Puerto Viejo is located in the heart of the rainforest, which runs from the Cahuita National Park at the Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge.
We literally fell in love with Puerto Viejo, ideal for spending a few days of pure relaxation, but also for practicing many activities, such as surfing, snorkeling and nature tours.
A Old Port of Talamanca Afro-Caribbean, indigenous and Costa Rican cultures are mixed, with a strong Jamaican influence, which you will notice very soon thanks to the music, colors and typical rastaman.
In this article I will give you some tips to make the most of your stay in Puerto Viejo.
Eat Raggiungere Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Puerto Viejo was our last stop in Costa Rica, before going to Panama and reaching the Bocas del Toro archipelago. So we decided to leave the car in San Jose and take a company bus Mepe.
Direct buses from San Jose to Puerto Viejo depart from North Atlantic Terminal (Calle 12 between Avenidas 7 and 9) and not from the Gran Terminal del Caribe and take just over 4 hours with a stop in Limon of about 20 minutes.
Remember that in Costa Rica there are two cities called Puerto Viejo, the one on the Caribbean side is Puerto Viejo de Talamnaca, the other is inland and is Puerto Viejo Sarapiquì.
Where to Stay In Puerto Viejo
We stayed at Hotel Blue Conga, really very nice, run by very kind people and located 10 minutes walk from the main street of the town
The rooms are clean and spacious and have free wi-fi. Number 11, where we were staying, had a small terrace with a hammock and a view of a splendid garden populated by hummingbirds and squirrels.
Breakfast is served outdoors, next to the pool, the choice is a bit limited but the quality of the food is great.
The strengths of the Blue Conga are mainly two:
The position: It is located in a very quiet area surrounded by nature, but a stone's throw from the town center where you will find bars and restaurants. The beaches are also very close, the most beautiful can be reached with a pleasant bike ride.
I Proprietari: the people who manage the hotel are all kind and helpful, always ready to help you in organizing the best excursions.
Cosa Fare to Puerto Viejo
At the Cahuita National Park there is the largest coral reef in Costa Rica, and it is the best place for snorkeling or diving, you will see colorful fish, rays and if you are lucky even some sharks.
Other beaches where you can snorkel or dive are Punta Uva and Manzanillo.
Costa Rica is known to be very popular with surf enthusiasts, in Puerto Viejo there is the famous wave Brave sauce, one of the largest in the country, not suitable for beginners.
A typical activity in Costa Rica is the Canopy, which means you cross the rainforest on ropes hanging between one tree and another.
Cahuita National Park
Il Cahuita National Park is the main attraction of the area, it is located 16 km from Puerto Viejo, easily reachable by local buses in about 30 minutes.
The entrance to the park is free and can be done independently or accompanied by local guides.
During the walk you will be able to spot numerous animals, such as sloths, monkeys, raccoons, iguanas, snakes and various types of birds.
The path is located between the sea and the forest, so during the journey you can stop on the beautiful white beaches.
Council: bring something to drink, as there are no refreshment points.
Gandoca-Manzanillo Natural Refuge
Nature lovers cannot miss the Gandoca - Manzanillo Natural Refuge, an ecological oasis that offers splendid beaches and protects endemic flora and fauna at risk of extinction.
Here many animal species come to lay their eggs: turtles, crocodiles and caimans
Jaguar Animal Rescue Center
This is truly a wonderful place, where volunteers, young people who come from all over the world, take care of wild animals, injured or mistreated, and then return them to their natural habitat.
The guided tour lasts about two hours and the cost of the ticket ($ 18 per person) helps to maintain this praiseworthy initiative.
The center can be visited from Monday to Saturday in two time slots, 9,30 and 11,30.
I recommend a visit to the Jaguar center because it is a unique and exciting experience.
Interesting tour to discover the history of chocolate, with tastings in local farms.
More distant excursions from Puerto Viejo
Then there are some more distant but easily accessible attractions, such as the Tortuguero National Park and the archipelago of Bocas del Toro a Panama.
For these trips I recommend the agency Caribe Shuttle, we went with them to Bocas Del Toro and we were very happy.
The most beautiful beaches in Puerto Viejo
The beaches of puerto Viejo are some of the most beautiful in Costa Rica.
Playa Cocles it is the closest to the center, it is a long stretch of white sand, with the jungle touching the sea. It is ideal for experienced surfers and for those who like to take long walks on the beach.
Continuing south you will find Playa Chichita and Punta Uva, both reachable by bicycle, are the best for a nice swim or to relax in the sun. Then there is the beach of Manzanillo starting point for visiting the natural refuge.
Where to Eat in Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is perhaps the place where we ate best, the town is full of restaurants and clubs, where to dine or have a drink.
In the 3 evenings spent here, we tried 3 excellent restaurants, all located on the main street:
The first night we dined at the Koki Beach, a really nice place with a lounge atmosphere and fabulous staff. You can dine or simply have an aperitif. We did both and everything was yummy. Not to be missed!
The second night we tried the Holds Chill, located on the second floor, less lounge atmosphere than Koki, but excellent dishes and served very well. I tried a fish fillet in coconut sauce, exceptional. The cocktails are also very good.
On our last night we chose the fusion style of Red pepper, fabulous!! My partner is a vegetarian and the Chili Rojo offers an all-vegetarian sushi menu, truly amazing. I also tried a tuna fillet, very good.
We then tried theOutback Jack’s, but only for lunch, where we ate an excellent quesadillas. The place is very nice, furnished with vintage objects and with a collection of about 10.000 glasses.
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