7 Best Things To Do In Puerto Limon Cruise Port + Port Info

Puerto Limon - Playa Bonita

While this bustling port city is not the main attraction for cruise ships, it is an excellent starting point for exploring Costa Rica from the Caribbean side. Cruise ships dock in Puerto Limon’s lively port, located within a 5-minute walk from Puerto Limon (also known as Limon) downtown area.

Translated into Spanish, Costa Rica means “the rich coast” and the country ranks among the greenest in the world. You can explore Costa Rica’s lush rainforests, breathtaking beaches, and wildlife from Puerto Limon cruise port.

Costa Rica has a quarter of its territory protected as national parks, with thousands of plant species, bird varieties, and nearly 10% of the world’s butterfly species.

In this Puerto Limon cruise port guide, I share practical information on Puerto Limon cruise port, along with the 7 best things to do in Puerto Limon port.

Visit also our cruise port guides to Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Cozumel, Roatan, Aruba, Curacao 

Puerto Limon Cruise Port

Puerto Limon cruise terminal is located only 250 m from the city center, making it an ideal location for exploring the downtown area on foot. A map displayed at the port exit can help you navigate with ease.

While Puerto Limon primarily serves as a commercial port for the export of bananas and coffee, it also offers a warm welcome to cruise ship passengers with its convenient facilities and welcoming atmosphere. An air-conditioned seating area, free wi-fi, tour vendors, and a taxi stand are available within the terminal.

At the exit of the terminal area, a lovely craft and souvenir market awaits you with a wide range of authentic handicrafts, souvenirs, and local specialties. You can often negotiate the prices and US dollars are widely accepted.

A beach is not available within walking distance from the port, but you can reach Playa Bonita, one of the nearest and most beautiful beaches – in less than a 15-minute drive.

You will see representatives of the Taxi Union stationed at a desk within the terminal, with taxi prices displayed. The official taxis are red-colored and offer both tours and transportation-only options. You can negotiate the fare before getting into any vehicle to ensure a fair price for your journey.

Taxi prices to popular locations: Playa Bonita $10 pp, Tortuguero Canal – Banana Plantation and City Tour $55 pp, Cahuita National Park Beach $40 pp, Aerial Tram Rain Forest $40 pp, Veragua Rain Forest $40. Prices are subject to change.

7 Best Things To Do In Puerto Limon Cruise Port

Despite being damaged by earthquakes, Puerto Limon retains its beauty with beautiful architecture and vibrant open-air markets. If you travel outside of town to see Costa Rica’s natural treasures, you must protect yourself from mosquito bites. Wear lightweight pants and long-sleeved shirts, as well as insect repellent.

1. Puerto Limon Sightseeing

Puerto Limon downtown is located just a short walking distance from the port of Puerto Limon. Here’s the list of the main attractions and things to do:

1.1. Balvanero Vargas Park

To get to Parque Vargas from the cruise dock, simply exit the port and head towards the waterfront. After a 5-minute walk, you’ll come across the green oasis filled with lush greenery, shady trees, and well-maintained pathways.

The park boasts a scenic oceanfront promenade, perfect for taking leisurely walks, enjoying ocean views, and watching ships and boats in the harbor. The two prominent landmarks in the park include a charming gazebo and a Monument to Christopher Columbus, a statue commemorating the explorer’s arrival in the Americas.

Parque Vargas often hosts cultural events, performances, and festivals, especially during holidays and special occasions. There’s a children’s playground area which makes it perfect for families with kids.

This place is also a popular spot for various activities such as picnics, outdoor exercise, people-watching, and photography. Visitors can relax on benches, read a book, or simply soak in the natural beauty and peaceful atmosphere.

Puerto Limon - Parque Vargas
Parque Vargas. Source: Canva Pro

1.2. Mercado Municipal

A stone’s throw from Parque Vargas, you can visit the local market to experience the vibrant colors, sounds, and flavors of Costa Rican culture. In this Municipal Market, you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, seafood, clothes, souvenirs and handmade crafts.

1.3. Sacred Heart Cathedral

The iconic cathedral is a striking architectural landmark and an important religious center in the region. Built in a Neo-Gothic architectural style in the early 20s, the cathedral features ornate stained glass windows and beautiful artwork. It is located around a 15-minute walk from Puerto Limon cruise terminal.

1.4. Calle 8

Calle 8 is one of the main streets in Puerto Limon, known for vibrant nightlife, with bars, restaurants, and live music venues where you can experience the local Caribbean rhythms.

1.5. Ethnohistory Museum of the City of Limón

Learn about the region’s indigenous heritage at this Regional Museum which offers a complete overview of Costa Rica’s cultural diversity, with artifacts reflecting the customs and lifestyle of the Afro-Limonense people and instructive displays offering glimpses into Puerto Limón’s past.

2. Tortuguero Canal

Tortuguero National Park is one of the most famous national parks in Costa Rica and an ecological treasure known for its rich biodiversity and stunning natural beauty.

Tortuguero is renowned as a nesting site for sea turtles (Tortuguero translates into “turtle catcher”), including the endangered Green Sea Turtle. From March to October, you can witness green, hawksbill, leatherback, and loggerhead turtles coming ashore and laying their eggs on the beaches before returning to the ocean.

Besides the turtles, the extensive network of freshwater creeks and lagoons is also home to over 50 species of freshwater fish, making fishing one of the favorite activities here. 

Tortuguero National Park cannot be accessed by road, so the best way to visit it is on a guided boat tour which allows you to explore the park’s canals and encounter a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, reptiles, amphibians, and exotic birds.

Explore Tortuguero Canals tours and activities

Tortuguero National Park is one of the popular excursions from Puerto Limon cruise port.
Tortuguero National Park. Source: Canva Pro

3. Cahuita National Park

If you want to experience the best of Costa Rica’s natural beauty and cultural heritage, the Cahuita National Park is a must! Nestled less than 1-hour drive from Puerto Limon cruise port, this national park is renowned for its pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and lush tropical rainforests.

Join a guided tour to explore the rainforest trails offering great opportunities for hiking and wildlife spotting. Be on the lookout for monkeys, sloths, toucans, and a variety of colorful birds and butterflies! And don’t worry if you’re a newbie, traveling with family, or elderly – this hike is more like a nature walk suitable for everyone!

After enjoying the beauty of Cahuita National Park, you can stop in Cahuita village for some local cuisine and a refreshing drink. Here, you can learn about the indigenous cultures of the region and experience Afro-Caribbean culture, cuisine, music, and art.

Many tours include a visit to the banana plantation to learn more about the fruit and its journey from harvesting to exportation. Did you know Costa Rica is the world’s second-largest banana producer? You’ll hear fascinating facts and insights about this important economic activity while experiencing a unique cultural encounter.

Last but not least, if you’re more into underwater activities, you’ll be thrilled to learn that the underwater world of Cahuita is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its extensive coral reefs ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Explore Cahuita National Park tours and activities

4. Veragua Rainforest Park

Experience the beauty of Costa Rica’s lush rainforest from a unique perspective with an aerial tram ride, also known as a gondola, at Veragua Rainforest Park. As you fly over the trees, keep an eye out for monkeys, sloths lazing in the branches, and tropical birds.

You will discover the fascinating world of frogs and reptiles in world-class habitats, while the Butterfly Garden offers the opportunity to observe and learn about Costa Rica’s native butterfly species, including the famous blue morpho!

Visitors can explore the rainforest trails and encounter diverse wildlife, and if you’re into more adrenaline activities, you can go for a canopy tram and zip line tour which is a unique attraction in the park.

The Puma Waterfall ranks among the most scenic waterfalls in the park, so make sure to take some memorable photos and take a refreshing dip in its crystal-clear waters.

Check out Veragua Rainforest Park tours and activities

Puerto Limon - Veragua Rainforest Park
Veragua Rainforest Park. Source: Pixabay.com

5. Playa Bonita

Located only a 10-15 minute drive from the cruise port, Playa Bonita is Limon’s hidden gem and the perfect spot for a beach day getaway. Its name “Playa Bonita” means “the beautiful beach” and perfectly reflects the scenic beauty of this small piece of paradise.

If you opt for a beach day, come to Playa Bonita and enjoy its golden sands, crystal-clear waters, and swaying palm trees.

A variety of dining options are available right on the beach, from fresh seafood to authentic Caribbean cuisine, and let’s not forget the calypso music playing in the background – it really adds to the laid-back vibe of the beach! Umbrellas and chairs are available for rent, and there are plenty of vendors along the beach offering snacks and drinks.

Just keep in mind that Playa Bonita can get pretty crowded, especially on weekends and when cruise ships are in port. In addition, the water currents can be pretty strong, so keep an eye on if you’re coming with kids!

Explore Playa Bonita tours and activities

Puerto Limon - Playa Bonita
Playa Bonita. Source: Canva Pro

6. San José

San José, the capital and largest city of Costa Rica, can be reached from Puerto Limon in about a 2.5 to 3-hour drive. Known for its rich historic and cultural heritage, vibrant markets and diverse culinary scene, San José is best visited on a full-day guided tour due to its distance from the port.

The capital city is renowned for its numerous landmarks, like the iconic National Theater, a majestic 19th-century opera house known for its lavish interiors and cultural performances, and the Gold Museum, which displays an impressive collection of pre-Columbian gold artifacts.

Nature enthusiasts should visit La Sabana Metropolitan Park and enjoy its sprawling green spaces, walking trails, and recreational activities, while foodies cannot miss the Barrio Escalante neighborhood, known for its delightful culinary experiences.

Explore San José tours from Puerto Limon

7. Taste the Local Cuisine

Tasting the local cuisine is a must if you’re visiting this beautiful port of call! Start by exploring markets and restaurants, where you’ll have the chance to sample some of the most iconic dishes in Costa Rica.

First, try gallo pinto – a delicious combination of rice and beans that is a Costa Rican classic. Next, explore the refreshing world of ceviche, a mouthwatering seafood dish that’s bursting with flavor, made with fresh fish marinated in citrus juices and spices.

No culinary tour of Costa Rica would be complete without sampling some delicious plantains, fried, mashed, or baked – your choice!

And let’s not forget about the fresh tropical fruits and aromatic coffee that the region is known for. From bananas and sweet pineapples to rich, flavorful coffee beans, you’ll have the chance to savor the best that Costa Rica has to offer.

You may also like our cruise port guides to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Western Europe, Baltic & Scandinavia, USA & Canada, Australia & New Zealand

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