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Costa Rica: Caribbean coast

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Eastwards from San José and the coffee-growing highlands sprawl the banana plantations of the sultry coastal plains fronting the Caribbean Sea. Long isolated from the rest of the Latin-influenced country, this region has a predominately English-speaking, Afro-Caribbean culture: a very informal, relaxed atmosphere pervades. Here there are exquisite volcanic beaches at Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. 

Accessible only by boat is the partly submerged Tortuguero National Park, with its network of canals, lagoons and swamps defined by a profusion of tangled tropical vegetation. It’s alive with several species of monkey, iguanas, sloths, river otters, poison dart frogs and hundreds of species of birds.

Our holidays to Caribbean coast

View all holidays
Hummingbird

Tanager: Flora and fauna of Costa Rica

Group tour

12 days from £2,698pp

Monkey

Signature Costa Rica: Wildlife and volcanoes

Private journey

8 days from £1,895pp

Spot Wildlife in Coastal Rainforest

Signature Costa Rica and Panama: The Caribbean route

Private journey

14 days from £2,705pp

Things to do in Caribbean coast

White water rafting

Go white-water rafting on the Sarapiqui river

See Giant Leatherback Turtles

See giant leatherback turtles nesting at Tortuguero


Tortuguero National Park

Visit the national parks and private reserves at Caribbean coast

River kayaking

Tortuguero kayaking and wildlife-spotting trip

Our insider tips for Caribbean coast

Sarah

Sarah Bradley

Spotting wildlife on a guided boat trip through the labyrinth of mangrove channels at Tortuguero. It’s one of the most satisfying and rewarding places to view birds, reptiles and insects on the continent.
Rafe Stone

Rafe Stone

Viewing the green turtles that visit Tortuguero, Jul-Oct, laying and burying their eggs on a sandy beach. Once hatched, the babies make a mad dash for the sea: the few lucky ones will survive and return to breed. Giant leatherbacks visit Mar-Jul.
Chris Parrott

Chris Parrott

Beach time at Cahuita or Puerto Viejo.  Cahuita is a pleasant little resort in a national park with coastal rainforest, a coral reef and white and black sand beaches; Puerto Viejo is a former river port with a jungle feel, and is popular among surfers.

What our experts say

Much of contemporary Costa Rica is homogeneously white Latin, but on the Caribbean coast you'll be in for a surprise. Most of the coastline is uninhabited lowland mangrove, but in the far south around Puerto Viejo there is a cluster of relatively isolated settlements with very much of an Afro-Caribbean vibe. People speak English here, and the music and food also have a very Caribbean flavour. It's a magnet for surfers, and anyone who wants to party and/or laze around: the attractive beaches and laissez-faire ambiance has attracted settlers from the Us and Europe. There are black and golden volcanic beaches: Playa Cocles is one of the nicest, with a number of good hotels.   

Jamie

Jamie Swan

Travel Consultants

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Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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