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Limón has little for tourists to do or see. The closest true attraction, Veragua Rainforest Park, is about a 40-minute drive.

If you end up spending any time in Limón, be sure to take a seat in Parque Vargas along the seawall and watch the city’s citizens go about their business. Occupying 1 city block on the waterfront, this is a lush and quiet oasis in the heart of downtown. You may even spot some sloths living in the trees here. If you want to shop for souvenirs, head to the cruise ship terminal whenever a ship is in port, and you’ll find more than your fair share of vendors. Finally, if you’re interested in architecture, take a walk around town. When banana shipments built this port, local merchants erected elaborately decorated buildings, several of which have survived the city’s many earthquakes, humid weather, and salty sea air. There’s a certain charm in the town’s fallen grace, drooping balconies, rotting woodwork, and chipped paint. One of the city’s most famous buildings is known locally as the Black Star Line ((tel) 2798-1948), located on Avenida 5 and Calle 6. Also called Liberty Hall, this building was built in 1922, as the headquarters for Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association. Restored several years ago, it serves today as the city’s social and cultural meeting place. Check here for traveling art exhibits, and the occasional live music, dance, or theater performance.

Just be careful: Limón is a rough and impoverished port town. Street crime and violence are problems. Tourists should stick to the very well-worn city center, and spots mentioned here. In addition, I don’t recommend walking anywhere at night. Even in the daytime, it’s probably best to travel in small groups.

A One-Stop Shop Rainforest Tourism Spot

 

Located outside of Limón in a patch of thick rainforest south of the banana town of Liverpool, Veragua Rainforest Park ★ ((tel) 2296-5056; www.veraguarainforest.com) is primarily a destination for cruise ship excursions. However, this extensive complex is a worthy stop for anyone visiting the area. Attractions include a serpentarium, butterfly garden and breeding exhibit, hummingbird garden, extensive insect exhibit, free-range rainforest frog room, zip-line canopy tour, and a short tram ride that takes you to their rainforest trail system. Along the trails, you’ll find a beautiful little waterfall. A half-day tour runs $66 per adult and $45 per child, and a full-day tour runs $99 per adult and $75 per child; these tour prices don’t include transportation or lunch. The park is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8am to 3pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.