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Costa Rica Howler November 2022 International Digital Magazine



Cahuita, Costa Rica

The Caribbean area is the most culturally diverse in the country.

Come to Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast

by John Brockmeier

Looking to get away from almost all of it? The southern Caribbean region of Costa Rica just might be what you are seeking. This area is known for its beautiful beaches, friendly people and amazing Caribbean food.

One of Costa Rica’s seven provinces, Limón covers the entire Caribbean region, extending from the Nicaragua border to the Panama border. It is located in the country’s Caribbean lowlands. To the west is the mountain range Cordillera de Talamanca.

The Caribbean area is the most culturally diverse in the country. The majority of the people are Afro-Caribbean and indigenous populations. The traditional cultural food of this region is flavorful and uses wonderful spices and coconut. If you have ever been in Jamaica, the food has similarities.

A couple of the best dishes in Costa Rica’s Caribbean are:

• Rondón: This coconut milk soup is the most well-known dish on the Caribbean Coast. Fresh fish, crab, yucca, plantain, yam, vegetables, and Caribbean spices make up this hearty medley.

• Pati: This baked empanada is filled with spicy ground meat. Habanero chiles, also known as chile panameno, provides a spicy kick. You can also buy them from roadside vendors as you drive towards Limón.

The charm of the Caribbean side of Costa Rica is in part due to its missing the major building boom experienced in regions like Guanacaste. It does not have the mega-resorts and large sprawling communities. The remoteness of this province has also helped to keep it such a special place.

Exquisite beaches

The Caribbean has many of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica.

Palm tree-lined white sand beaches stretch for kilometers with very few people. The turquoise blue Caribbean waters team with colorful fish and coral. It is very inviting for snorkeling, sunbathing, surfing and swimming.


Great kiskadee in Tortuguero National Park

The weather on the Caribbean side is opposite from the west coast. This area has its own unique microclimate. The average yearround temperature is 87 Fahrenheit.

The dry season runs from January to May and recurs in September and October. The rainy season is June through August, and then resumes during the wettest months of November and December.

Here are a few places to visit and explore in this region.

• One of Costa Rica's best kept secrets, Puerto Viejo, has only recently begun to gain recognition. For visitors seeking a less touristy alternative to the more crowded Pacific attractions, this fun little Caribbean surf town is fast becoming a popular destination. There is no doubt that this area is not for everyone, but it is perfect for a few. It has stunning beaches as well as many restaurants, bars and shops to enjoy between excursions and beach time.

See photos of Puerto Viejo in our Through the Lens section.

• Tortuguero National Park is a popular destination for eco-tourists looking to spot wildlife and nesting sea turtles. The town lies between the lagoon and Playa Tortuguero. There are big waves, sharks, and dangerous riptides at the beach, which is unsuitable for swimming.

Though Caribbean locations are not easy to access from San José, it is well worth the journey.

Wildlife viewing in Tortuguero National Park


• Cahuita is a small fishing village located along the southern Caribbean coast. It is most popular for the national park, which safeguards coral reefs just off shore, and the rainforest. The peaceful town is fanned out, yet has an assortment of little gift shops and eateries. It is a colorful and wonderful place to visit.

• Between Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo on the southern Caribbean coast is where you'll find Punta Uva. One of Costa Rica's most picturesque beaches, is also one of its least frequented. The spotless white sand beaches are ideal for swimming and are surrounded by beautiful palm trees. At specific seasons of the year, the reef in front of the beach is excellent for diving and snorkeling.

Several of my friends have become fond of Costa Rica’s Caribbean and are making plans to buy a second Costa Rican home here because it is beautiful and peaceful. This might be a place to consider if the crowds are getting to you.

It is worth a road trip to experience Costa Rica's Caribbean side! Tell us about your trip to this region.

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Translatable into 12 languages.

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One of the white sand beaches in the park.

by John Brockmeier

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I have heard people report seeing more wildlife in the Cahuita area than any place in Costa Rica.

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The park has a beautiful protected rainforest and many hiking trails that will afford you the opportunity to see lots of wildlife. You will encounter monkeys, lizards, raccoons, coatis and the occasional snake. But don’t let your fear of snakes stop you from enjoying this experience! The snakes are hidden and they really don’t want to interact. Appreciate their beauty.

Looking for sloths? You will be sure to find them in the high branches of the forest. The sound of the forest reverberates from loud to dead quiet as the animals make their presence known, then hiding when yours is announced. If you are a bird watcher this is a great place to see many of the varieties that live in Costa Rica.


I have heard people report seeing more wildlife in the Cahuita area than any place in Costa Rica. It is suggested that you take a guide to fully experience the nature of Cahuita. The guides, trained by the National Training Institute, know what to look for and point out many things that are easily missed by sightseers on their own. They are well worth the cost of hiring.

Within the park are the white sand beaches and turquoise waters of Puerto Vargas and Playa Blanca. Many consider these to be the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, both lined with palm trees. As a point of caution, please be careful where you choose to relax — the falling coconuts are dangerous! Always look up when picking your spot.

The beaches are great for long walks, but the highlight is snorkeling that’s second to none. You will marvel at all of the diverse marine life, including many species of coral. Please be aware not to touch the coral.

Share with us your own adventures in the Cahuita region!

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One of the many trails in the park.