These islands are known as continental or fluvial islands; they are mainly surrounded by rivers. Calero is the largest island of this type in Costa Rica and measures 97 sq. miles. Brava is the second largest that measures 27 sq. miles. They are located next to each other in the far northern part of the Caribbean coast, and both belong to the Barra del Colorado National Wildlife Refuge.
The northern Caribbean coastline is large and open, which makes for strong waves and dangerous conditions for swimming. However, the canals running parallel to the beach offer natural landscapes and an abundance of exotic wildlife well worth seeing. The Barra del Colorado Beach is good for hiking, flora and fauna observation, fishing and watching the ocean.
The Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge and the Tortuguero National Park are surrounded by small rivers, canals and beautiful lagoons that are all interlinked. The area is also one of the rainiest parts of the country, which explains its rich biodiversity. This extensive water system is best explored by boat, canoe, or kayak in order to experience the wonderful peacefulness of this lush paradise. The Palma tributary that joins the Penitencia Lagoon in Tortuguero with the Samay Lagoon in Barra del Colorado is extremely beautiful, and gets its name from the many Yolillo Palms found along its banks.
Known for its strong waves and tropical vegetation, Tortuguero Beach is well suited for a day of hiking and taking in the beautiful flora and fauna in Tortuguero National Park. The coast is also home to four species of sea turtles who nest here: the Green Turtle, between April and August; the Leatherback sea turtle, between February and July; the Hawksbill sea turtle, from April to October; and the Loggerhead sea turtle, from April to May.
Tourism is the principal form of income in Tortuguero, along with fishing and subsistence farming. Visitors enjoy a wide variety of daytime and nighttime leisure activities including hiking, going to the beach, sunbathing, water sports, local culture, delicious cuisine, tropical music and much more.
From the peak of Tortuguero Hill there are an incomparable view of the canals, the town of Tortuguero, the coast, and the entire surrounding area. The climb to the top takes around 30 minutes.
This area has a well-earned reputation for its abundance of fish. A great starting point for many national park excursions, there are many fishing shops offering everything needed for a day of sportfishing.
This tropically lush river is world renowned among white water rafting enthusiasts. A level III and IV river, it is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful rivers in the world for rafting. The waterfalls and tributaries of the Pacuare are definitely worth seeing.
This navigable river has an abundance of natural beauty and is protected by the Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge. This river is internationally famous for its shad, sea bass and mackerel fishing.
This launching point leads to a network of canals used to ferry merchandise and passengers to Barras de Matina, Parismina, Barra del Colorado and the many towns located along this 70 mile stretch of river. Visitors enjoy extremely beautiful scenery, particularly at the Jalova lagoon near the entrance of the Tortuguero National Park.
Ideal for surfers who love big waves, Bonita Beach is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and coconut palms. Just three miles from Limon, Bonita Beach is very popular with visitors and locals alike, and hosts beach concerts and surf contests regularly.
Limon is the most important and busiest port in the country, welcoming both merchant and cruise ships on a daily basis.
The historic area of the city has the charming characteristics of an old, provincial town and features a walkway that runs from Vargas Park to the Market.
Awarded the Ecological Blue Flag for its clean and safe beaches, Puerto Vargas is part of Cahuita National Park. The water here is crystal clear and the coral reef keeps the water nice and calm for divers and beach-goers alike.
This beach is located along the roadway to Cahuita and features expansive views of the open sea and a unique grayish-colored beach sand. There is an abundance of coastal vegetation, specifically coconut palm trees. Very popular among locals from Limon and international visitors, the mouth of the Vizcaya River is suitable for swimming as well.
Featuring white and brown sandy beaches, both sites are fairly small, but very suitable for beach lovers. Heading south, “Salsa Brava” at Punta Pirripli is known as one of the best surfing spots in the world and hosts international surfing competitions regularly.
Known for its very dark sand, Puerto Viejo has a winding coastline, is ideal for sunbathing and swimming, and the surf is moderate to strong.
With its dark, sandy beach, Cahuita is perfect for relaxing and watching the ocean. There are also nearby trails waiting to be explored on foot, horse or mountain bike.
Blanca Beach is part of Cahuita National Park and is named after the color of its sand. Extending almost two miles from its entrance to Punta Cahuita, the beach is narrow and the edge of the coast is steep with strong waves. The sand is very white and the coral reef is close and great for diving.
A two and a half mile hike from Manzanillo and Punta Mona is required to get here. The coastline is exceptionally pretty, particularly around Mona Point where visitors are rewarded by the sight of a small island completely covered by vegetation. Mona Beach also features evergreen forests and coral reefs ideal for diving.
The beautiful beach at Manzanillo Beach with its golden-colored sand is ideal for hiking, horseback riding, sunbathing, swimming, or diving. Manzanillo Beach offers diving equipment rentals, dolphin watching tours, diving tours, and more.
Stretching about five miles along the coast, the winding beach of Gandoca Beach is great for hiking and sightseeing. Awarded the Ecological Blue Flag Award, sea turtles nest here and can be observed between April and August.
This beach is very long and wide with moderate to strong waves. Perfect for sunbathing, swimming, hiking, and horseback riding, Cocles Beach features a small coral reef and a beautiful small rocky islet near Punta Pirripli. Surfboard and bicycle rental shops can be found all along the beach.
This is a very long, white sandy beach, bordered by Punta Cocles to the north and Punta Uva to the south. Featuring crystal clear waters, this beach is rich in vegetation and serves as the perfect backdrop to the sun and beach.