Experience the Delights of Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast: Food, Music, and Adventure

Have you wanted to visit the Caribbean side and just haven’t gotten around to it? Well, it’s time to hop in the car, or take a flight over, and experience the wonderful culture of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast.

The best time to visit the Caribbean side of Costa Rica is typically during the dry season, which generally runs from March to September. This period offers warm and sunny weather, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as beach visits, snorkeling, and exploring the lush rainforests in the area.

It’s important to note that the Caribbean side of Costa Rica experiences a different weather pattern compared to the Pacific coast. It receives more rainfall throughout the year, even during the dry season. Therefore, you may still encounter occasional showers and humid conditions during your visit.

If you prefer to avoid crowds and are more tolerant of rain, visiting during the shoulder seasons of October to November and February to March can also be a good option. During these months, you may find lower rates for accommodations, and the landscapes are vibrant and lush due to the rainfall.

On the other hand, it’s advisable to avoid the Caribbean side of Costa Rica during the peak rainy season, which typically occurs from October to January. This period experiences heavy rainfall and increased chances of tropical storms or hurricanes, which can limit outdoor activities and access to certain areas.

Remember to check the current weather conditions and forecasts before your trip to ensure the best possible experience or be prepared for it.

The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica offers a wide range of adventures and experiences for travelers. From pristine beaches and lush rainforests to vibrant cultural heritage and exciting wildlife encounters, there is something for everyone. Culture, adventure, music, and wonderful food will make your trip here amazing. 

Here are some highlights of my experiences and adventures here.


Reggae music

has found a vibrant home in Costa Rica’s Caribbean region. The infectious rhythms and soulful melodies of reggae <link to reggae article in this issue> have taken root in this tropical paradise, resonating with the laid-back atmosphere and cultural diversity that defines the area. The coastal towns of Puerto Viejo and Cahuita have become hotspots for reggae enthusiasts, hosting lively music festivals and attracting talented local and international artists. The music scene pulsates with the energy of reggae, captivating both locals and tourists alike. 


The mesmerizing sounds of the Caribbean beats blend harmoniously with the lush surroundings, creating an immersive experience that transports you to a world of rhythm and harmony. Whether you’re lounging on the white sandy beaches or strolling through the colorful streets, the reggae music of Costa Rica’s Caribbean fills the air, inviting you to embrace the carefree spirit and positive vibes that are synonymous with this musical genre.


The ethnic food

of Costa Rica’s Caribbean region is a delightful fusion of flavors and cultural influences. Drawing inspiration from African, indigenous, and Afro-Caribbean traditions, the culinary scene in this vibrant coastal area is a true gastronomic adventure. One cannot resist the tantalizing aromas and mouthwatering dishes that reflect the rich heritage of the region. 

From savory rice and beans cooked in coconut milk to hearty stews bursting with fresh seafood and tropical spices, every bite is a celebration of the diverse ingredients found in this tropical paradise. The use of plantains, yucca, and exotic fruits like guava and mango adds a unique touch to the dishes, creating a symphony of flavors that dance on your taste buds. 

Whether you indulge in a plate of flavorful jerk chicken, sample the traditional rondón, or savor a refreshing ceviche made with local catch, the ethnic food of Costa Rica’s Caribbean is a culinary journey that leaves a lasting impression, enticing you to explore the region’s diverse culinary traditions further. You will return here just for the food. 

Highlights of the Caribbean coast

  • Explore Tortuguero National Park: Known as the “Amazon of Costa Rica,” Tortuguero National Park is a must-visit destination on the Caribbean coast. Take a boat tour through the park’s intricate network of canals and witness the incredible biodiversity, including monkeys, sloths, caimans, and a variety of bird species. If you visit between July and October, you may even witness sea turtles nesting on the beaches.
  • Visit Cahuita National Park: Located near the town of Cahuita, this national park offers beautiful white sandy beaches and a vibrant coral reef. Explore the underwater world while snorkeling or diving, and keep an eye out for colorful fish, sea turtles, and even nurse sharks. On land, hike through the park’s trails to spot howler monkeys, sloths, and various bird species.
  • Experience Afro-Caribbean culture in Puerto Viejo: The town of Puerto Viejo is famous for its Afro-Caribbean culture, laid-back atmosphere, and lively reggae music. Explore the town’s vibrant street art, enjoy delicious Caribbean cuisine, and immerse yourself in the local culture. Don’t miss the opportunity to try traditional dishes like rice and beans, jerk chicken, and coconut bread.
  • Go on a jungle expedition in Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge: Located south of Puerto Viejo, this wildlife refuge is a paradise for nature lovers. Take a guided hike through the dense rainforest and discover the incredible biodiversity, including monkeys, toucans, poison dart frogs, and even jaguars. The refuge also encompasses stunning beaches where you can relax and soak up the sun.
  • Indulge in water activities: The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica offers fantastic opportunities for water sports and activities. Go kayaking or paddle boarding through the calm waters of the coast, or try your hand at surfing in popular spots like Puerto Viejo or Playa Cocles. If you’re seeking more adrenaline, go whitewater rafting on the Pacuare River, known for its thrilling rapids and scenic beauty.
  • Visit the Sloth Sanctuary: Located near Cahuita, the Sloth Sanctuary is a unique place dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of sloths. Take a guided tour to learn about these fascinating creatures and observe them up close. You’ll also have the opportunity to see other wildlife, such as monkeys and toucans, in the sanctuary’s natural surroundings.


These are just a few of the adventures awaiting you on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Whether you’re seeking wildlife encounters, beach relaxation, cultural immersion, or thrilling outdoor activities, this region has it all. Enjoy the natural beauty and warm hospitality that make the Caribbean coast a truly unforgettable destination.

We would love to hear how you experienced Costa Rica’s Caribbean. The food has a beautiful Afro-Caribbean flare using wonderful spices and coconut milk. You will return here just for the food. 

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