Black Cultural Festival 2013


Carnavál in Limon starts on October 10 2013 through October 16 2013, and is guaranteed to be a fun event, which celebrates Afro-Caribbean culture in Costa Rica.  The is the largest and longest fiesta on the Caribbean coast and celebrates several important events in the history of Costa Rica.   The most important event is Christopher Columbus’ arrival on the Caribbean coast in 1502, where he was greeted by indigenous people who adorned his landing party with presents and gold.  For this reason, he named this new country Costa Rica, or the Rich Coast.  The week is marked by a series of commemorative parades, live music, calypso music, costumes and dancing in the streets and parks of Limón.carnaval-limon-costa-rica

Traditionally, the first day celebrates the crowing of the 2013 Carnaval Queen.  The second day is reserved for the children’s parade.  The last day of Carnaval is celebrated with the Grande Parade.   All of the parades start at 1:00 PM from Jamaica Town (Barrio Jamaica) and end on Avendia Segunda in Central Limón with a huge fireworks display. You will hear fireworks twice daily;  once at noontime to signify the start of festivities and once at 8 PM to finish the evening’s party.

The culture on the Caribbean side of the Costa Rica is very different from the rest of the country.  You will hear people speaking Spanish, but also hear a dialect of English called “Patua” which is Caribbean language popular in Jamaica.  This community also has roots in the Caribbean slave trade.  Spanish settlers brought Africans slaves here to help build a railroad, which connects Limon to San Jose.  After which, the slaves worked in sugar cane fields and banana plantations.  The railroad was totally destroyed in the Limon earthquake of 1991.  If you go a little farther south, you will also find indigenous indians called the Bri Bri.

Hotels Near Limon


Park Hotel in Limón Central – $102 per night.

This is the only hotel we could possibly recommend in the town of Limon.  If you want to take a chance, you may find something else, but I would expect it to be something very rustic.  This hotel has some decent reviews; however, there were some complaints about its flash based home page reservation system.  If you book through, you will have no issues, at it is powered by Expedia’s back end booking system.



Hotel Cariblue

Starting at $89 per night

Hotel Cariblue is a popular stay, which features 23 separate bungalows, a restaurant and an outdoor pool. hotel-cariblue-puerto-viejo The restaurant is called Soleluna, and features some great Italian dishes.  The bungalows are made of indigenous wood and are linked by paths , which are shaded by trees.  The bungalows are bit rustic, and furnished with the basics.  However, you will want to spend very little time in your room.  It is located about two kilometers south of Puerto Viejo, but you can walk (151-20 minutes) or bike (7 minute) to town.  It is not a beachfront hotel, however, Playa Cocles is short walk away.  You are also close to Cahuita National park where you can see rainforest and sea turtle nesting grounds.

Totem Hotel Beach Resort

Starting at $67 per night

Totem Hotel Beach Resort is a rustic hotel which goes well with the theme of Puerto Viejo.  It is located just meters away from Playa Cocles, south of downtown Puerto Viejo.  There are twenty unique furnished rooms, which been artistically decorated with local wood carvings, bamboo and colors of Caribbean.   The hotel is also close to two national parks:  Cahuita Nature Preserve and Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Gandoca-Manzanillo.

 Le Cameleon Puerto Viejo

Starting at $163 per night

Le Cameleon Puerto Viejo is probably one of the more upscale hotels in this part of Costa Rica.  This is one of the 4 star hotels in Puerto Viejo.  It is located just south of town and within minutes of walking to Playa Cocles.  le-chameleon-puerto-viejoThere are 23 rooms with air conditioning, modern furnishings and LCD TVs.  There is also a pool, a restaurant and bar and wifi internet access throughout the property. The grounds are clean and well maintained.  The hotel is surrounded by nature.  You are certain to see some tropical birds on the property itself.

VIP Hotel Playa Negra

Starting at $131 per night

The VIP Hotel is another hotel with just a touch more refinement than the rustic hotels of the area.  It is located north of town on Playa Negra, the famous black sand beach.  You are also located close to Cahuita National Park and Refugio Nacional Gandoca-Manzanillo, the local animal refuge.  It is a smaller, upscale boutique hotel with 10 rooms that are appointed with luxurious amenities such as private balconies and gardens.  It is also one of the few that has a fitness center alongside it’s outdoor pool.  vip-hotel-playa-negra

4 Comments on “Black Cultural Festival 2013

  1. Hello,
    Thank you for this information. However, your history is a little bit confused. Spanish settlers did not bring the black people to Limon. A British engineer did, Mr. Keith, for the United Fruit Company, late in the 19th century. By that time, slavery had been abolished.
    Also, the dialect people speak in Limon has been recognized as a real language, called Limonese Creole.
    You can make these historical corrections if you want to improve the credibility of this website, because this information is in the public domain. Just look it up.

    • Thanks Connie. I will do some fact checking. Are you talking about Minor Keith who came to Costa Rica for the United Fruit Company? He built the railroad between Limon and San Jose and was eventually granted a lot of land to farm bananas? I presume you mean his labor was of African descent. Is this correct?

  2. I think you are both right in one way or another. The Spanish settlers did bring African slaves who worked in Cartago and in Matina in Limon, but these original Afro-Costa Ricans married into the local population and with the Spanish until there was no longer a distinguishable group of African descent. Minor Keith employed Jamaicans mainly but there were already a number of people of African descent living along this coastline. There are a number of names for the English dialect used in Limon – Ethnologue classifies it as ‘South western Caribbean Creole’. Thanks for drawing attention to the Carnival in Limon. It is great that you are pointing out the positive aspects of this coast to visitors and residents.

  3. Limon needs support from tourism. Sara – please spread the word and invite people to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. So much culture and tradition to learn. Pure natural beauty in the parks. Great beaches. Amen!

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