Nestled on the beautiful Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Puerto Viejo is a charming, vibrant town known for its lush tropical beauty and fantastic beaches. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a nature lover, or simply looking to unwind, this tropical paradise is an ideal destination for your next getaway. With a wide range of accommodations, from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious villas, there is something for everyone in Puerto Viejo.
As you stroll through the colorful streets, you’ll quickly get a sense of the unique blend of cultures present in Puerto Viejo. The laid-back Caribbean vibes are effortlessly mixed with indigenous Bri-Bri traditions and a strong presence of eco-conscious expatriates. This fusion creates an eclectic atmosphere that’s perfect for exploring local cuisine, browsing artisan boutiques, and discovering hidden gems.
One of the best things about Puerto Viejo is the abundance of outdoor activities on offer. With its close proximity to the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, it’s perfect for hiking, birdwatching, and spotting various wildlife, including sloths, monkeys, and colorful tropical birds. The warm crystal-clear waters are also home to stunning coral reefs, making it a prime destination for snorkeling and diving. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable experience in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.
Where To Stay
Why Choose Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, a charming fishing village, is a must-visit destination for travelers eager to explore Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. With its palm-fringed beaches, lively reggae music, and vibrant Creole cuisine, this town genuinely encapsulates the region’s Caribbean essence. Here are some reasons to visit and things to do during your stay in Puerto Viejo.
First, embrace the laid-back vibe and beauty of the town. As you stroll through the streets, you’ll encounter unique shops, local restaurants, and friendly locals. The relaxed atmosphere makes it easy to unwind and fall into the rhythm of “Pura Vida.”
In addition to its tranquil ambiance, Puerto Viejo is a hub for surfers and water enthusiasts. The area is home to a vibrant surfing culture, with numerous surf schools and rental shops available for beginners and experienced riders alike. Popular nearby surfing spots include Salsa Brava and Playa Cocles.
For nature lovers, make sure to visit the nearby Punta Uva and Cahuita National Park. Punta Uva is a pristine beach and wildlife sanctuary perfect for a day trip. Cahuita National Park, just a short drive away, offers visitors the chance to hike through lush rainforests, observe diverse wildlife, and swim in the crystal-clear waters of its protected coral reef.
Another unique feature of Puerto Viejo is its black sand beaches, like Playa Negra. Strolling along these beaches provides a stark contrast to the golden sands typically associated with the Caribbean.
Fun Fact: Puerto Viejo is a cultural melting pot, with influences from indigenous Bribri, Afro-Caribbean, and Tico populations. This contributes to the town’s distinctive character and delicious cuisine – be sure to try some local dishes like “rice and beans” or “patí.”
For adventure seekers, explore the Bribri Waterfalls, located within the Talamanca Mountains. This hidden gem can be reached via guided hikes through dense jungle, culminating in a refreshing plunge beneath the cascading water.
Besides these activities, Puerto Viejo offers many opportunities for exploring and engaging with its unique environment, from yoga classes to wildlife tours. No matter your interests, this charming coastal town provides an unforgettable experience for visitors.
Best Areas to Stay In
Downtown Puerto Viejo
Downtown Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a popular area to stay in during your visit to this charming fishing village. With its palm-fringed beaches and dense jungle, this town truly captures Costa Rica’s Caribbean essence, filled with Salsa and Reggae music, sunshine, and Creole dishes source.
There are several accommodation options in this area, ranging from luxurious to budget-friendly. Some of the top picks include:
- aWà Beach Hotel (Luxury)
- Villas del Caribe (Mid-range)
- Pagalù Hostel (Budget) source
Fun Fact: The Hotel Puerto Viejo, opened by surfer Kurt Van Dyke, has been around for 30 years, and is a warren of wooden rooms in the heart of the town source.
Playa Cocles is located just a short drive south of downtown Puerto Viejo. This area offers a more relaxed atmosphere, with a beautiful beach and great surfing conditions, making it the perfect place for surf-lovers or those in search of tranquility.
Accommodations here cater to a variety of budgets and preferences. One standout option is Aguas Claras Hotel, which features a Caribbean-Victorian style, massage room, open-air yoga studio, swimming pool, restaurant, and beautiful gardens that are home to monkeys, sloths, and butterflies source.
Playa Chiquita is another great area to consider staying in while visiting Puerto Viejo. Located between Playa Cocles and Playa Punta Uva, this beach offers a more secluded and peaceful setting, perfect for those looking to escape the crowds.
There are several charming accommodation options in Playa Chiquita, ranging from eco-lodges to beachfront cabanas. Be sure to explore the nearby jungle trails and hidden coves for a true off-the-beaten-path experience.
Things to do: In addition to exploring the beautiful beaches, visitors to Puerto Viejo can enjoy activities such as snorkeling, surfing, bike riding, wildlife watching, and sampling delicious local cuisine. Don’t forget to put on your dancing shoes and experience the vibrant nightlife, complete with live music and dancing, making your trip to Puerto Viejo an unforgettable one!
Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica offers a variety of accommodation options for travelers, catering to various budgets and preferences. In this section, we’ll explore the major types of accommodations available: Hotels and Resorts, Vacation Rentals, and Hostels.
Hotels and Resorts
There are numerous hotels and resorts available in Puerto Viejo, ranging from luxurious beachfront properties to more affordable, yet comfortable options. Some of the top hotels include:
- Coco Loco Lodge: A secluded property offering Caribbean-style bungalows set amidst the tropical lush greenery, just 150 meters from the beach.
- Terrazas del Caribe Aparthotel: This property features pool views, an outdoor pool, and a terrace, providing a relaxing atmosphere for guests.
- La Prometida: A beautiful boutique hotel offering an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a garden, and a terrace.
Vacation rentals are a popular option for those who prefer a more “home away from home” experience or are traveling with a group. They can range from modern apartments and condos to traditional Costa Rican houses. Some websites where you can find vacation rentals in Puerto Viejo include Airbnb, Vrbo, and HomeAway.
For budget-conscious travelers or those looking for a more social environment, hostels in Puerto Viejo offer a variety of options. Some of the top hostels in the area are:
- Pagalù Hostel: Known for its great location and friendly staff, this hostel provides a comfortable and affordable stay.
- Rocking J’s: A popular choice among backpackers, this hostel offers a lively atmosphere with hammocks, private rooms, and shared dorms.
Fun Fact: Puerto Viejo is known for its Afro-Caribbean influence, which is evident in the architecture, food, and music of the region.
Things to do: While staying in Puerto Viejo, be sure to explore the beautiful beaches, such as Playa Cocles and Playa Chiquita, visit the nearby Cahuita National Park, and immerse yourself in the local culture by enjoying a plate of traditional Caribbean cuisine.
Choosing the Right Place
When planning your trip to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, it’s essential to find the perfect place to stay. This section covers the factors to consider when choosing your accommodation, such as budget, proximity to attractions, safety, and comfort.
Accommodation in Puerto Viejo varies, so it’s important to consider your budget before booking. There are options for different price ranges:
- For luxury stays, consider the aWà Beach Hotel
- Mid-range options include Villas del Caribe
- Budget travelers can opt for Pagalù Hostel
Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the time of year, so make sure to check for deals on Booking.com as well.
Proximity to Attractions
Puerto Viejo offers a variety of attractions, so consider the places you want to visit when choosing your accommodation. If you’re looking for a beachfront location, you may want to stay near Playa Chino or Salsa Brava. For those interested in exploring the town and its nightlife, accommodations close to downtown Puerto Viejo might be more suitable.
Safety and Comfort
Safety should always be a top priority when choosing a place to stay. Look for accommodations that have security measures in place, such as 24-hour reception and secure parking. Reading reviews of previous guests will also provide valuable insights into the safety and comfort of the accommodation.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story
Did you know that tuk-tuks have recently become a popular way to get around Puerto Viejo? These small, three-wheeled vehicles are not only a convenient method for transportation but also a fun experience in themselves! A 10-minute tuk-tuk ride should cost around $4-6.
Things to do
Puerto Viejo offers a variety of activities to enjoy during your stay, including:
- Exploring the beautiful beaches
- Visiting the Jaguar Rescue Center
- Trying local cuisine at various restaurants
- Biking through the lush jungle trails
- Enjoying the vibrant nightlife
By considering these factors and keeping your interests in mind, you’ll be able to find the perfect place to stay during your trip to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.
Local Customs and Etiquette
When visiting Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, it’s essential to be aware of local customs and etiquette to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.
Costa Rica is a predominantly Catholic country, and locals generally appreciate visitors who respect their religious values. It’s best to avoid discussing sensitive topics such as pre-marital sex, abortion, and gay marriage. Costa Ricans are known for their politeness, so make sure to use proper manners, such as saying please and thank you, and not raising your voice in public. When visiting homes or establishments, avoid putting your feet on the furniture as this is considered disrespectful1.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story
During your stay in Puerto Viejo, you’ll likely come across the concept of “Pura Vida.” This phrase, which directly translates to “pure life,” is a cornerstone of Costa Rican culture and embodies their laid-back and positive approach to life. Locals use Pura Vida as a greeting, a farewell, and an expression of happiness and contentment. Embrace the Pura Vida spirit while enjoying your time in this tropical paradise2.
Things to do
Puerto Viejo offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Some must-visit destinations include:
- Beaches: Explore the beautiful beaches in the area, such as Playa Cocles for a relaxing day in the sun3 or Playa Chiquita, which is known as the best swimming beach in the region4.
- Wildlife: Visit nearby Cahuita National Park or Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge for a chance to see monkeys, sloths, and a variety of tropical birds.
- Culture: Immerse yourself in the Afro-Caribbean culture of Puerto Viejo through food, music, and dance. Make sure to try local dishes like rice and beans or Caribbean-style chicken.
- Adventure: For those seeking adventure, try activities such as snorkeling, surfing, or zip-lining through the lush rainforests surrounding Puerto Viejo.
Remember to respect local customs, enjoy the Pura Vida lifestyle, and make the most of your time in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.
In summary, Puerto Viejo offers a wide variety of accommodation options to suit every type of traveler. From budget-friendly hostels like Selina Puerto Viejo to beachside bungalows, you’ll be able to find the perfect spot to rest after a day of adventure.
This laid-back town is also known for its reggae-soaked atmosphere and activities for outdoor enthusiasts. With such a vibrant local culture and numerous natural attractions at your fingertips, you’ll never run out of things to do in Puerto Viejo.
Fun Fact: The nearby village of Cahuita is home to a stunning national park with over 2,711 acres of unspoiled jungle. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit this beautiful area for a day trip while staying in Puerto Viejo.
When it comes to planning your Puerto Viejo trip, the possibilities are endless. With its idyllic setting, warm locals, and a myriad of activities available at every turn, you’re sure to create unforgettable memories in this unique Costa Rican destination.
Enjoy your stay in Puerto Viejo, and may your travels be filled with unforgettable moments and experiences.