Puerto Limon is the primary/main seaport and capital city of Costa Rica's Limon Province. By population (around 60,000) the city is ranked country's 6th-largest. The town was founded in 1870, and part of its population traces its roots to Jamaican, Chinese and Italian laborers who worked on a late 19th-century railroad (connecting Puerto Limon with San Jose). Until 1948, Costa Rica didn't recognize Afro-Caribbeans as citizens, so their movement outside the province was restricted.
Just offshore are located two small-sized islands - Isla de Pajaros, and Isla Uvita.
According to the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ITC-Instituto Costarricense de Turismo), during season 2018-2019, Puerto Limon's terminal (Hernan Garron Salazar) handled a total of 193,733 cruise ship tourists (passengers and crew).
Puerto Limon port
Puerto Limon-Moin port has two cargo terminals (named "Moín" and "Limon"), which handle shipping of Costa Rica's exports and imports (bulk and containership cargoes), as well as docking of cruise ships.
In October 2015, the Holland-based container terminal operator company "APM Terminals" announced its plans to turn its Port Limon-Moin facility into a regional hub for cargo shipped in reefers (refrigerated containers).
- By this project, APM Terminals Moin allocated around 70% of the container terminal for refrigerated cargo storage (mainly for fresh fruits / pineapples and bananas) exported from Costa Rica to Europe and North America.
- Also in 2015, APM Terminals Moin signed a contract for 6x STS cranes (electric) plus 29x Rubber Tire Gantry Cranes (electric), all delivered in 2018.
- Costa Rica is the largest exporter of pineapples in the world, as well as the world's 3rd-largest exporter of bananas. Pineapples and bananas are approx 13% of Costa Rica;s all exports. Other major exports include sugar, coffee and beef. Much of the agricultural and meat products are exported in reefers (temperature controlled containers).
- Port Limon-Moin is ranked Latin America's 13th and Central America's 4th largest container port, with annual shipping volume around 1,3 million TEUs (containers, statistics 2015). The port's annual reefer container volumes are expected to double by the year 20230 - up to 600,000 TEUs.
A dredging project (for the port's access channel and turning‐basin) resulted in deepening the harbour, now allowing access of larger vessels with draft up to 16 m (53 ft). The port's development also included construction of a new breakwater (length 1,5 km / 0,9 ml), a new container yard (sized 40 hectares) and a new cargo quay (length 600 m / 1970 ft) with 2 berths (equipped with 6x large-capacity gantry cranes / serving post‐Panamax vessels).
After these development projects were completed, the upgraded container terminal now covers an area of 80 hectares (0,8 km2), 1,5 km (0,9 ml) quay length (5 berths total), 2,2 km (1,4 ml) long breakwater and access channel draft 18 m (59 ft).
Puerto Limon cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Puerto Limon dock at Hernan Garron Salazar passenger (ferry and cruise) terminal. The facility was redesigned and refurbished in 2019 (August through November). The USD 200,000+ renovation project resulted in improvements to the lookout point, courtyard, boarding halls.