Caribbean Lowlands

At times the Caribbean Lowlands of Costa Rica are like a different country. The cultural links with the
Ticos
of the Central Highlands and the Pacific are as minimal as the single road that now links the two regions. The area was closed to the rest of the country until the opening of the railroads in the 1890s and only creeping roads, electrification and telecommunication lines have slowly opened up the region to visitors.

Bananas (still the main source of employment round here) replace coffee as the temperature rises and the climate gets wetter. The Latino lifestyle gives way to Caribbean culture, the marimba is replaced by reggae, and the casaba is pushed out by the coconut as the rivers run steadily to the coast. Friendly informality is preferred over quiet courtesies - you will find the Caribbean
Tico
distinctly laid back compared with his western, highland compatriot.

After the chaotic charms of Puerto Limón, the northern lowlands of Tortuguero are a nature lover's paradise, remote and cut off, even from Limón. (Access is by the canal that was originally built for the transportation and export of bananas.) South of the city, beautiful beaches line the coast, with the settlements of Cahuita and Puerto Viejo drawing visitors into the relaxed atmosphere.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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