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.
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 tipsocstarica.com, you will have no issues, at it is powered by Expedia’s back end booking system.
Starting at $89 per night
Hotel Cariblue is a popular stay, which features 23 separate bungalows, a restaurant and an outdoor pool. 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.
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.
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. There 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.
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.