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Exploring Costa Rica’s Caribbean

puerto-viejo-costa-ricaVisiting the southern Caribbean coastline of Costa Rica is a must for anyone looking for a warm-water getaway in a tropical paradise.

One of the best ways to experience a trip like this is to head over to the city of Limon, situated in eastern Costa Rica, along a beautiful stretch of coastline within short driving distance to several other beachside pueblos.

Tourists traveling to Limon have opportunities to surf, snorkel, and embark on local rainforest tours. Wildlife includes many varieties of monkeys, sloths, and other exotic species seen in abundance.

To get there, rent a car and drive 4 hours along Route 32 from San Jose until you arrive at the city of Limon. Make sure this drive is done early in the day. Driving these roads at night is notoriously dangerous due to potholes, fast-moving trucks, lack of railings, and sometimes rainy or foggy conditions.

Arriving in Limon, Costa Rica

The city of Limon — sometimes referred to as Puerto Limon — is the capital city of Limon Province. It acts as a hub for travelers looking to explore the Caribbean coastline.

While Limon offers plenty to do for tourists, it doesn’t have the best beachfront when compared to nearby village towns. So for this reason, it’s best to drive southbound along Route 36 and visit the various beachside pueblos for a more serene experience.

Exploring Costa Rica’s Southern Caribbean Coast


Home to black sand beaches and the Cahuita National Park, this is a chance to really take in the beauty of the Caribbean Coast. Hiking trails and tours navigate through the lushly vegetated Cahuita National Park where tourists can catch spectacular biodiversity along the sandy trails.

Around the edge of the peninsula are a few beaches to relax in after your hikes. And Playa Negra is where you’ll find the incredible black sand beaches.

Puerto Viejo

An hour drive down Route 36 from Limon — merging into Route 256 — is Puerto Viejo. Surfers frequent this area for its monstrous waves. Beginner surfers and snorkelers should be wary of these large waves and barrier reefs, however, as they pose a threat to the underprepared.

Still, there’s a good reason why Puerto Viejo is wildly popular among surfers. Playa Cocles is the best place to watch surfers, take lessons, or observe exotic fish in the crystal clear waters.

Punta Uva

Located just 8 kilometers south of Puerto Viejo is Punta Uva, which is a small town that offers a slightly quieter atmosphere than the more northern town. Punta Uva is known for peaceful beaches and is great for snorkeling. While surfing isn’t as popular here, its calmer waters are ideal for beginners.


At the end of the road lies Manzanillo, a small fishing village that is the last stop on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. Few people end up this far down the highway which makes this one of the best places for those who prefer a little solitude. There are still many activities to do here, from hiking and food tours to fishing expeditions and dolphin tours. 

Don’t miss out on this chance to immerse in Afro-Caribbean culture while relaxing on some of the best-kept secret beaches in Costa Rica!

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