Lagoons and swamps dominate the coastal plains north of Limón . Many rivers meander through this region, carrying silt that the coastal tides conjure into long, straight
The only community along the canals is Parismina, on the ocean-side spit at the mouth of the Río Parismina, 45 kilometers north of Moín. It is popular year-round with anglers.
Sea turtles come ashore to nest all along the shore, notably at Barra de Matina, midway between Moín and Parismina (see www.costaricaturtles.com ). Here, the Pacuare Nature Reserve (tel. 506/2798-2220, www.parisminaturtles.org ) exists primarily to protect the eggs of leatherback turtles from poachers during the nesting season; Pacuare is now the most important leatherback site in Costa Rica.
Volunteers are needed to join biologists and hired guards to patrol the beach, tag and measure turtles, and relocate nests; contact c.fernandez [at] turtleprotection [dot] org. There is a one-week minimum stay. Conselvatur (tel./fax 506/2253-8118, www.conselvatur.com ) offers an eight-day Sea Turtle Research and Rainforest Exploration trip that features Reserva Pacuare.
The reserves can be accessed by road via Matina, a banana town on the banks of the Río Matina four kilometers north of Highway 32  (the turnoff is at Bristol, about 28 kilometers east of Siquirres); and by boat from Moín ($20 pp) or Caño Blanco Marina (tel. 506/2710-1299, in San José tel. 506/2206-5138), near Barra de Matina Sur.
In Parismina, Carefree Ranch (tel. 506/2798-0839 or 2710-3149, $10 pp including breakfast), set in a landscaped garden with a picket fence, has nine rooms along a porch with decorative carretas (oxcarts). Rooms are simply appointed, cross-lit, and have fans and somewhat basic private bathrooms. There’s an appealing restaurant and the owner, Danilo, rents kayaks.
Nearby and set in a lush garden with a resident parrot is Iguana Verde (tel. 506/2798-0828, $10 pp with fan, $20 pp with a/c), where English-speaking Ricky and Jendra Knowles offer three clean rooms with private bath. It has a café and grocery.
The neighboring Cariblanco Lodge (tel. 506/8393-5481 or 2710-1161, cariblancolodge [at] hotmail [dot] com, $8 pp with fan, $12 pp with a/c) has 10 clean if Spartan rooms with private cold-water baths, plus an open-air restaurant (9 a.m.–9 p.m.) serving Caribbean fare. The bar draws locals for dancing and there is a swimming pool out front.
Sportfishing enthusiasts are catered to at two dedicated sportfishing lodges at Parismina: Río Parismina Lodge (tel. 506/2229-7597, in North America tel. 800/338-5688, www.riop.com ) and Jungle Tarpon Lodge (U.S. tel. 800/544-2261, www.jungletarpon.com ). Both offer fishing packages and take in guests on an ad-hoc basis.