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Cruises to Puerto Limon take you right into the middle of Costa Rica’s beloved ecosystem, a land that features thick rainforests, meandering rivers, and a variety of exotic wildlife.
A Puerto Limon cruise stop can be your gateway to this natural beauty, whether you want to appreciate it from afar while wandering around the city center and parks, or by taking off on an adventurous excursion that gets you right into the heart of the rainforest or to one of the country’s best beaches.
While in Puerto Limon on your Caribbean cruise, you’ll likely enjoy pleasant weather due to its temperate climate that hovers around 77 degrees throughout the year.
The Tortuguero Canals, which were turned into a national park in 1975, were named after the local green turtle (called Tortuguero) which uses the canals to spawn. The national park also consists of lush foliage that makes for an intriguing boat ride down the slow-moving Colorado River that goes through the park. You’re likely to see sloths, monkeys, toucans, and crocodiles while in the Tortuguero Canals.
This beautiful waterfront park is extremely convenient for cruise passengers thanks to its location near the port exit. It’s great for families since it has playgrounds. In addition, sloths and owls are often hanging out around the park. Vargas Park is also home to historical statues.
Those wanting to learn more about the history and culture of the Limon province in Costa Rica will enjoy a visit to this interesting museum that features a variety of artwork and artifacts, including ones of Afro-Caribbean origin.
Get off the beaten path and head to Isla Uvita, which is a 20-minute boat ride from Puerto Limon. The island doesn’t have much in terms of tourist facilities, but you might even see some local surfers catching the waves. Isla Uvita also has a place in history since it is where Christopher Columbus landed on his last journey across the Atlantic to the Americas.
The rainforest is one of the biggest draws of a cruise to Puerto Limon, and you have many options for how to explore it while in port. Take a river cruise with a naturalist who can explain the environment you’re seeing in depth. Embark on an open-air tram and go for a ride above the rainforest canopy for a bird’s-eye view of the trees. You can also glide above the canopy on a ziplining adventure.
The city center of Puerto Limon is an interesting and historic place to explore during your time in Costa Rica. Taking a walking tour around the city is a great way to explore its parks, see City Hall, visit the cathedral, gaze at its modern architecture, and learn where to find the best shopping and restaurants to check out during your free time in port.
This secluded beach is a peaceful oasis located less than 45 miles from Puerto Limon. You won’t find any development at this protected beach, but you will find white sand and a coral reef offshore that is excellent for scuba diving and snorkeling. At Punta Uva, you can take a short hike to a scenic lookout point overlooking the water and coral reef.
Small restaurants referred to as soda offer traditional meals reminiscent of what you’d find served in someone’s home. The meal served at sodas is called a casado and generally includes beans, meat, rice, and salad.
For a cup of coffee brewing local beans, head to one of the many cafes located around town. Most of the cafes also have WiFi available for customers.
Cruises to Puerto Limon take passengers to the second largest city in Costa Rica, after the capital city of San Jose. Around 55,000 people call Puerto Limon home. Its residents are multicultural, many of whom are of Afro-Caribbean descent. As such, you’ll hear both Spanish and Limonese Creole in the city. Much of Puerto Limon’s economy is devoted to its port, which is the largest and most important in Costa Rica.
Puerto Limon has a modern port terminal with a separate pier for cruise ships. You’ll also see that the port has a large area focused on exporting, particularly Costa Rican coffee. The cruise terminal has a welcome center and souvenir market.
If you’re planning to walk to the city center, it’s only about 250 yards from the cruise terminal. A helpful map of the city is located right before you leave the port and has recommended walks on it as well.
Cruises to Puerto Limon dock right by the city center, and the port is close to multiple forms of public and private transportation.
You’ll find red taxis right outside the pier that can whisk you away to nearby beaches or other top sites near the Puerto Limon cruise port. Shore excursions are another convenient way to get around the region since the buses will meet you right outside the cruise port. Taxi drivers in Puerto Limon are typically open to negotiating the price for where you want to go before you depart.
If renting a car or taking a bus (the bus terminal is located within walking distance from the pier), make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship as bus routes can be sporadic and traffic can be unexpectedly gridlocked.
You’ll find shopping in Puerto Limon cruise port not far from the pier. For a variety of shops in one area, head to Plaza Puerto Limon, a shopping mall in the downtown area of the city.
For a quintessential Costa Rica souvenir, bring home a couple bags of Costa Rican coffee. To make sure it’s of the highest quality, look for coffee from boutique roasters like Dota or Café Britt. Other items that make for great souvenirs to remember your Puerto Limon cruise port of call are artisan-made housewares using mango wood, pachuco t-shirts that feature sayings in the local slang, and greeting cards made from recycled banana paper.
The official currency of Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colon. However, most places in the tourist areas take U.S. dollars, and you can even withdraw U.S. dollars at most of the ATMs in Puerto Limon. There isn’t an ATM in the cruise terminal, but there are several in the city of Puerto Limon. Look for a bank and there will usually be an ATM by it.
Tipping is not expected in Costa Rica since a 10% service charge is already added to the bill in restaurants. However, if service was exceptional, it is acceptable to tip an additional 5% to 10%. Likewise, taxi drivers don’t expect a tip but it is appreciated. Generally, a tip of $1 to $5 is offered for longer drives.