Tropical beauty surrounds Costa Rica

Limon is the primary tourist centre in Costa Rica featuring a unique combination of beaches, natural resources and afro-American culture in Cahuíta, Puerto Viejo and Gandoca Manzanillo.

  • Oct. 11, 2011 8:00 p.m.
Puerto Viejo is a favourite among travellers. Surrounded by clear water and tropical rain forest

Puerto Viejo is a favourite among travellers. Surrounded by clear water and tropical rain forest

Limon is the primary tourist centre in Costa Rica featuring a unique combination of beaches, natural resources and afro-American culture in Cahuíta, Puerto Viejo and Gandoca Manzanillo.

Clear water, coconut palms, great surf and a laid-back Caribbean atmosphere make Puerto Viejo a favourite among travellers.

Located on the Caribbean coast, about an hour south of Limon, Puerto Viejo is the centre of activity between the smaller villages of Cahuita and Manzanillo. The relaxed, seaside town is framed by jungle, turquoise seas, banana plantations and scenic rivers.

Puerto Viejo has grown from a small fishing village to a major tourist destination and also is known for being a party town.

Avid surfers, drawn to the famous Salsa Brava waves, have made it a hotspot on the surfing circuit.

Tropical forest surrounds the village and palm trees line the beach, adding to Puerto Viejo’s natural beauty. Travellers can glimpse at spectacular wildlife in Cahuita National Park or the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, which border the town to its north and south, respectively.

Cahuita National Park was created to protect Costa Rica’s biggest coral reef. The main attraction of the park is its underwater world, making for fantastic snorkeling and underwater diving opportunities. The park’s white sand, palm-tree lined beaches and crystal clear blue waters are ideal for swimming. Expect to see blue parrot fish, green turtles, barracudas, manta rays, sea urchins and three species of sharks.

Some of the most beautiful beaches are found near Puerto Viejo, such as Play Chiquita, Play Negra and Play Uva. Along with that comes a variety of water activities including kayaking, parasailing, surfing, boogie boarding, snorkeling and more.

Those looking for a little adventure can try the zip-line canopy tour that offer a monkey’s-eye view of the rain forest canopy.

Beginner rafters can find ideal runs on the picturesque Sarapiqui and Saavegre Rivers, located near Puerto Viejo towards the Caribbean coast and along the Pacific coast. Regardless of skill level, these rivers promise a memorable ride with eye-opening views of jungles, forests and the thousands of species that inhabit them.

Like many other things in Costa Rica, when it comes to fishing, there is tremendous variety. The country offers one of the broadest selections of fish in the world, in addition to a multitude of locations on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts for anglers to practice the sport.

Among the biggest draws to Costa Rica are billfish, marlin and sailfish. Charters and private trips offer an appropriate excursion for all.

Puerto Viejo’s climate is unpredictable. Typically, the best times to visit are during February, March, April or August, September and October.

Costa Rica forecasts strong tourism numbers for the upcoming high season, kicking off in November.

This year, the country has already broken records with nearly 1.2 million tourists visiting Costa Rica during the first six months of 2011.