11 Reasons why Puerto Viejo will make you fall in love
If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica, you should give yourself a favor and check out this awesome, hip and fun Puerto Viejo town. Puerto Viejo, full name Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, is located in a southeast part of Costa Rica. It’s on the Caribbean coast, just a few miles away from famous Boca del Toro in Panama. Yes, it might be a bit off your preplanned Costa Rican itinerary but surrounded by beautiful beaches and jungles, Puerto Viejo is true Costa Rican paradise and not to be missed out on. Spending a few days in this unique part of the world, I fell in love and therefore I put together all 11 Reasons why Puerto Viejo will make you fall in love as well.
If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica, you should give yourself a favor and check out this awesome, hip and fun Puerto Viejo town.
11 Reasons why Puerto Viejo will make you fall in love
1. The town Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo is a cute coastal rasta town looking like a tiny Caribbean version of New Orleans. The town is surrounded by golden and black sand beaches as well as jungle, which is home to many exotic animals and birds.
In a peak season, the town is busting with tourist but even though you visit in an off-peak season, the place still has a lively yet chill vibe to it. Plenty ex-pats call this townhome now. If you are a traveler with no time restriction, you might end up staying more days than initially planned or like few others stay forever and open up a cafe or teach yoga :-).
2. Cycling around
Puerto Viejo town is small and walkable within 15min, but you will need a bike to explore a variety of beaches nearby as well as mountains or national parks. You can rent a bike for $5 a day ( you can get deals when you rent for a week or longer) and with no hustle waiting for the local buses, (which runs once per blue moon) you can cycle towards your adventures.
If you decide heading south from Puerto Viejo, you can explore several bays with golden sand beaches. If you feeling extra active, you can cycle even further down towards town Manzanillo. It’s a lovely trip which has in total around 26km.
North of Puerto Viejo is a town Cahuita with Cahuita National Park. Great place to spot some monkeys and sloths and enjoy a jungle walk and enjoy the beach, with voluntary admission.
3. Chilling at the beach
There are several beaches near Puerto Viejo. The nearest is Playa Cocles, which is great for surfing. A few km further is tiny but lovely beach Playa Chicita and next is Playa Uva. Playa Uva is by far the most beautiful beach, you can find near Puerto Viejo and in Costa Rica. (I also loved beaches in Corcovado Peninsula.)
Playa Uva has a small cute bay that is leading into a long strip of a beach. You can find bars in the bay and many camper vans near the strip. It’s a definitely must-see beach when visiting Puerto Viejo. Great place to relax and recharge.
4. Taste of Costa Rican coffee
Puerto Viejo is a small town yet you can find cafes, bars, and sodas (local restaurants with cheap meals & drinks) on every corner. I’ve tried coffee in all various places and I must say, it doesn’t matter how fancy you go, the coffee tastes great everywhere. Even the supermarkets are stock with all types of coffee brands.
Make sure, before heading back home, to take a bit of Costa Rica experience with you, in a package of heavenly tasting coffee. (Tip to know: It’s ok to transport coffee on an airplane. There is a huge selection of Rita’s coffee at the airport with deals like, buy 5 get 1 free.)
Cocles beach is just 2km from Puerto Viejo and most travelers hang out here. Probably because it’s the nearest beach from the town and nearest to surf on. So if you are a surfing newbie and a sports lover, rent your surf and ride those waves, baby.
6. Delicious Rusta Street Food
If you are around Cocles beach over the weekend and starving.. forget paying expensive meals in a restaurant, instead find a rasta stand right next to the beach, on the road, which offers a variety of deliciously homemade cooked meals – options of fish, meat, and vegetarian. All made by the locals.
I must admit that their dish was the best I’ve eaten in Costa Rica. On top of the taste, the portion was huge (I couldn’t finish) and the cost was cheap. Highly recommend.
7. Yoga, Massage, Reiki, Meditation
Nowadays it’s a trend that westerners are not only searching for vacations to see a new place and relax on the beach from their hectic life but they tend to choose vacations which allows them to stay active while finding their zen. Simply said, people seek their daily dose of yoga wherever they go.
Puerto Viejo, of course, doesn’t miss on having several yoga studios around. You can take a class in the town’s resorts or in the jungle. You can also find reiki and massage spas and even a meditation center. Check out my selected places below.
8. Sunset at Lazy Loft Bar & Restaurant
What’s the better way to end a day than grabbing a beer or two and hang out with locals as well as tourists, at the popular sunset sea view hostel, the Lazy Loft. It’s near the town’s beach with a famous view of the halfway sank boat. Pinky sunset, live music, smiley people.. perfect mix to living the Costa Rican dream.
9. Enjoy the exotic animals on every corner
Costa Rica is known as a country of most exotic animals on this planet. I was fascinated by how many animals I saw, in this country. Some of them I only knew from books or the zoo.
Walking or cycling around Puerto Viejo, I got a chance to see a sloth, a cool looking frog (which later on I found out is poisoning, so watch out!), parrots, lizards, birds, and monkies, which were really loud. But hey, that’s why Costa Rica is such an amazing place to go, to experience jungle life with all the sounds in it!
10. Costa Rican Breakfast
Puerto Viejo town wakes up, in general, a bit later than the rest of the country. If you got used to the early rhythm (like trying to catch a bus at 6.30 am) you might be surprised that most restaurants & cafes in Puerto Viejo are still closed around 7 am. For early birds, go to sodas and get the Costa Rican breakfast specialty aka rice, beans, scrambled egg, and of course coffee. Cheap, tasty, filling.
11. Dive into healthy lifestyle living
Costa Rica is pretty advanced when it comes to growing veggies organically and is also into the whole clean and organic lifestyle. There are plenty organic cafes, organic restaurant, and even clothing or souvenir shops so plenty option for vegans or those who are craving green or fruit smoothies, organic coffee with freshly made coconut milk, vegan pancakes with a vegan chocolate spread (made from local choco) and freshly made vegan dishes.
A place I highly recommend for a coffee, snack, or lunch is Casa Mandala. Another great place, for a coffee and sweets, where you get a tour and learn about Costa Rican chocolate and coffee is Caribeans Chocolate and Coffee.
Hope this 11 Reasons why Puerto Viejo will make you fall in love blog got you inspired to not to skip on exploring the east coast of Costa Rica.