Coordinates: 10°00′08″N 83°05′03″W / 10.0022155°N 83.0840367°W / 10.0022155; -83.0840367
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

District and city
Images, from top down, left to right: Panoramic view of Limón, Vargas Park, Playa Bonita, Historic Building of the Baptist Reverend Heath, Onlook of 2nd Avenue, the MS Zuiderdam docked at Limón's Port terminal.
Coat of arms of Limón
  • Paz y Trabajo
  • (Peace and Work)
Puerto Limón and surrounding area
Limón is located in Costa Rica
Location of Puerto Limón within Costa Rica
Coordinates: 10°00′08″N 83°05′03″W / 10.0022155°N 83.0840367°W / 10.0022155; -83.0840367
Country Costa Rica
 • SyndicRoger David Navarro Sevilla
 • Total59.51 km2 (22.98 sq mi)
3 m (9.8 ft)
 • Total98,500
 • Density1,700/km2 (4,300/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−06:00
Postal code

Limón (Spanish pronunciation: [liˈmon]), commonly known as Puerto Limón (Port Lemon in English), is a district, the capital city and main hub of Limón Province, as well as of the Limón canton in Costa Rica. It is the seventh largest city in Costa Rica, with a population of over 94,000, and is home to the Afro-Costa Rican community. Part of the community traces its roots to Italian, Jamaican and Chinese laborers who worked on a late nineteenth-century railroad project that connected San José to Puerto Limón. Until 1948, the Costa Rican government did not recognize Afro-Caribbean people as citizens and restricted their movement outside Limón province. As a result of this travel ban, this Afro-Caribbean population became firmly established in the region, which influenced decisions not to move even after it was legally permitted. Nowadays, there is a significant outflow of Limón natives who move to the country's Central Valley in search of better employment and education. The Afro-Caribbean community speaks Spanish and Limonese Creole, a creole of English.

Puerto Limón contains three port terminals, Moín Container Terminal, Port of Limón and Port of Moín, which permit the shipment of Costa Rican exports as well as the anchoring of cruise ships. In 2016, the government pledged ₡93 million ($166,000) for a new cruise ship terminal for Puerto Limón.

Health care is provided for the city by Hospital Dr. Tony Facio Castro. Two small islands, Uvita Island and Isla de Pájaros, are just offshore.


Limón is the Spanish word for lemon. Puerto is the Spanish word for port (or harbor).



Christopher Columbus first dropped anchor in Costa Rica in 1502 at Isla Uvita, just off the coast of Puerto Limón.[1] The Atlantic coast, however, was left largely unexplored by Spanish settlers until the 19th century.

As early as 1569, Governor Perafán de Rivera gave extensive plots of land, Indians included, in Matina to aristocrats (hidalgos) that helped to finance and support early conquest. Because these aristocrats found out that only a few Indians were available to exploit, they acquired African slaves to plant these lands with cocoa trees (the only feasible crop in these lands). These lands provided the only source of income to the absentee owners from the capital city of Cartago. Matina gained importance because of the cacao and the presence of African slaves, which made them attractive to pirate incursions.

Notorious pirates, Edward Mansvelt and his vice admiral Henry Morgan, arrived at Portete, a small bay between Limón and Moín, in 1666. They proceeded inland to Cartago, the capital of Costa Rica at the time, but were driven away by the inhabitants at Turrialba on 15 April. The pirate army left on 16 April and arrived back in Portete on 23 April. They left Costa Rica and did not return.[2]


The town was officially founded in 1854 by Philipp J. J. Valentini under government auspices.[3] In 1867, construction began on an ambitious railroad connecting the highlands to the sea. Limón was chosen as the site of a major port, which would facilitate exports of coffee from the Central Valley.[4][5]

Recent history[edit]

Twenty-three residents of Limón working on the docks lost their lives on 3 July 1942, when the cargo ship they were unloading was torpedoed by U-boat U-161 and sank fast at the bottom of the port. Most of the crew was ashore and only one perished.[6]

As a district, Limón was last modified on 10 August 1992, by Decreto Ejecutivo 21515-G.[7][8]

Puerto Limón was struck by the 1991 Limon earthquake, which affected the surrounding landscape and coastline.[citation needed]

The city has one main hospital.[9]

Limón has three port areas.[10]


The Siglo XXI neighborhood provides a panoramic view of downtown Limón, the Uvita Island, and the Caribbean Sea

Limón has an area of 59.51 square kilometres (22.98 square miles)[11] and an elevation of three metres (9.8 feet)[7]


  • Barrios:
    Bellavista, Bohío, Bosque, Buenos Aires, Cangrejos, Cariari, Cerro Mocho, Cielo Amarillo, Cieneguita, Colina, Corales (1, 2 and 3), Cruce, Fortín, Garrón, Hospital, Jamaica Town, Japdeva, Laureles, Limoncito, Lirios, Moín, Piuta, Portete, Pueblo Nuevo, San Juan, Santa Eduvigis, Siglo XXI, Trinidad, Veracruz
  • Poblados:
    Buenos Aires, Cocal, Dos Bocas, Empalme Moín, Milla Nueve, Santa Rosa, Valle La Aurora, Villas del Mar Uno, Villas del Mar Dos, Villa Hermosa


Limón features a trade wind tropical rainforest climate (Af) under Köppen's climate classification. Average temperatures are relatively consistent throughout the year averaging around 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit). Common to all cities with this climate, Limón has no consistently dry season. Its driest month (September) averages roughly 140 millimetres or 5.5 inches of rainfall while its wettest (December) averages just below 450 millimetres or 18 inches of rain. Limón averages nearly 3,600 millimetres or 140 inches of rainfall annually.

Climate data for Limón International Airport, Costa Rica
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 32.9
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 28.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 24.8
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 20.7
Record low °C (°F) 12.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 319.7
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 17 14 14 14 16 16 20 16 11 13 17 18 186
Average relative humidity (%) 87 86 85 85 87 87 89 87 86 87 88 88 87
Mean monthly sunshine hours 155 152.6 179.8 171 164.3 135 117.8 145.7 159 164.3 135 142.6 1,822.1
Mean daily sunshine hours 5.0 5.4 5.8 5.7 5.3 4.5 3.8 4.7 5.3 5.3 4.5 4.6 5.0
Source 1: Instituto Meteorologico Nacional (precipitation 1941–2012, temperatures 1970–2012, sun 1969–2012, humidity 1970–2012)[12]
Source 2: Meteo Climat (extremes, 1941–present)[13]


Historical population
Census Pop.

Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos[14]
Centro Centroamericano de Población[15]

For the 2011 census, Limón had a population of 94,415 inhabitants.[16]

Afro-Costa Rican[edit]

The first officially acknowledged arrival of African people who arrived in Costa Rica came with the Spanish conquistadors. Slave trading was common in all the countries conquered by Spain, and in Costa Rica, the first Africans seem to have come from specific sources in Africa– Equatorial and Western regions. The people from these areas were thought of as ideal slaves because they had a reputation for being more robust, affable, and hard-working than other Africans. The enslaved were from what is now the Gambia (Wolof), Guinea (Malinké), Ghanaian (Ashanti), Benin (specifically Ije / Ararás), and Sudan (Puras). Many of the enslaved were also Minas (i.e. communities from parts of the region extending from Ivory Coast to the Slave Coast), Popo (imported tribes such as Ana and Baribas), Yorubas and Congas (perhaps from Kongasso, Ivory Coast). Enslaved Africans also came from other places, such as neighboring Panama. Throughout the centuries, but especially after the emancipation of the slaves in 1824, the black population mixed with other ethnic groups, notably the Indians, and became part of the mainstream culture and ethnicity.[17]

The early black population of Matina and Suerre in Limón is not the same population that arrived in the second half of the 19th century. This latter population did not arrive as slaves but as hired workers from Jamaica, and smaller groups from Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. This is the reason why the majority of the current black population of Costa Rica has English surnames and speaks English with a Jamaican accent.

In 1910, Marcus Mosiah Garvey travelled to Puerto Limón, where he worked as a time-keeper for the United Fruit Company for some months, observing that the population of African descent suffered poor conditions.[18][19]

The descendants of Africans in Costa Rica have endured discrimination including a delay in voting rights and a restriction on their movements.[citation needed]


Puerto Limón is famous in Costa Rica for its yearly fall festival called Carnaval which occurs the week of 12 October, the date Columbus first anchored off Limón's coast in 1502, on his fourth voyage. The event was started by local community leader and activist, Alfred Josiah Henry Smith (known as "Mister King"), who helped organize the first Carnaval in October 1949.[20] The event stretches about a week (across two weekends), and includes a parade, food, music, dancing, and, on the last night, a concert in the Parque Vargas headlined by a major Latino or Caribbean music act. Previous artists have included Eddy Herrera (2002), Damian Marley (2003), El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico (2005), and T.O.K. (2006).

Although the show goes on rain or shine, the event has recently suffered some setbacks. Organizers cancelled Carnaval in 2007 due to a major dengue fever outbreak,[21] and again in 2008 due to major municipal trash-removal issues and related health worries.[4] While trash removal had long been an issue due to lack of trucks and a 62-mile (100-kilometre) haul to the nearest landfill (in Pococí), the ordered closure of this and other landfills in 2007 meant Puerto Limón had to send trash 135 miles (217 km) to Alajuela and pay a higher disposal fee.[22][23][24] The situation led to a bottle-neck in trash removal, which, combined with the major dengue breakout, caused organizers to cancel 2008's carnaval as a precautionary measure.[4] Given the severity of the situation, the city bought land in nearby Santa Rosa and, in April 2009, opened its landfill (called El Tomatal).[24] Given the improved situation, Carnaval picked up in 2009 after its two-year hiatus.[citation needed]


Road transportation[edit]

The district is covered by the following road routes:


Limón is served by the Limón International Airport (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional Pablo Zidar, Limón), IATA code LIO, an airstrip which is 1,800 m (5,900 ft) long by 30 m (98 ft) wide, two m (6.6 ft) above sea level, on the coast south of the city.[25] The Presidency Ministry announced in June 2011 that Sansa Airlines would begin regular scheduled flights four times a week to Limón Airport, beginning in July and costing ₡30,000–₡75,000 ($60–$150), to increase tourism to Limón Province.[26][27][28]


The city has a football team, which has had numerous iterations, of which the current one is Limón Black Star. The team plays at the Juan Gobán stadium in downtown Limón.

Notable people[edit]

Joaquín Gutiérrez

Below follows a list of notables from the city of Limón, Costa Rica.



Film and television[edit]

Harry Shum, Jr.




American and Canadian football[edit]



Yeltsin Tejeda

Track and field[edit]

Sister city[edit]



  1. ^ Limón Archived 30 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved: 11 June 2011.
  2. ^ Crónicas Coloniales Archived 22 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine Ricardo Fernández Guardia, 1921.
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Americana (1918–1920), Vol. XXVII, pp. 645–46 online version at Internet Archive (last viewed 24 May 2011)
  4. ^ a b c "Crisis por basura obliga a suspender carnavales". Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  5. ^ What Happen: A Folk-History of Costa Rica's Talamanca Coast
  6. ^ "San Pablo (Panamanian Steam merchant) - Ships hit by German U-boats during WWII -". Archived from the original on 27 February 2021. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Declara oficial para efectos administrativos, la aprobación de la División Territorial Administrativa de la República N°41548-MGP". Sistema Costarricense de Información Jurídica (in Spanish). 19 March 2019. Archived from the original on 26 October 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  8. ^ División Territorial Administrativa de la República de Costa Rica (PDF) (in Spanish). Editorial Digital de la Imprenta Nacional. 8 March 2017. ISBN 978-9977-58-477-5. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 June 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2020.
  9. ^ "Quienes Somos: Hospital Regional Dr. Tony Facio Castro" Archived 24 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. Retrieved 7 March 2012. (in Spanish)
  10. ^ "Afro-Caribbean Day in Costa Rica: Government Promises New Cruise Ship Terminal". 1 September 2016. Archived from the original on 27 December 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  11. ^ "Área en kilómetros cuadrados, según provincia, cantón y distrito administrativo". (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 24 October 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Descripción del clima: Cantón de Limón" (in Spanish). Instituto Meteorologico Nacional. Archived from the original on 31 October 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Station Puerto Limon" (in French). Meteo Climat. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 6 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos" (in Spanish).
  15. ^ "Sistema de Consulta de a Bases de Datos Estadísticas". Centro Centroamericano de Población (in Spanish).
  16. ^ "Censo. 2011. Población total por zona y sexo, según provincia, cantón y distrito". (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 28 September 2020. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  17. ^ "Bienvenido a INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE ESTADISTICA Y CENSOS | INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE ESTADISTICA Y CENSOS". Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  18. ^ Marcus Garvey in Port Limon Archived 1 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ [1] [dead link]
  20. ^ "Limón despidió a su Mister King con respeto y carnaval". Retrieved 27 December 2021.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ "Dengue obliga a cancelar los carnavales de Limón". Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  22. ^ "Barrios de Limón siguen repletos de basura". Archived from the original on 11 September 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  23. ^ "Inició recolección de 360 toneladas de basura en calles limonenses". Archived from the original on 27 October 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  24. ^ a b "Nuevo relleno sanitario recibirá y tratará la basura del Caribe". Archived from the original on 26 March 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  25. ^ Limón Airport Archived 31 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine at Great Circle Mapper
  26. ^ New flights to Limón seek to drive up tourism Archived 19 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine The Tico Times, 14 June 2011.
  27. ^ Turismo podrá volar a Limón a partir de julio Archived 31 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine La Nación, 15 June 2011.
  28. ^ "". Archived from the original on 5 January 2010.

External links[edit]