Port of Moin

Port of Moin now and how it might change in the future.

We live about 30 min West of the Port of Moin. It’s our closest access to the Caribbean Sea. We go to Playa Bonita for birthday’s or anniversary’s because we can get a decent meal right next to the water. The waves roll over the tops of the rocks and we remind ourselves that we should spend more days in the ocean. Beaches in Moin are not in short supply, in fact Moin makes up a large portion of the coast above Puerto Limon. We have been on the beach a little bit North but don’t like to go there due to all the garbage strewn about. There are no garbage cans and people simply leave their trash (including dirty diapers) right along the coastline. The dogs then tear the trash apart in the night and the whole place looks sad.

This is the view from our special occasion restaurant, Cocori, to the South towards Limon there is rocky waterfront.

Coast of Moin

Cocori Restaurant View

To the North is Playa Bonita on the left and the point is what hides the shipping port from our view. Quick note: the undertow is dangerous. If you swim here stay to the right.

Playa Bonita Limon

Playa Bonita Limon

On the other side of the point is the Port of Moin, or the perceived savior project of the Caribbean Coast. Currently, there is one deeply dug channel that gives large shipping vessels access to the dock.

Panoramic Moin Port

Moin Shipping Dock

Changes to the Shipping Dock 

This landscape will be changing soon. If you have followed the Costa Rican news at all in the last 2 years you have probably heard that a 33 year contract has been signed with a Dutch company, APM terminals, to build a shipping complex to replace the current port. Three  years to get her up and going and 30 years to re-coup the investment and make a profit. TCM is the name of the new facility. This project is of great interest to residents of the Limon Province. Many people are already talking about higher property values and lower pricing for imported goods. Currently, most containers with imported products arrive in Moin, get loaded on truck and driven to the company’s warehouse in San Jose. Limon residents pay higher costs for products because the shipping from San Jose is built in to the price. It can be very frustrating. Bataan, a town in Limon has the 5th highest prices in the country and millions of needed items pass right by the town’s entrance everyday. There is hope that this might change.

Moin Road Trailer

Shipping Bananas, Moin


Did you know that Costa Rica is the largest pineapple exporter and the third largest banana exporter in the world. So for exporters this updated and larger facility will be a welcome change. Heck, the exporting companies are already asking for their own exchange rate. Strike while the iron is hot! The reasoning behind this has nothing to do with increasing the quality of life for the hardworking laborers who will work the dock and everything to do with higher profit margins that get sent back to the executives that live in “developed” nations. So my vote is No. You can try to make the most of your dollars just like those of us who live here.

Something I read in an article from porttechnology.org has me wondering “What does reclaimed land mean? Who are you reclaiming it from?” *Direct from article.

* In the first phase the TCM will consist of a 40 hectare area of reclaimed land off the Caribbean coast with 600 meters of quay, 2 berths, a 1.5 kilometer breakwater, a 16 meter deep access channel and 6 super-post Panamax ship-to-shore gantry cranes. When fully completed, TCM will have an area of 80 hectares with 1,500 meters of quay, 5 berths, a 2.2 kilometer breakwater, an 18 meter deep access channel and 9 or more super-post Panamax ship-to-shore gantry cranes.

I know that the CR Government has been sniffing around the coasts of Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo to “re-claim” land but I haven’t heard anything about the area around Moin. In an article from 2011, the 80 hectares were going to be all above the water (Latin Infrastructure Quarterly) I can’t find anything that states that the plan has changed. I’ll be interested to see what actually happens.

Road Access to Route 32

This is the access road that leads from the shipping port to Route 32 (the main road that goes to San Jose). This road has been targeted to be replaced with a brand new road. The estimated cost is 15 million USD for only 2.8 km’s of asphalt due to the sand and unstable land that is must be built on. Per kilometer it will be the most expensive road to build in all of Costa Rica.

Expensive Moin Road

Current Access Road to Moin

There is also a plan in the works to widen Route 32 to four lanes from Guapiles to Moin. This route currently has a single lane on each side. It is common to see passenger buses passing tractor trailers over a double yellow line on a curve. There are also many pedestrian deaths along this route. Driving home one night we passed two dead bodies along the side of the road. Both men had been riding their bikes along the highway at night and had been hit by cars.

The Chinese Government will be funding the loan and be sending crews to facilitate the build of the road. The Chinese also have plans to build a new oil refinery in Limon. There is already a Chinese populous in Limon Province from the railroad projects of long ago and many are familiar with the new Chinatown being constructed in San Jose. We have hopes that the price of Tsing Tao will drop at the Limon MasXMenos and that these casado places that claim to have Chinese food will soon be serving actual Chinese food!

This is the public overlook of the port facility. The razor-wire keeps trespassers out of the terminal and also keeps sightseers from falling down the hill.

view of Moin Port

View of Old Container Facility

It will be interesting to see the changes that occur within the upcoming months.

Moin Shipping Port

The Moin Dock has no Crane

From November 1st, 2013 an additional article we wrote for AM Costa Rica. http://kimberlybeck.net/moin-port-limon-costa-rica-new-apm-container-facility/

12 comments on “Port of Moin”

  1. Joseph Reply

    Great info, John and Kimberly. Thanks! I share John’s concerns about the future and also interests in living in Costa Rica.

  2. John Schmidt Reply

    In re-reading your article, yes, you are correct in why not employ Limonenses to build the road. But if I’m correct, wasn’t the national stadium in San Jose also built by the Chinese? Interesting.
    It is true that a lot wealth comes in through the two ports in Limon. Wealth that doesn’t trickle down to the Limonenses! Hopefully the road might benefit the latter.
    All the properties that I have seen on a couple of the real estate web sites have homes beyond the 200 meter domain. Just out of curiosity, what doe happen when a gringo buys a home within the maritime zone? Are they compensated after their homes are destroyed, or tough luck amigo?

    • Kimberly Reply

      I know the Chinese built the stadium but I don’t know the particulars. I am also not certain about what happens when the Govt. would take back a property. What I have heard is that there were/are a lot of problems in the Talamanca mountain area bcuz the govt took land from the Afro-Caribbean farmers and made it part of the indigenous reserve. I am certainly not an expert on that subject though there was a video on youtube but it didn’t address your question exactly. Here is a link that I thought you might be interested in. http://adlimon.org/ . It is a new website that is going to advise people in Limon about upcoming projects and how they can make the most of the growth in the area.

  3. John Schmidt Reply

    Thanks so much for this most interesting article. I happen to be very interested in this region of Cost Rica as I was born in Puerto Limon of a Connecticut Yankee father and a Costa Rican mother. I have lived in California since the early 1960’s when my family decided to move here.
    I have been checking out real estate prices in the Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Cocles and Manzanillo area, this as opposed to the Pacific are that is so much more crowded.
    Although your article is very positive about the future, I’m wondering what this coming worldwide depression that is coming will do to the real estate prices in this region. I keep up with the listings, and I have noticed price reductions.
    I also fear a coming devaluation of the Dollar and how this will affect the other fiat currencies.
    I’m reminded of a waiter in a hotel in Germany that was paid with a gold coin by an American tourist. When hyperinflation hit in 1923, that waiter was able to buy the hotel with that gold coin. Whether true or not, I wonder what one who holds gold and silver can buy in Costa Rica when things get bad.

    • Kimberly Reply

      John – I didn’t know that the message sounded positive as I am still a little unsettled about the project. I don’t know if it is smart to have another country paying for and building CR’s infrastructure. It seems that there is no word of what the payback for CR will be. Why would China need to bring their own workforce? There are many Tico’s that would be viable candidates and would love to stop working in the chemical filth that is the banana industry.
      As far as land pricing goes, I think a lot of people who have property in the areas you mention are within the maritime zone and are selling now because they know that the CR Govt is re-claiming land on the waterfront. Our farm is 30 min away from the shore, maybe 20 when the new highway is complete : ) and the price was perfect when you compare the value of lots in the Pacific, but we bought locally not through an agent on a formally listed property. If you look just a bit in-land you can find thousands of farms for sale and at fire-storm prices. We also bought when the exchange rate was 566 to $1 back in 2008.
      The current exchange rate is 494 which is unfortunate because we are starting the build of our house but once that project is done we will not be worried about the depression because we will have plenty of food growing on a farm that is paid for and doesn’t need heat or electric. The only thing that concerns me is what the changing weather will do to our harvest and the young trees that we have planted.

  4. Marlene & Caryn Reply

    As always, excellent information and well written. Keep up the great work. We enjoy reading your Posts.

  5. Kimberly Reply

    Thanks Joseph. I unfortunately have seen many beaches on the northern Caribbean coasts with all kinds of garbage. Mostly from people who go to the beach to party on the weekends and then you have the crap that the high tide brings with it. Some places have placed garbage cans out but they never get emptied. Many municipalities just don’t pick up the trash or they pick it up two weeks later. It could be because attention is needed elsewhere i.e. flooding in a near-by town. The subject probably deserves a post all its own.

  6. Joseph Reply

    Great post. I read about the Port of Moin in International Living. From my understanding, this will be a good thing. It saddens me to hear about the polluted shoreline. Are there lots of polluted areas in Costa Rica? They should put up signs that reads “Keep our Costa Rica. Please don’t pollute!” And there should be garbage cans available. Would those get stolen?

  7. carolyn tait Reply

    interesting…. how do you see these changes impacting you and your business? <3

    • Kimberly Reply

      C- Not sure about that. Better roads would definately make it easier for people to get here BUT if it takes them 10 years to build and we are constantly stuck in road construction then it would hurt the business. I would like to pay 20% less for things we need like replacement mattresses, outdoor furniture, roofing, etc. I just don’t know how it will effect us at this moment. I may be selling sugar cane juice on the side of the highway during traffic jams to make money : )

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