The Caribbean has a cultural diversity that is different from the rest of Costa Rica. With its beautiful beaches, great surfing conditions, and pristine national parks, it is becoming one of the top attractions for adventurers. Less developed than the Pacific side, it has fewer roads and smaller settlements. About half the area is set apart and protected in parks and wildlife refuges.
The capital of the region is the seedy port of Limon, which is generally avoided by tourists and used only as a transport hub. However, it is regaining popularity as a cruise port. Cahuita is a relaxed village neighbouring the Cahuita National Park, and here the Creole culture is particularly evident in the food and music.
Further south is the even more tranquil hamlet of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, popular for its surfing and splendid coastline. In the north, the coastal National Park of Tortuguero is one of the most important breeding and nesting sites of the green sea turtle. The villages are laidback with an unhurried atmosphere common throughout the region. Most locals are extremely friendly, live close to the coast, and speak a lively form of English. They delight in showing visitors the natural beauty of the area and are eager to share their culture with others. There is plenty to see and do, but things are relaxed so visitors should take time to experience this rewarding side of Costa Rica.