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Countless natural highlights
Despite its relatively small size, Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. Tropical rainforests and unspoiled reefs are home to a vast array of birds, mammals, marine life and flora, making ecotourism the buzz word. Less than 30 miles from Limón is Cahuita National Park, where you can witness sloths, colourful birds and poison dart frogs in their natural habitat. Inland, Corcovado National Park is renowned for its varied wildlife, including indigenous monkeys, jaguar and tapirs; reptiles, marsupials and orchids can be spotted from the suspended bridge of Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. Enjoy a high-altitude hike along mountain trails, trek to cascading waterfalls on horseback, white-water raft along powerful rivers or marvel at the steaming crater of Volcán Poás.
Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Costa Rica has an abundance of coastline. On its eastern shore, an hour south of Puerto Limón, you’ll discover the rustic sands of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Playa Cocles and Playa Punta Uva. Edged with verdant vegetation and a scattering of driftwood, they make a tranquil spot for sun-basking or snorkelling. Head north of the port for sport fishing and for Tortuguero National Park, where giant sea turtles lay their eggs. For swimming, diving and left wave surfing, visit the grass and forest-fringed beaches of the Guanacaste and mid-Pacific regions or catch a boat to one of its incredible remote islands.
Costa Rica’s entire east coast falls within the Limón Province, a sparsely populated area centred on slightly ramshackle Puerto Limon. Explore the town on foot to get a feel for its creole-rich history and learn how the nineteenth century San José–Limón railroad brought the residents’ Afro-Caribbean ancestors to Costa Rica. To discover more about the region’s important coffee and banana trade, tour a working plantation and sample its gourmet produce. If there’s time to take a trip to the country’s capital, visit San José to explore the National Theatre, the National Museum - set within the colourful Bellavista Fortress - plus, the prized Gold and Jade museums.