Limon - Costa Rica

Limon is the biggest town on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and is the capital of the province of Limon. Columbus anchored here on his last trip to the Americas.

In the past a big lemon tree grew where the city hall is now located. That is the origin of the towns name, limon is the Spanish word for lemon. Puerto Limon and neighboring Puerto Moin are the most important harbors in Costa Rica. Containers are stored in storage yards on the outskirts of Limon. Manly coffee, pineapples and bananas are exported from here.

Workers from Africa, China and the Caribbean islands where contracted for the construction of the now defunct railroad. The mix of people is accordingly colorful in Limon.

Visitors can stroll through town on Avenida 2, bars, restaurants and hotels can be found here. The local dishes are different from the meals offered in the rest of Costa Rica. A local speciality is a fruitcake called "Ban Bon" or "Pan de Negro".

Parque Vargas is located at the end of Avenida 2. Here a bronze statue of Christopher Columbus and his son look seaward. The city hall west of the statue is built in the tropical architecture used in the Caribbean, open arcades and balconies. Since the big earthquake in 1991 the sea doesn't pound against the board walk anymore. The reef was lifted several meters and is now exposed.

Celebrating carnival a whole week...

From here one can see the only island on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Isla Uvita. Like Puntarenas, Limon offers harbor for many cruise ships. Their passengers try to discover Costa Rica in one day. Most of them get on tour buses and travel to the beaches in the south or the canals of Tortuguero in the north. Few of them spend there money in the town of Limon.

Once a year, on the 12th of October, everything is different in this port town. That is when the carnival starts and the people celebrate the Columbus Day Carnival for one week. Everyone comes to drink, dance and celebrate to the sounds of Calypso, Reggae and Salsa. Dancers on the streets wear colorful costumes. A highlight is the election of the beauty queen of the carnival of Limon. Anyone who wants to participate in the carnival should book a hotel room in advance, everything is booked during that time.

Limon on the map

Limon on the map

Facts about Limon, Costa Rica

  • Limon is the capital of the province of Limon.
  • The only island on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is located in front of the town of Limon.
  • The carnival of Limon starts on the 12th of October.

Driving times and distances

  • Distance from San Jose to Limon: 152.2 kilometers respectively 94.6 miles.
  • Travel time from San Jose to Limon: 3.16 hours.
  • Distance from Liberia to Limon: 363.5 kilometers respectively 225.9 miles.
  • Travel time from Liberia to Limon: 7.21 hours.