beaches of the area can be found further south along the road to Gandoca Manzanillo. Here you will also find all kinds of restaurants in different price ranges.
Hitoy Cerere Biological Reserve
In the foothills of the Talamanca Mountain Range, southwest of La Estrella Valley, 45 Km from the port of Limon. This zone is criss-crossed by countless rocky rivers with rapids and waterfalls, some reaching several meters in height. It is interesting to note that the name of the Reserve, taken from the Bri-Bri Indian language, has to do with rain. "Hitoy" means wooly, describing the algae and moss- covered river stones, and "Cerere" means clear waters. Most of the trees in the upper elevations are more than 30 meters tall and the emergent trees top 50 meters. The fauna is rich and varied, although most species either live in the treetops or are nocturnal and therefore are not usually seen. Some mammals inhabiting the area are the three-toed sloth, silky anteater, four-eyed opossum, collared peccary, and howler and white-faced monkeys. 115 species of birds have been observed including the Montezuma oropendola, which congregates to build large numbers of hanging nests in a single tree, vulture, chizo parrot, salty-tailed trogon and hummingbirds, among others.