Surfers and backpackers all know Puerto Viejo, a small coastal town in the province of Limon, in Caribbean Costa Rica. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is fast becoming more than a tourist spot, but a place for foreigners to buy and build. The area is undoubtedly perfect for surfing and adventure, plus two wondrous National Parks are nearby – Cahuita and Manzanillo.
Lay Back and Chill
Puerto Viejo is not just a beautiful place with white-sand beaches and exotic flora and fauna, it is also a melting point of several Costa Rican cultural influences. The mix of Afro-Caribbean, tico and hippyesque counterculture, and Bribri Indian culture is an experience of its own. Native American traditions are also deeply rooted in the area, as indigenous populations and reserves are scattered everywhere. A history of mixed cultures and belated introduction to modern conveniences makes Puerto Viejo the mixture of modern beach town and isolated indigenous habitat that it is. It’s perfect for laying back and enjoying the sights, sounds, and tastes of Costa Rica.
Lounge, Surf, Bike, Explore
Puerto Viejo’s white-sand beaches are exotic paradise to tourists, and the waves that break onto the coast are ideal for surfing. The beaches at Playa Cocles, Punta Uva, and Playa Chiquita are all-around blockbusters. But since the area is a meeting point of varied cultures as well as wildlife, tours can also be great adventures in Puerto Viejo. Touring Puerto Viejo de Talamanca can bring you through the Indian Reserve, Iguana Reserve, and even the Refugio de gandoca de Manzanillo – the most exotic area along the coast of the south Caribbean and a natural adventure not to be missed. You can even rent a bike and see all the sights at your own pace. For a more adrenaline-rushing activity, you can go for river rafting classes.
The Road to Puerto Viejo
Only 11 miles or 18 kilometers from Cahuita, a bus ride through Highway 36 can easily get you there. You can even walk south from Cahuita along the beach and enjoy the sights while on your way. The most typical route is via a four hour bus ride from San Jose’s Caribe Station. Be extra careful to get on a bus labeled Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, not de Sarapiqui, lest you be whisked to a different part of the country. You can also opt to get a bus from Caribe Station to Limon, and from there to Puerto Viejo, as many locals choose to do.
The Puerto Viejo Experience
So be it for surfing, backpacking, culture crashing, or just nature touring, Puerto Viejo is the place to be. It’s like a microcosm of Costa Rica itself, and is indeed a point of convergence for the many cultures as well as different types of flora and fauna found all across the country.