We arrived quite early (6am) this morning in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. Puerto Limon is the capital city of one of 7 provinces in Costa Rica and the country’s main Caribbean port with a population slightly over 100,000. The province is home to most of Costa Rica’s citizens of African descent. Originally from Jamaica, these workers were brought to the area in the late 19th century to build the railroad line from San Jose to Limon. The railway was to boost the country’s banana exports and economy in general. This railway has now fallen into decline due to an earthquake some years ago. The finances are no longer available to reconstruct the many bridges. Income tax is low here; car ownership is extremely expensive with many people paying over $5,000US in taxes per year.
Costa Rica is located 10 degrees north of the equator and 84 degrees of the Prime Meridian. It boarders the Caribbean sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west with a total of 1,290 kilometers of coastline. It is about the size of Nova Scotia. Costa Rica was the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army. And is home to a rich variety of plans and animals. While the country has only about 0.1% of the world’s landmass, it contains 5% of the world’s biodiversity. About 23% of Costa Rica is composed of protected forests and reserves and is known for it’s extremely strict environmental laws. The Limon Province enjoys the distinction of encompassing proportionally more protected land than any other. Among Costa Rica’s wettest rainforests, it receives a staggering four meters or 13 feet of rainfall each year.
Tourism has the honour of being #1 in Costa Rica followed by High Tech (which surprised us both). Intel has opened a huge technology plant here and exports “chips” over the world; closely followed by #3 serum medications – the country has over 130 different types of snakes of which 26 are venomous. Costa Rica has the honour of developing serums distributed all over the world. (Although, our guide recommends taking a photo of the snake that bit so the correct serum can be given). Hiking trails are fairly difficult and in addition to the venomous snakes there are certain frog species which are also quite deadly. In 4th place is the export of bananas, pineapples and tropical fruits. We had an opportunity to tour a banana plantation and see the process of how the banana tree develops and getting to eat different varieties of bananas. Did you know that the banana tree is actually a herb!!
Costa Rica’s also boasts a cosmetic surgery industry, I think some of the ladies on our tour perked up at this information. Plastic surgery costing, on average, $10,000 US (in the USA) would cost $4-5,000 in Costa Rica.
The country is lush and green and it’s people very friendly.
We took a boat tour on one of the canals and were very happy to see 3 toe sloths; a small snake (Boa constrictor) lying sunning itself in a tree; a howler monkey; both a male and female iguana and many different bird species. Turkey vultures are very common and are seen flying overhead.
A fabulous day finished off with an incredible sunset display!