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Costa Rica Puerto Limón

Puerto Limón, commonly know as Limón, has grown to become Costa Rica's premier port town located on the Caribbean coast south east of San Jose. The town was built where Columbus first anchored in 1502. Over the past century, the government developed railroad tracks that cart bananas and coffee products over the mountains to this port town. Thus, adding to the town's growth.

Limón, with a population of approximatelyl 60,000 (including surrounding towns), includes a thriving Afro-Caribbean community which traces its roots to Jamaican laborers who, in the 19th century, worked on the railroad that connected San José to Limón. The population has roots to Nicaraguan, Panamanian and Columbian turtle hunters who settled along the coast.

The Costa Rican goverment did not recognize Afro-Caribbeans as citizens until 1948 and until then restricted their movement outisde Limón province. This ban firmly established the Afro-Caribbean population in this region. Spanish and Mekatelyu, a creole of English, is spoken here.

Limón is the host of one of Costa Rica's most famous carnivals called Dia de las Culturas. The festival's purpose is to celebrate Costa Rica's diverse culture but is a wild crazy Mardi Gras type party. Every October 100,000 people including tourist, Ticos, backpackers, and hippies make their way to Limón to enjoy the celebration.

Every year during the week of October 12, the date Columbus first anchored off Limón's coast in 1502 during his fourth voyage, Carnaval—the fall festival—is celebrated. Expect parades, food, music, dancing and on the last night in Parque Vargas, a well-known Latin or Caribbean music act.

Puerto Limón, Costa Rica
photo courtesy of Jamen Somasu

Puerto Limón contains two port terminals, Limón and Moín, which permit the shipment of Costa Rican exports (primarily banana) as well as the anchoring of cruise ships. A small island, Uvita Island, is just offshore.

above photo courtesy of
Roger Wollstadt