Puerto Viejo Overview
This town, known as Puerto Viejo, and which is located in Limon (Caribbean coast of Costa Rica); near the border with Panama, used to be quite isolated from the rest of the province.
This was until the late eighties. When the small village started to see some development thanks to the arrival of surfers looking to ride Salsa Brava; the most dangerous break in the Caribbean.
Since then, Puerto Viejo has remained as a laid-back destination and is far from becoming another resort community.
This is also a truly multicultural place where there are always people from all over the world, with a lot of them already calling this place home.
And, as varied as the people are, so are the alternative lifestyles present in Puerto Viejo, including Rastafarians, Bohemians, Surfers, and Hippies.
Getting to Puerto Viejo
The easiest way to get to Puerto Viejo is by bus, with four or five departures per day from downtown San Jose.if you are driving, you will need to make it to downtown Limon, from there to Cahuita, and you’ll find Puerto Viejo just 16 miles away from that town.
Now, if you’re driving, you will need to make it to downtown Limon, from there to Cahuita, and you’ll find Puerto Viejo just 16 miles away from that town.
The road trip takes approximately 4 hours. Now, if you want to make it there faster, you can also take a flight to downtown Limon and pick a bus or rent a car over there.
What to Do in Puerto Viejo
There are different tour operators in Puerto Viejo offering all sorts of activities, including Surfing, Scuba Diving, Rafting, and Canopying. Ask the place where you’re staying to recommend you one.
The nightlife is quite active here, so you will surely not get bored. Two places stand out from the rest: Johnny’s Place and Stanford, which are two discos where you can expect a lot of dub and reggae music.
Exploring: Just south of Puerto Viejo you will find Chiquita Beach, Cocles Beach and Punta Uva Beach, 3 stunning beaches which you can arrive to by taking a taxi or by renting a bike (around $5 per day).
ATEC, the Talamancan Association of Ecotourism, can help you arrange multiday trips to the Talamanca Mountains; where you can camp and get to know more about the wildlife; and the Bribri and Cabecar indigenous reserves from the region.
You’ll have the chance of watching animals and birds that include Toucans, Sloths, Iguanas, and Monkey.
You can also ask at ATEC (nearby well known Soda Tamara) for their half day trips, which are also focused on the natural diversity and the culture of Talamanca.
If you are planning to stay in Puerto Viejo for a considerable amount of time, you might consider volunteering, and ATEC, whose mission is to preserve the environment and the heritage of the area, can give you that opportunity.
Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge:
Here you can explore the rainforest and see where 4 different types of turtles lay their eggs. The fauna within the park also includes Caimans, Iguanas, Manatees, Dolphins, and Waterfowls.
A nice way to explore this refuge is to hike along the coast and to arrange to be picked by a boat at Punta Mono (a tour operator at Puerto Viejo can help you with this). A cab from Puerto Viejo will charge you around $10 to get you there.
Cahuita National Park:
The main attraction of the Cahuita National Park is its coral reef; which is one of the largest in the country.
And the best way to appreciate the rich sea life (many species of coral, mollusks, crustaceans and fish) within the reef is to hire a boat with a guide that can take you to the best places to do some Snorkeling.
Important Numbers and Websites:
- Municipalidad: http://municipalidaddetalamanca.com/
- Hospital Dr. Tony Facio Castro (downtown Limon): 2758-2222
- Buses: 2257-8129