The Caribbean coast is Costa Rica’s least explored area, yet it’s well worth the trip up here. Classically beautiful golden beaches are fringed by prehistoric rainforest, and much of the region is enveloped by jungle and marshland. A quarter of the land is protected in national parks, with one of the world’s last living coral reefs in Cahuita National Park, and the snorkelling and diving are superb. The climate is hot and humid, with high levels of rainfall, but when the sun shines there’s a lot to do, including exhilarating surfing and fishing.
Although the coast’s main city is Limón, most people head to laid-back, Calypso-cool Puerto Viejo. This party town is home to 3 different cultures (the English-speaking black farmers, the indigenous people of Bribri and Caber who live in the foothills, and the Spanish-speaking immigrants) and there's a rich mix of cultural traditions and heritage. Sit and listen to live reggae, eat spicy seafood, wander around the colourful shops, or hang out in the multitude of funky bars.