- Puerto Limón has everything needed to be an authentic Costa Rican destination.
- Limón offers the essence of Costa Rica’s Caribbean region, with cuisine, history, culture and art.
- Eighteen heritage buildings throughout downtown Limón have been fitted with informational plaques and QR codes providing access to online information.
- In the Caribbean region, 171 businesses are currently participating in ICT programs to improve their tourism products and services.
March 29, 2021 Aiming to take joint action to raise the profile of Puerto Limón as a destination for domestic and international tourists, the Minister of Tourism Gustavo J. Segura met with business leaders and tourist guides in the Limón Cultural Tourism Center over the weekend.
“This tour has given us a close-up view of the enormous cultural wealth that Puerto Limón has for the Costa Rican tourist industry,” said Segura. “In a one-hour walk around Parque Vargas and the Cultural Tourism Center, we observed 19 buildings that are part of the historical and cultural heritage of Costa Rica.”
The minister held meetings with businesspeople and inspirational figures including the women who lead the Caribbean Chamber of Women in Business. He also met with the Somos Caribe platform, whose objective is to promote Limón as an authentic destination among visitors who value Costa Rica’s cultural wealth and seek out expressions of culture, biodiversity and cuisine.
“The main lesson from our tour has been that Limón is a place of natural beauty and wonderful people,” Segura remarked. “Yet visitors regularly go to the northern or southern Caribbean coast without visiting downtown Limón, which is a cradle of art, culture and cuisine. We shouldn’t pass it by, since many Costa Rican idiosyncrasies can be explained in the history of Puerto Limón.”
The Vice-Minister of Culture, Loida Pretiz, also participated in the Limón meetings, speaking with attendees about the projects being implemented with Cultural Tourism Guides in collaboration with the Costa Rican Tourism Board through the Integrated Tourist Destination Management Program.
George Grant, Director of the Cultural Tourism Center of Limón and the owner of G&E Chocolate Adventure Company, organized the meeting and noted that the visit by the Minister of Tourism and the Vice-Minister of Culture allowed them to see the ongoing projects and local attractions, and interact with business leaders, tour operators, women’s groups and tourist guides to discuss the actions that have been taken in the region. The visiting officials also participated in a Caribbean culinary workshop that featured the patty and plantain tart.
Grant noted that the meeting sought to convert Puerto Limón into a must-see destination that offers a variety of activities in the Puerto Limón Cultural Tourism Center for domestic and international tourists. The center is an organization that works to create and promote new tourism products in Limón that bring together agriculture, cuisine, outdoor activities and the city’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage.
Beatriz Pareja and Peinan Zhang, Spanish tourists who were passing through Puerto Limón during the tour, mentioned that they enjoy Limón because they were able to try new products such as cacao and they liked the weather and the park. “We came to Costa Rica because it has many safety measures in place,” they added.
Promotion of cultural and architectural heritage
A variety of individuals and institutions have joined forces to promote the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Puerto Limón. One such effort is Heritage Puerto Limón, implemented in partnership with the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica, which focuses on appreciating Caribbean architecture. Proposals have also been made to post signs at 18 heritage buildings. These include informational plaques as well as QR codes that provide access to digital content such as videos, photographs, official documents and free downloadable content from the Cultural Heritage Center and the National Library.
“We have also presented a series of classes on cooking, architecture and dance at the Cultural Tourism Center, which serve as examples of the full array of activities that we offer to tourists,” Grant added.
“The tourism sector in Limón holds its future in its hands,” said Segura. “We must certainly support local institutions, but the city’s business leaders are the driving force that will shape the future of the city. I invite them to work towards tourism declarations and to formalize their businesses to gain access to funding, soft credit and support from federal institutions. This will ensure that post-pandemic tourism will bring social welfare to Limón.”
The ICT has urged the local business community to increase the number of members in their programs, which will allow them to offer products and services to tourists that speak to the quality of the region and are backed by the ICT, the country’s tourism agency.
About the Cultural Tourism Center
The Cultural Tourism Center of Puerto Limón is a project that began in March 2018 as a social responsibility initiative by the G&E Chocolate Adventure Company. It is housed in the old buildings of the United Fruit Company, located opposite the JAPDEVA cruise ship terminal.
The 120-year-old building was declared part of the National Heritage as it is a living testament to the monumental architecture of its era, as well as the importance of the banana industry in the Caribbean. The facilities provide the ideal location for the Cultural Tourism Center of Puerto Limón to carry out its work.