by Shannon Farley

If you are stopping in Costa Rica on your Caribbean cruise, you can enjoy a fantastic full day in the rainforest at two of the top attractions in the Caribbean Costa Rica. This easy tour from the port of Limón combines a canal cruise in the Tortuguero National Park – called the “Little Amazon” of Costa Rica, and the nature, wildlife and adventure tours at Veragua Rainforest Eco-Adventure. This top shore excursion in Limon, Costa Rica is ideal for nature lovers and outdoors enthusiasts.

Veragua Rainforest Eco-Adventure & Tortuguero Canals in Costa Rica

You will travel from the cruise ship dock at Limon by air-conditioned motor coach first to the 46,000-acre Tortuguero National Park – home of the magnificent Tortuguero Canals. Tortuguero, on Costa Rica’s northern Caribbean Coastis a special ecosystem of marshy islands, canals, lagoons, beaches, and dense lowland tropical rainforest that is a habitat for abundant plant and animal life. As you slowly motor past beautiful water lilies and palms on a comfortable river boat, keep a lookout for crocodiles, spider monkeys, howler and white-faced monkeys, river otters, West Indian Manatees, sloths, river turtles, iguanas, or any of the 300 bird species that live here, including endangered Great Green Macaws.

After your river cruise, you will drive up into the coastal mountains near the renowned La Amistad International Park to Veragua Rainforest Eco-Adventure. This private reserve protects 3,212-acres (1,300-hectares) of primary and secondary tropical forest. With your visit to Veragua Rainforest, you contribute directly to the earth’s sustainability by helping fund conservation and scientific research.

In the company of a small, guided group, you will meet iguanas, lizards and snakes in a natural Reptile Habitat; walk through a one-of-a-kind rainforest frog exhibit; mingle with hundreds of the most colorful butterflies in the world in thButterfly Garden, including the brilliantly-hued Blue Morpho, which only exists in tropical rainforests. Then you will glide through the tree canopy on the Aerial Tram. As you descend the mountain to the riverbank below, keep watch for toucans, sloths and howler monkeys (note that wildlife sightings are likely but are not guaranteed). On the valley floor, follow the Trail of the Giants (so named for the gigantic trees that frame the path) on a nature walk to the Puma Waterfall. After returning by tram to the main visitor center, you will have time to enjoy a buffet lunch in the Rainforest Café and browse in the gift shop.

Veragua Rainforest Eco-Adventure is named #1 of 18 things to do in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica on TripAdvisor. Veragua Rainforest also offers half-day and full-day shore excursions for the best rainforest tours in Costa Rica’s Caribbean region.