The Caribbean Lowlands Travel Guide

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The Caribbean Lowlands

Corcovado © José R.
The Caribbean has a cultural diversity that is different from the rest of Costa Rica. With its beautiful beaches, great surfing conditions and pristine national parks, it is becoming one of the top attractions for the adventurous traveller. It is less developed than the Pacific side, with fewer roads and smaller settlements, and about half the area is set apart and protected in parks and wildlife refuges.

The capital of the region is the seedy port of Limon, which is generally avoided by tourists and used only as a transport hub. However, it is regaining popularity as a cruise port. Cahuita is a relaxed village neighbouring the Cahuita National Park, and here the Creole culture is particularly evident in the food and music. Further south is the even more tranquil hamlet of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, popular for its surfing and splendid coastline. In the north, the coastal National Park of Tortuguero is one of the most important breeding and nesting sites of the green sea turtle.

The villages are laid back with an unhurried atmosphere common throughout the region. The majority of the people are extremely friendly, live close to the coast and speak a lively form of English. The people of the Caribbean delight in showing visitors the natural beauty of the area and are eager to share their culture with anyone willing to hang out for a while. There is plenty to see and do, but things are relaxed so take time to experience this rewarding side of Costa Rica.


Cahuita beach © Arturo Sotillo

Cahuita National Park

The only coral reef on the Costa Rican Caribbean coastline is found within this national park, and with 500 species of fish it affords excellent opportunities for snorkelling. Apart from the vibrant underwater colours and fish there are two sunken ships to explore as...  see full details

Puerto Viejo © Jean-Marie Prival

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, known to locals as Puerto Viejo (not to be confused with Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí in the northern lowlands), is a dusty little village lying between the forested mountains of Talamanca and the sea. The little town offers excellent surfing,...  see full details

Tortuguero © Javier Sales

Tortuguero National Park

Despite its isolation on the northern part of the Caribbean coast, Tortuguero National Park is an extremely popular destination and one of the most important nesting sites of the green sea turtle, which lays its eggs here between July and October each year. Three...  see full details