Siquirres, 25 kilometers east of Guácimo  and 49 kilometers west of [node:25472 link Limón, is a major railroad junction, echoing to the clanging of locomotives working freight for the banana companies.
Still, there are attractions outside the town, which is two kilometers east of the Río Reventazón and one kilometer west of the Río Pacuare. White-water rafters traditionally take out at Siquirres.
On Sunday, head to Centro Turístico Las Tilapias (tel. 506/8398-1517, www.chitotarzantico.com , $12), north of Siquirres. Here, at 4 p.m., Gilberto “Chito” Shedden dons mock Indian garb and slips into a lagoon to swim, wrestle, and do tricks with Poncho, a one-eyed 5.5-meter-long crocodile that Chito rescued in 1992 from the Río Parismina after the giant reptile had been shot in the eye by a cattle farmer.
The wild croc and he bonded. Recovered, Poncho refused to leave; when Chito tried to release Poncho, the croc followed him home. Chito says that it took a decade to fully earn the croc’s trust. Now you can watch Poncho doing death rolls, slapping his enormous tail, even giving Chito a kiss and winking on cue.
A taxi from town will cost about $4.
This superb facility (tel. 506/2296-5056, www.veraguarainforest.com , $55 adults, $45 children; $89/$65 with canopy tour) is the keystone of a private reserve protecting 1,300 hectares of primary and secondary rainforest at Las Brisas del Veragua; the turnoff is at Liverpool, about 12 kilometers west of Limón (4WD required).
Highlights include butterfly, snake, and frog exhibits (including a walk-through nocturnal frog garden with misters) linked by elevated boardwalks over the forest. An open-air tram through the canopy whisks you steeply down to the riverside Trail of the Giants (good for spotting poison-dart frogs), which leads to a fabulous waterfall. Thoughtful education signage is a bonus.
This is also an active research facility, run in collaboration with INBio; you can watch biologists at work. Even the stylishly modern yet old-fashioned urinals offer forest views! The entrance fee includes a guided tour and lunch in a lovely open-air restaurant.
The Standard Fruit Co. offers a tour of its Esperanzas banana plantation (tel. 506/2768-8683, www.bananatourcostarica.com ) and packing plant. Agritours (tel. 506/2765-8403, www.agritourscr.com ) offers 90-minute tours of Del Monte’s Hacienda Ojo de Agua pineapple plantation (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., $19 adults, $8 children), 10 kilometers east of Siquirres.
Hacienda Milla 25 (tel. 506/2241-3233, www.milla25.com ), at Bataán, about 10 kilometers east of Siquirres, has horseback and wagon rides on the cattle farm, including a round-up. It also has a frog garden. And Mighty Rivers Eco-Farm (tel. 506/2765-1116, www.mightyrivers.net ) offers tours of their sustainable dairy farm, where a medley of world-spanning cattle, from Norwegian Fjord to African Watusi, are bred and milked to produce milk and yogurt.
About five kilometers east of Siquirres and 100 meters west of the Río Pacuarito, a dirt road leads south 17 kilometers to the remote 12,000-hectare Barbilla National Park (Parque Nacional Barbilla), on the northeast flank of the Talamanca Mountains. Its creation in the face of heavy logging is a testament to the efforts of the Fundación Nairi, which has a small field station: Estación Biológica Barbilla. The park (8 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, $6) is administered by SINAC’s Amistad Caribe Conservation Area office (tel. 506/2768-5341, aclac [at] minae [dot] go [dot] cr) in Siquirres. The ranger station (tel. 506/8396-7611), at Las Brisas del Pacuarito (10 km from the highway), has restrooms and potable water. A 4WD vehicle is required to get there.
The Original Canopy Tour (tel. 506/2291-4465, www.canopytour.com , $45 adults, $35 students, $25 children), at Veragua Rainforest Research & Adventure Park, offers a thrilling zip-line adventure through the rainforest canopy. On the access road to Veragua, Brisas de la Jungla (tel. 506/2797-1291, www.junglebreeze.com , entrance $20 adults, $15 children and students) competes with a 13-platform zip-line tour ($45 adults, $35 children and students), plus horseback rides and a trail.
In Siquirres, the Hotel Alcema (tel. 506/2768-6004, $10 pp shared bath, $20 s/d private bath), two blocks north and two east of the plaza, has 23 small and simply furnished but clean rooms with fans and shared bath with cold water. Six newer cabins to the rear have TV and private bath. There’s a TV lounge and a small restaurant.
You can also stay with Chito and Poncho at Centro Turístico Las Tilapias (tel. 506/8398-1517, www.chitotarzantico.com , $40 s/d), with 14 simple yet comfortable cabins, four of which overhang the lagoon. It has a delightful open-air restaurant and a swimming pool.
Of the several simple hotels along the main highway, Cabinas Don Quito (tel. 506/2765-8076, $20 s/d, or $25 with a/c), five kilometers east of town, is one of the better options, with nine simple rooms.
Buses (tel. 506/2222-0610 or 2768-9484) for Siquirres leave San José  from Gran Terminal del Caribe on Calle Central, Avenidas 13/15, at 6:30 a.m., 8 a.m., and 2 p.m. daily (colectivo); faster directo buses leave at 9:30 a.m. and seven times thereafter, with the last bus at 6 p.m. ($2.75). Buses from Siquirres depart from the bus terminal on the main street, 50 meters north of the plaza.