Sixaola, Limón

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The tiny border town of Sixaola is located at the southern edge of Limón in the Caribbean, making it popular with people who are crossing into or from Panama. A bridge links Sixaola with Guabito, another small city on the Panamá side. The Province of Limón is known for its banana production and is situated on the Caribbean side of the country.

Visitors to Limón and Sixaola will notice the prevalence of the banana industry in area, as the local economy, most workers and many employers are involved somehow in the trade. Bananas are shipped from Limón all over the world from the huge plantations in this region.

Getting There

A trip to Sixaola begins, as so many visits to Costa Rica do, with a flight into the capital city of San José. From there, tourists can drive down the Guapiles Highway to the city of Limón on the east coast, then down the beautiful coastal highway to the bottom corner of the country. Along the way, visitors will pass popular surfing spots, national parks and several nature reserves that will warrant a closer look after travelers get settled into their lodging.

Nearby Attractions

Because it is so tiny, there is not a lot to do in Sixaola itself. However, the options for nearby activities are plentiful. The nearby coast city of Manzanillo is one of the best opportunities for sunbathing, as Manzanillo Beach is known for its scenic nature and seclusion.

Just a bit north up the coast is Cahuita, where travelers will find a national park that, although it is protected marine habitat, allow tourists to swim and snorkel among the coral reefs. Visitors should be on the lookout for turtles and 123 different species of fish. There is plenty of wildlife to be seen in the surrounding forest as well, such as sloths, monkeys and coatis. Birdwatchers may get a chance to see herons, social flycatchers and brightly colored tropical birds.

Sticking to the other side of the province, visitors to Sixaola can hire a guide to take them by canoe on the Sixaola River, which features dense mangroves all along the shoreline. The currents are quite strong in spots, requiring caution, but the fishing is great because of all the marine life that thrive in areas with mangrove ecosystems.

The Border With Panamá

Sixaola is popular with people coming from and going to Panamá, but some precautions are necessary. Tourists should always be sure to have their passport with them. The border police are not generally friendly, and they keep a close eye on the Sixaola River’s edge as well as the regular border station. Interestingly, Costa Rica is an hour behind Panamá, so people crossing the border should be cognizant of the time difference changes with a simple bridge crossing. Also, tourists must go through both Costa Rican and Panamanian customs offices.

Lodging and Services

Just about the only service visitors will find in Sixaola is the local market, where food, clothing, arts and crafts are available. There are no real lodging options or restaurants in the border town. The nearest options in Costa Rica are located in Puerto Viejo to the north and, in Panamá, in Changuinola. Fortunately, Puerto Viejo is conveniently located right between the beaches of Manzanillo and the park in Cahuita. Another noteworthy attraction in the area is the large number of volcanic parks, which are prime for a day trip and some great photographs.

Though the small border town of Sixaola is more of a thoroughfare than a resort destination, there are many great options for exploration in the area. Plus, the country of Panamá is begging to be discovered just on the other side of the bridge.