In this week’s special edition, The Tico Times examines the province of Limón, an area filled with striking diversity and historical significance. The region’s rich culture and tradition is a source of pride for its inhabitants, generating the dictum “Dondequiera que voy, Limonense soy” (“Wherever I go, I am Limonense”).
Limón is home to startling natural wonders, exotic food and a fusion of races, languages and customs. Its inhabitants trace their roots to Jamaican railroad workers, strong-willed indigenous tribes, Chinese merchants and Nicaraguan, Panamanian and Colombian turtle hunters who settled along the coast. In the past decades, a new wave of settlers from all over the world, who first arrived as tourists, are also making Limón their home.
Because of its many dissimilarities from the rest of the nation, Limón struggles with problems different from those that confront other Costa Rican provinces and cities. Misunderstanding and racism bred a history of inequality, which still haunts the region in the form of poverty and crime.
In spite of this, the region of about 340,000 people is helping propel the country forward economically. Christopher Columbus landed on Limón’s shores in 1502 on his final voyage to the new world, and now Limón continues this strong maritime tradition. Puerto Limón allows Costa Rica to ship its exports and facilitates the influx of tourism by serving as a stopping point for cruise ships. Both functions are giving birth to important investment opportunities.
From its northern border with Nicaragua, across the Caribbean lowlands and the Cordillera de Talamanca mountain range, down to the banks of the Sixaola River bordering Panama, Limón’s quandaries and promises are entirely unique, flavoring the beautiful and vibrant province.