Costa Rica is already known as an ecotourism destination for its beautiful jungles and rich wildlife but imagine the very most pristine and undeveloped province within Costa Rica. Picture 120 miles of beautiful tropical beaches, lush rainforest reserves. and small towns full of laid-back Caribbean culture. Limón is both a town (“Puerto Limón,” technically, population only 58,000) and the name of a province. The province is home to some of the most pristine rainforests, wetlands, mountains and beaches in Costa Rica Inland of the beautiful coast you’ll find the kind of tropical rainforest you’ve always dreamed of, replete with exotic animals, 700 different species of bird, and 10% of the entire world’s butterfly population. Limón is a place far from the city life, where you can go about life surrounded by the natural paradise around you. Limón is far from devoid of human culture though — it is the center of Costa Rica’s Afro-Caribbean culture, and many artists and musicians thrive in the area.
Puerto Limón was founded in the 1870s as a center of export of the many tropical fruits grown in the area. While fruit harvesting is still a substantial part of the local economy, it has left much of the surrounding rainforest untouched, and the province remains very un-urbanized, with only about 1 out of every 6 people living in the comparatively small regional capital. The capital itself has streets lined with beautiful colonial architecture and nice open street markets. Every autumn there is a carnival to celebrate Columbus’ arrival here in 1502.
If you chose living abroad for the undeveloped feel of the area, perhaps consider in living in one of the many delightful little towns of the province such as:
Siquirres – a small town of 18,000 located in the interior of the province, surrounded by rainforest. There are also a rich reggae culture here.
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca – Despite being smaller than Puerto Limon, this popular surfing destination has more restaurants and other services than any other town in the province. Many Jamaicans settled here with a lasting cultural influence, so if you want to live in an awesome surf community surrounded by that Creole cultural vibe this is the place for you.
Cost of Living
A furnished studio apartment in the most expensive part of Limon starts at around $500 a month. Groceries will be around $200 a per month, Internet may be around $50 a month. It is estimated that a single person’s monthly costs living in Limón would be around $1500. If one wanted to settle in, working abroad permanently in this idyllic natural environment, one can buy a comfortable house in Limón for as little as $100,000.
An additional cost benefit for expat retirees is that healthcare is extremely cheap in Costa Rica. For a low monthly fee calculated based on income, even an expat if they are a legal resident can join the government-run healthcare system and all further medical check-ups, prescription drugs or even surgeries are taken care of on the plan!
Things To Do
Tortuguero National Park – This national park is a destination for tourists from all over the world. It was formed in 1970 to protect sea turtles species from extinction. Leatherback, hawksbill and loggerhead sea turtles all nest on the park’s beaches. One can also see tapirs, jaguars, monkeys, green macaws, and manatees here in addition to many other exotic animal species.
Cahuita National Park – This coastal national park features a pristine coral reef just offshore and a total of 22,300 hectares of protected marine environment. Snorkeling or scuba diving in the park, one can see manta rays, eels, sea cucumbers, sea urchins and three species of shark. The land area of the park is 1,100 hectares and includes beautiful white sand beaches as well as such exotic local animals as pacas, sloths, northern tamanduas, and mantled howler monkeys. Birds include the green ibis and keel-billed toucan. The national park does not charge admission so if you’re living nearby you can go whenever you want to observe the animals or just enjoy the peaceful undeveloped beaches.
Veragua Rainforest Research & Adventure Park– One of the many beautiful rainforest parks in the area. This one is only 40 minutes from Puerto Limón, and includes a butterfly garden, hummingbird garden, reptile exhibit, and the world’s largest indoor nocturnal frog exhibit!
Jaguar Rescue Center – If you choose to live in or near Puerto Viejo in the south of the province you could volunteer regularly at the local Jaguar Rescue Center. Not only do they rescue jaguars, as the name suggests, but sloths, monkeys, reptiles, and all kinds of local wildlife that might be injured. This is a great opportunity to really get hands on with local wildlife and provide a helping hand to the local community animal and human.
Dia de Culturas – The famous Colombus Day Festival is a big local event celebrating the arrival of Columbus in 1502 at Isla Uvita just off the coast. The island itself is also a popular destination — it is entirely undeveloped and offers unsullied natural environments.
In conclusion, if you’re the kind of digital nomad who dreams of getting away from the hustle of the city or the bland landscaped expanses of suburbs into a place where you see toucans and macaws every day, are surrounded by jungle and beautiful beaches, this is the place for you!