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Costa Rica

Costa Rica's Caribbean side

Abundant wildlife at Tortuguero while the southern beaches have a soft African-Caribbean vibe.

East from San José, the road climbs into the mountains, passing volcanoes left and right, and then descends through lush rainforest on the Caribbean slopes of the Cordillera Central. These days it's a short drive to the coast (just a couple of hours), but the coast was practically inaccessible from San José until the arrival of the railway at Puerto Limón in 1890.

This heralded Costa Rica's banana boom, with plantations replacing swathes of forest behind the long sweeps of Costa Rica's wild Caribbean shores. Jamaican workers brought a West Indian flavour and today Puerto Limón and beach communities in the south have an easy-going Afro-Caribbean feel.

Puerto Limón

Puerto Limón is a pleasant town, with a commercial purpose as Costa Rica's only significant sea port to the Caribbean. Bananas and much else leaves from here, and cruise ships call in on their circuits of the western Caribbean. The town's appearance has had some attention in recent years. You might plan to stop and explore it for a few hours.

Puerto Viejo

There is another Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica (Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, in the Northern Lowlands) but this Puerto Viejo is way down south on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast. The small town of Puerto Viejo gives its name to the area which includes two excellent national parks: Cahuita National Park and the Gandoca-Manzanilla Wildlife Refuge.

Cahuita National Park protects a rainforested promontory beyond the dusty fishing village of Cahuita.

Gandoca-Manzanilla Wildlife Refuge is a real treasure, extending more or less from Puerto Viejo to the Panamanian border. It combines lush lowland rainforest with wetlands and mangrove, partly behind a beautiful palm-fringed beach where turtles nest. The park also safeguards the KeKoLdi Indigenous Reserve which is for Bribri and Cabecar communities. They are experimenting with ecotourism and are delighted to invite guests to visit them and experience their way of life for a short while.

There are some small hotels in this area, and one jungle lodge located within the boundaries of Gandoca-Manzanilla. It offers a wonderful opportunity to experience the jungle from a relatively very comfortable setting, with access to a lovely beach.

Start planning your trip to Costa Rica

Let us know what kind of trip to Costa Rica you are most interested in, and when you are thinking of travelling. Our travel experts know Costa Rica exceptionally well, and will be delighted to offer some initial ideas and advice, and to develop a more detailed design for your holiday as your ideas evolve. You can order a copy of our special 'Costa Rica, Panama & Nicaragua' brochure here.

Call us on 020 7281 7788 ( Mon-Fri 9:15-5:45). Or we'd be happy to call you back.

Costa Rica
Our brochure for Costa Rica is packed with ideas and information to help you plan your trip.
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Designs that visit Costa Rica's Caribbean side

'Along the Caribbean'

Costa Rica - Touring and wildlife

A wonderful tour visiting the highlights of the Caribbean coast- the flooded forest of Tortuguero, Cahuita National Park, jungle backed beaches and the Bocas del Toro archipelago in Panama.

17 nights from £2560

'Life in Costa Rica'

Costa Rica - Touring and wildlife

Experience local life and culture. Get to know the real San Jose, visit indigenous communities, explore the rainforest and delve into the heart of rural life in 'Chayote Country'.

14 nights from £2045

'Coast to Coast'

Costa Rica - Touring and wildlife

One of the best all-round experiences of Costa Rica, visiting the Caribbean and the Pacific, Arenal volcano, Tortuguero's wildlife, deep rain forest, and Monteverde.

15 nights from £1450

Here’s what our clients say about their experiences of Costa Rica with Geodyssey.

We would strongly recommend your company and travel with you again. Well run tour and had a great holiday. Thank you.