Why you should visit Puerto Viejo & the Caribbean coast
- Best snorkelling in Costa Rica at Cahuita National Park
- Dance to reggae and calypso music at bars along the coast
- Unwind on beautiful beaches in simple but chic shacks
- Tour Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge to see turtles, crocodiles and manatees
Our specialists 'Must Do'
Strip off, don mask and fins, and get into the water at Cahuita National Park (10 miles from Talamanca) to make the most of the best snorkelling off Costa Rica. Over 35 species of coral, Green Turtles, Carey Turtles, lobsters and Manta Rays can be seen in the crystal clear waters.
A little more about Puerto Viejo & the Caribbean coast
At the southern end of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast in the Limon Province, lies Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, a charming and vibrant seaside town with a unique blend of Bribri, Latino and Afro-Caribbean cultures. It has wonderful beaches with fine volcanic sand lapped by warm water. The Salsa Brava waves that come ashore here are some of the most powerful in Costa Rica and attract surfers from around the world.
This stretch of coast that neighbours Panama’s Bocas del Toro Islands, is culturally a world apart from the rest of the country. Most residents here are of Afro-Caribbean descent and were drafted in from Jamaica, among other Caribbean islands, to work on banana plantations that still grow this important cash crop. Visit any of the small laid-back towns around Talamanca and you’ll be greeted by the sounds of reggae and calypso music, the smell of jerk chicken being barbecued and a challenging local dialect that blends Spanish and English elements.
Talamanca town (just called Puerto Viejo by the locals) is a lively place with a variety of bars, discos and restaurants. Its fun to visit but the forest-lined beaches are the biggest draw. Punta Uva, Playa Chiquita and Playa Negra offer scenic spots for a few days rest on the coast.
Cahuita National Park
Cahuita National Park has one of the most stunning beaches in Costa Rica. The park was created in 1970 to protect the country’s largest coral reef and this amazingly colourful underwater world provides some of the best snorkelling and diving in the country.
The Gandoca-Manzanillo Reserve near the Panama border encompasses several rare habitats and hosts some extraordinary wildlife including tapirs, turtles, eagles, caimans and West Indian Manatees in its mangroves.
Did you know?
This region was only accessible by road as recently as 1987 when the Guapiles Highway finally connected the provincial capital of Limon with San Jose. Christopher Columbus established Limon when he landed here in 1502 and Columbus Day is Puerto Limon’s biggest party.
When to go
The tropical climate of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast averages a day time temperature of 28°C year round. The Talamanca Mountain Range creates a climatic divide from the Pacific coast and while March and April generally attract low rainfall, September and October can also be dry here while the rest of Costa Rica is wet. These are the best months for snorkelling at Cahuita.