The much-maligned port of Limon is historically and culturally rich, although it not top of any tourist itinerary. Apart from cruise passengers, who wander around the city with their white sneakers and cameras at the ready, Limon remains a commercial center.
However, for those with the time and inclination, Limon has much to offer the curious traveller. Black history makes much of Marcus Garvey and his Negro Improvement movement which was followed with fervour by the coast’s black inhabitants, restless with the injustices they faced.
The Black Star Line building originally built in 1922, reminds the city of its political past and has recently been given a facelift to restore it to its former glory. Other old buildings in the city have had similar treatment. The Post Office with its high ceilings and colonial pillars is of interest – look above the doorways to see the paintings showing the city’s roots.
This building and others of the period were built in an architectural style known as Victorian Caribbean and these elegant, if sometimes rather dilapidated buildings can be seen across the city center, alongside the traditional wooden houses of the time with grandmothers sitting in rockers on their little wooden balconies.
The Parque Vargas at the end of the pedestrian shopping area and overlooking the ocean, is worth a visit too. This was once the fashionable place to stroll in Sunday dress while the band played – women in pantyhose, hats and white gloves, despite the tropical heat. Nowadays, it is the perfect place to find a shaded bench in the sea breeze and spot the sloths who inhabit the trees in the park.
The modern cathedral may not be to everyone's taste, although the old bell tower was incorporated into the new building. It's sriking design makes it a useful landmark for navigating the city.
Carnival used to be the annual highlight in Limon, but in recent years, various reasons have led to its cancellation. The week’s festivities in October culminate in a colourful and noisy parade with dancers, bands, acrobats and clowns entertaining large street crowds.
Eating is a real pleasure in Limon! Whether the filling fried cakes and sausage for breakfast at the Black Star Line’s restaurant, or a spicy meat-filled patty from Soda Patty, or Pan Bon and Pan de Negro from a street vendor, the food is more flavorsome than in the rest of the country.
- Sloth spotting in Parque Vargas
- Watch the Afro-Caribbean roots parades on August 31st
- Cutthroat razor shave in a traditional barber shop
- Dance at Carnival in October
- Eat spicy Rondon from a street vendor
Drive north on Route 36 for 45 minutes to an hour to reach Limon.
Journey time between Limon and Cahuita is about an hour.
Public buses run to and from Limon every 30 minutes from the MEPE bus terminal to and from Cahuita.
A private taxi is a more expensive, but more comfortable option for visiting Limon.