Everything that you would expect
For a tropical destination is served up on a golden platter on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. Lush surroundings and friendly people are the ultimate compliments to any traveler’s vacation. Bordered by Nicaragua and Panama, the Caribbean coast spans almost 200 kilometers.
Tortuguero National Park
Whether it’s by kayak, by boat, or hiking through forest trails, Tortuguero National Park is a perfect example of tropical rain forest (there are a few biological stations set up inside the park and are manned by scientists and volunteers). The park is made up of more than 18.000 hectares and protects a wealth of exotic wildlife including those that gave it its name – turtles. You can reach Tortuguero via boats departing from the town of Moin or you can fly in to a handy airstrip that lies on the outskirts of town. If you’re traveling with a tour, then just sit back and enjoy the ride.
There are a variety of ways you can make your way through this watery park that is made up of several canals that twist and turn. A kayak will afford you excellent views of the surrounding vegetation and wildlife but will also prove to be a physically demanding tour. Walk. Prepare yourself to sweat!
This Caribbean coast town is the perfect place to visit if you’re in need of rest and relaxation. The residents are open and friendly and the town itself lends itself to exploration. Visit the town’s central market found downtown. The neatly organized stalls offer everything from fruits and vegetables to clothing and shoes. If you’re low on supplies or want to purchase a few handcrafted items, you’ll find it all here. Sodas are plentiful and make excellent blended fruit drinks of papaya, mango, blackberry and pineapple. You can accompany it with an “empanada”, a cheese or meat filled pastry that is fried and served hot.
Afro-Caribbeans are known for their preparation of flavorful dishes, rich with condiments, spices and characteristic ingredients of African descent. The recipes have been handed down from generation to generation, and even the younger generation knows the traditional and authentic taste of their foods.
Cahuita National Park
It protects a well – developed coral reef and is one of the most visited parks on the Caribbean Coast. Over 23,000 hectares make up the marine park including the reef system. Aside from the howler monkeys and sloths in the tropical humid forest, you can see angel fish and brain coral in the water. Cahuita is one of the more pleasant parks to hike through since it runs primarily along the beach. The hike takes you through this often swampy forest on a well – defined path.
Like Cahuita, the town of Puerto Viejo offers many facilities to ensure an enjoyable visit.
Located in Limon province on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a beach lover’s paradise. Here, amidst the exotic flora and fauna, lies a vibrant seaside town with gorgeous beaches, crystal clear blue waters, and some of the most amazing surfing opportunities. Formerly a quiet little fishing village, Puerto Viejo has a charm that is all its own. With its relaxed atmosphere and its own unique blend of Latino, Afro-Caribbean and Bribri indigenous cultures, Puerto Viejo is a lively place to have a fun relaxing vacation. With its gold sand beaches, tropical vegetation and many interesting attractions nearby such as the Cahuita National Park, Talamanca Indian Reserve and Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, visiting Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a great opportunity to experience Costa Rica at its best. One can also indulge in horseback tours of the area, as well as snorkeling, diving, mountain biking, kayaking or boogie boarding. Whether you are looking forward to having a good time or just a laidback retreat, the shores of Puerto Viejo are a great place to kick back and soak in the sun!
The Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge protects the lowlands of the southern Caribbean coastal region of Costa Rica. This coastal zone is between the mouths of the Rio Cocles and the Rio Sixaola, which forms the border with Panama. The area is known for its manatees, dolphins, and several species of sea turtles nest on the beaches from February through May. The peaceful, pristine stretch of sandy white beach is one of the area’s main attractions and the center of village life in Manzanillo. The beach stretches from Punta Uva in the west to Punta Mona in the east. Offshore, a 5-sq-km coral reef is a teeming habitat for lobsters, sea fans and long-spined urchins, great for scuba diving and snorkeling!
Lodging and travel companies and a tour guide association offer trips to other areas of Talamanca. There are also excellent restaurants featuring local and international cuisine, as well as varied nightlife offering traditional music and dancing from the Costa Rican Caribbean.