Puerto Limon on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is one of the oldest settlements on the continent. Three hours by road from San José, it was established as early as 1502, when Christopher Columbus landed several miles south during his exploration of the New World. Costa Rica’s most important commercial port, a responsibility it shares with Puntarenas/Caldera on the Pacific coast, Puerto Limon began to assert itself in 1870 as a port city to export coffee, bananas and grains from Costa Rica to various parts of the world.
Limón has unique Afro-Caribbean atmosphere
Puerto Limón is the largest city on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, and capital of Limón province. Most of the people are of Afro-Caribbean ancestry. Limón is a proud center of Afro-Caribbean history and culture, and a colorful annual Afro-Caribbean carnaval. The first African people, most from West Africa, who arrived in Costa Rica came as slaves with the Spanish conquistadors. The second wave came from Jamaica as hired or indentured workers who labored on the late nineteenth-century British-financed railroad project started in 1867 that connected San José to Puerto Limón. They were also joined by Chinese laborers, also hired and/or indentured, and Italians.
When the United Fruit Company made the province of Limón its most important banana-producing area in the first decades of the 20th century, Afro-Caribbean workers provided by far the bulk of the labor force.
Like Puntarenas on the Pacific side, Limón is a commercial port rather than a Costa Rica sportfishing destination. Anglers eager to fish Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast don’t fish Limón; instead, they travel well north of Limón to Tortuguero and Barra del Colorado near the Nicaraguan border, which is one of the world’s top areas for catching Tarpon, Snook and Guapote (Rainbow Bass).
Limón fishing on cruise stopovers
Every year, cruise ships deposit thousands of passengers on one-day stopovers at Puerto Limón, especially between October and May. Many ask about arranging a Costa Rican sport fishing charter when they arrive.
Limón fishing, unfortunately, is not something that we can arrange. Unlike Tortuguero and Barra del Colorado, there are no local captains or lodges with whom we can book Limón sport fishing excursions. For those cruise passengers who want to fish during their one-day stopover in Puerto Limón, we suggest this:
When you dock at Puerto Limón and leave the liner, there are certain to be local Limón fishing captains with small boats or pangas advertising half-day and three-quarter day Costa Rican sport fishing trips, primarily inshore.
Choose the Limón fishing captain carefully
Talk to them and see what they offer. If what they say seems reasonable, choose the Limón fishing captain with the best boat, and the most experience. You will most likely target Snapper, Dorado (Mahi-Mahi), Corvina (Sea Bass), Jack and other inshore species.
Then bargain! Don’t be too shabby, but make sure you aren’t overcharged. Once you and the Limón fishing captain have agreed on a price, enjoy!
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