In the surreal world of the Costa Rican rainforest, the tropical hothouse environment pushes life into a constant state of fast forward. Plants live on air, not soil. Orchids instruct insects where to land. Puerto Limon, on the Caribbean coast is a gateway to all that bio-fantasia. There are national parks, refuges, and reserves in all directions, from the coast to the jungled mountains to the volcanic parks on the road to San Jose. Closer to town, highlights for cruise visitors include Playa Bonita beach, a couple miles from down-town, and a panga-boat ride along the Tortuguero Canal, which encompasses more than 100 miles of waterways along the coast.