About Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a charming beach town on the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica.

Surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, gorgeous sandy beaches and the lush tropical rainforest.

Puerto Viejo attracts travelers from all over the world.

 

This laid-back town with a relaxed atmosphere and a mixture of friendly Afro Caribbeans, Indigenous, Costa Ricans, Americans, and Europeans has become one of the most popular tourist destinations.

Famous for its distinctly Caribbean vibe and easy going attitude, Puerto Viejo offers a unique cultural experience that can be found only in this part of Costa Rica. Puerto Viejo not only offers stunning wildlife and breathtaking national parks but also excellent world class surfing conditions. Surfers catching the waves, people relaxing on the beach and enjoying reggae music dominate the local feel.

Location

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is located in southeastern Costa Rica, close to the border with Panama. The drive from the capital city of San José to Puerto Viejo is about 4.5 hours by car.

Getting Around

Puerto Viejo is a small town. The road out of Puerto Viejo towards the town of Manzanillo (8 miles or 13 km) runs along the coast through several smaller communities: Cocles, Playa Chiquita, and Punta Uva. These charming towns each have their own hotels, restaurants, and beaches. The easiest way of getting around is renting a bicycle. Many bike rentals throughout town offer good quality bikes on a daily basis. Local buses run regularly between Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo.

Car rental or taxi are other options. Taxis are not metered and it is important to agree on a fare with the driver before getting in. There is a public bus that runs regularly between Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo.

Climate

It is a rainforest. The warm rain usually comes at night and clears by late morning. When it rains, it often comes as a quick shower followed by a sunny period. Average temperatures vary between 74º-84ºF (24º-29ºC).

Where To Stay

Puerto Viejo has a wide variety of places to stay. Hotels in Puerto Viejo tend to be smaller and beautifully located near the beach. Many Caribbean style bungalows have window shutters and have an open air style.

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Beaches
Gorgeous beaches stretching along the Caribbean Coast are the biggest attraction in Puerto Viejo. Each beach has its own distinct feel and offers unique local attractions.

Playa Cocles is a surfing beach and is a great place to relax on the sand. Playa Punta Uva has golden sand, turquoise water, and tall palms that make this cove the perfect place to enjoy the day. Playa Negra is a lovely black sand beach that is located a few minutes away from town.

 

Activities and Attractions
Puerto Viejo has many fantastic activities to offer. There is something for all kinds of adventure seekers. There is off-road ATV driving, canopy zip lining through the rainforest, horseback riding along the beach and cycling around town. The water activities include surfing or taking surfing lessons, white water rafting the famous Pacuare River, fishing, boogie boarding or stand-up paddling, snorkeling, and diving.

It is also possible to take tours to places nearby such as turtle watching at night in Gandoca, hiking through the astounding forests (day tour or night tour) or participating in the sacred process of chocolate making. Wildlife watching, waterfalls, and Caribbean cooking or yoga lessons are just a few examples of the many local activities.

 

Tortuguero National Park
This magnificent park is situated within the Tortuguero Conservation Area of the northeastern part of Costa Rica. This remotely located park can be reached only by airplane or boat. Tortuguero National Park offers a distinct biological diversity including rainforest, mangrove forests, swamps, beaches, and lagoons. Its beaches attract thousands of nesting sea turtles every year.

 

Bocas del Toro, Panama
Bocas del Toro Islands are located on the northern Caribbean coast of Panama. Home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bocas del Toro has become one of Panama’s most visited eco-tourism destinations. It is a unique place with lush tropical vegetation and fauna and opportunities for diving and snorkeling the unbeatable Caribbean Sea. Shuttles run daily from Puerto Viejo to Bocas del Toro.

 

Surfing
The Caribbean Coast is famous for its world-class wave called Salsa Brava. Puerto Viejo’s Salsa Brava beach is a surfer’s paradise.
Its waves have attracted surfers from all over the world for many years. Board rentals and surf lesson from experienced surfers are available.

 

Restaurants & Nightlife
Puerto Viejo is the town with a rich ethnic flavor. This especially stands out in its dining options. Numerous restaurants offer delectable food with a range of international cuisine. Everything from the fine dining local sodas offering fresh authentic food line up the coast from Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo.

At night, Puerto Viejo is one of the friendliest scenes in Costa Rica where people from all over the world mingle at the beach and enjoy the music in numerous local venues. Puerto Viejo has something going on most nights. On Mondays there is a ladies night at Mango, on Tuesdays, the main party is at Tasty Waves and on Wednesdays, there is an open mic night at Hot Rocks. Fridays and Saturdays are evenings with lots of choices everywhere and Sundays are usually the days for reggae music at Salsa Brava.

 

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People
The local people are very friendly and welcoming. They have accumulated an incredible amount of knowledge of the forest and sea. Local population consists of the Costa Ricans who have moved to Puerto Viejo from other parts of the country, the Afro-Caribbeans who are descendants from Jamaican workers that arrived over a century ago, the local Bribri Indigenous people and the expats from Europe, South America, and Canada.

 

Wildlife
Puerto Viejo area is an ideal place for spotting an abundance of tropical wildlife. When cycling or driving in the area, it is common to encounter a sleepy sloth trying to cross the road or to hear howler monkeys marking their territory.

 

Closest Airport
San Jose (SJO) is located 4.5 hours away by car. Other modes of transportation include a minivan, public bus or taxi.

 

ATM
BCR and Banco Nacional

 

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WiFi and Internet Cafes
Most hotels offer free WiFi. Internet cafes are scattered around town and provide reliable high-speed internet connection.

 

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Cultural Visits
To capture the true spirit of the Caribbean is to experience the distinct culture of its original inhabitants. The mountains that surround Puerto Viejo are home to the Bribri people, one of Costa Rica’s indigenous nations.

The Bribri welcome the visitors and gladly share their traditions and customs. They especially value the sacred cacao and the healing practices of awa shaman.

 

Shopping
There are a few grocery markets and a couple of smaller convenient stores called pulperias, usually equipped with basic grocery needs. A variety of souvenirs and unique arts and crafts can be purchased at local stores and outside stands.

 

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Chocolate Tour
An interesting way to learn about the indigenous traditions is to take an exceptional Chocolate Tour where the Indigenous people share their ancient knowledge of the sacred process of chocolate making and invite guests to make their own cacao drink.

 

Jaguar Rescue Center
A great opportunity to witness local wildlife is visiting the Jaguar Rescue Center, a non-profit foundation located minutes away from Puerto Viejo. The goal of the center is to rehabilitate mistreated, orphaned or injured animals and to reintroduced them to their natural habitat. Jaguar Rescue Center is home to many sloths, monkeys, birds, cats, snakes, and other tropical animals.

 

Hiking
Cahuita National Park, located 10.5 miles (17 km) north of Puerto Viejo, is a great place to hike and spot wildlife in its natural environment. The hike leads along gold sandy beaches and is surrounded by stunning rainforest and remarkable tropical animals. It is common to see the monkeys, white-nosed coatis, lizards, toucans and other fascinating animals.

Another famous hike in the area is in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, located outside of Manzanillo (8 miles or 13 km outside of Puerto Viejo). This hike is an exceptional opportunity to admire the breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea and the surrounding jungle.

 

Food

Caribbean food is simply delicious and just right for this tropical climate. Cooked with distinct Afro-Caribbean spices and local fresh ingredients there are mouthwatering options for vegetarians and meat eaters. Famous Caribbean Rice and Beans dish, seasoned with garlic, onions and infused with Panamanian pepper, thyme, and coconut milk is an unforgettable culinary experience.

 

Language
In Puerto Viejo most people speak Spanish and English. Many local people also speak Creole. The local Indigenous population speaks Bribri. Coastal Talamanca is the most bilingual region of Costa Rica.

 

Safety
Costa Rica is generally a safe and peaceful place to visit. One of the most common crimes that can occur is petty theft. It is very important to leave all valuables at the hotel when going to the beach and staying in groups when walking at night.

 

Medical Facilities
Red Cross (Cruz Roja) provides emergency service. A small public hospital in Hone Creek 3 miles (5 km) away provides basic medical services. There is one private clinic with adjoined pharmacy and one dental clinic.

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Gas Stations
The closest gas station is in Hone Creek, 3 miles (5 km) outside of Puerto Viejo.

 

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Cell Phone Reception
Yes

 

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