There are a variety of cultures in the Caribbean including, Afro-Costa Rican, Bribris and Cabécares (indigenous groups), Asian, coolies, Italians, and Central Americans, among others. Besides traditional dishes, there are a variety of cultural traditions and events that differentiates this area from other parts of the country. One of the more well-known is the mix of diverse elements and influences in music like calypso and reggae. With respect to dance, traditional square dance is one of the most common. Games and legends also hold a special place in the culture. The Creole English that the majority of those from Limón speak, who are of Afro-Caribbean descent, is also very particular to the region. Faith and religious beliefs are much more diverse in this area due to large number of religious backgrounds.
Finally, the vernacular architecture from Limón must be mentioned, which is the result of the lifestyle of the society, its shapes and spaces are designed in response to climate, cultural, technological, and economic conditions. The historic area of Limón came about through banana production, and its commercial and residential buildings are influenced by Victorian Caribbean and Art Nouveau.
The Caribbean region also stands out from the rest of the country because of its traditional dishes. There are many popular and exotic dishes and drinks. Some of them are: Rondón (a mix of vegetables with beef, chicken, fish, or turtle meat), fish (in a stew, pickled, or fried), Sancocho (chicken or pork with tomato, yucca, potato, sweet potato, etc.), Rice and Beans (rice with cooked beans and coconut milk, along with chicken, fish, pork, or beef), patty (a fired bread pocket with meat and spicy peppers), plantintah orfried bread pockets made from plantains, fruit bread (puree, corn meal, fried, etc.), turtle meat (rondón, fin soup), mondongo (tripe with root vegetables and hot spices), johnny cake (coconut bread), ginger cookies, ginger beer, guarapo (sort of corn liquor), agua de sapo or hiel (a very popular drink made with ginger, lime, and panela).
There are always carnivals during the week of October 12th, of every year. This date commemorates Culture Day. It is a great tourist attraction and is highly anticipated by locals and nationals.
Before the carnivals, someone is chosen as carnival queen for the year and around the local neighborhoods, those comparsas (band which plays a conga during the carnival) that are participating in the carnival rehearse. Other events that are organized are: comparsa and carriage parades, mascaradas (giante masked figures), band parades, national and international musical groups, and traditional Chinese dragon dance parade can also be seen. Everyone from the Limón area participates as it is the most highly anticipated event of the year. During this celebration, there are floats, bands, musical groups, and the pageantry that make up this tourist attraction, which is complemented by: games, shops, traditional Caribbean food and drinks, arts and crafts, carnival souvenirs, fireworks, etc.
This beautiful boardwalk is four blocks long along 2nd Avenue in Limón. It begins on the west end at 4th street and runs east until the breakwater, in other words, until the central market in Limón, which was built in 1941. On the corner, facing the market is another beautiful building: Banco Nacional de Costa Rica (the Costa Rica National Bank). A block and a half east of there is another attractive building: Pensión Costa Rica.
In the last block is Vargas Park and on the north side of the park is Limón City Hall and on the other side is a historic building that belonged to the Banana Company, which today is occupied by offices and local businesses. The boulevard ends at the breakwater, where there is an amphitheater from which you can see the Quiribrí Island. This breakwater is also often visited by people from Limón and tourists. It runs along the coast for a few blocks until the Tony Facio Hospital.
This historic building was built in 1922 and is located in Limón (5th Street and 5th Avenue). It is two floors high and has a large hall called Liberty Hall, as well as a restaurant specializing in Caribbean food. It was declared an architectural historical landmark in 1988. Its name comes from a shipping company that was established by Marcus Garvey, who fought for African-American rights. Garvey visited Limón twice, where he set up an association whose headquarters was in this building, and where various cultural events have been held like the coronation of the first carnival queen in 1949 and other civic festivals.
This isolated land was declared a national monument in1985, by virtue of having been the first place that Christopher Columbus visited in 1502 during his fourth visit on the Caribbean coast. Due specifically to the rich culture of the indigenous tribes that he came into contact with, as well as the lush tropical nature is perhaps what led him to name this land “Costa Rica.” The island, therefore, became known as Quiribrí. This is a gorgeous island because of its lush tropical vegetation as well as its rocky cliffs and coral reefs. Around its pier is a lovely beach. It also offers great conditions for surfing and diving. There is also a trail that goes around the island to appreciate its beauty.
On September 25th, the arrival of Christopher Columbus is celebrated with a brilliant military-type parade as well as high school and elementary school bands from the Limón area.
This reserve is located close to Puerto Viejo and is important for the activities that it promotes. The Bribris indigenous tribes that live on this reserve offer interesting services for tourists. Here you can find a green iguana nursery, and handmade arts and crafts, like wooden bow and arrows, handbags, nets, hammocks, baskets, etc. There are hiking trails throughout the reserve to enjoy the areas rich flora and fauna. There are also two towers for bird watching, particularly predatory bird migrations from north to the south during January, February, October, and November.
There are a total of 17 predatory bird species that have been documented, among them are: eagles, sparrow hawks, and falcons. The sight of thousands of birds migrating daily is a spectacular experience.
Finally, within the reserve is a beautiful waterfall that is fed by the Cocles River and can be reached with a local guide.
Held on the third weekend of April, this festival promotes the involvement of all the people, both national and international, in the Escuela del Trópico Húmedo (Tropical Rainforest School). Some of the events held are: cultural presentations from various countries, food festival, and visits to points of interest in the school such as the botanical garden, an orchid garden, and livestock farm.
The idea is to promote newcomers to visit the school.
This is held the first two weeks of April in order to take advantage of the tourism and dry season. Many musical groups from around the country participate. The event is held on Playa Chiquita.
The town of Puerto Viejo, as well as, the town of Cahuita offers many services for visitors. There are places for lodging, travel agencies, and a tourist guide association that offers tours and excursions to other areas in Talamanca. There are also excellent places to enjoy national and international fare. At night, there are traditional Costa Rica Caribbean dances and music to enjoy.
Yorquín or Yorkín is the name of a river that begins in La Amistad International Park, but on the Panamanian side. Going up river you arrive to the Yorquín indigenous community, where visitors can have a unique experience that combines the beauty of the river with the knowledge and assimilation of this exemplary community that grows its own food and trades bananas and coco beans for other goods. Other places that can be reached from this area are: Cerro Buena Vista, hot springs, waterfalls, etc. Traditional arts and crafts are also made in Yorquín which make for good souvenirs to remember the trip by.
This community is a mix of cultures where visitors can experience a variety of national and international cuisine. There are many services offered while visiting the national park, which is located here. There are businesses that provide tours to the coral reefs and other sectors of Talamanca. There are also places to enjoy musical events.
This beautiful place is located less than a mile north of the Estrella River. There is a private reserve of around 250 acres, where it is possible to walk or take a boat tour along the canals to observe its flora and fauna, especially the birds.