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Puerto Viejo

Practical information on Puerto Viejo

  • Relaxation
  • Encounters with locals
  • Beach / Seaside Resort
  • Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Music
  • Handicraft
  • Sustainable Tourism
3 / 5 - 4 reviews
How to get there
Five hours by car from San José
When to go
From November to April
Minimum stay
2 to 3 days

Reviews of Puerto Viejo

Eva Martin Seasoned Traveller
181 written opinions

Flagship beach resort of the Caribbean coast where English seems to be the main language.

My suggestion:
If you like so-so festivals full of pseudo rastas then you're in the right place. The rest of you, don't bother, there are lots of other options in the area. 
My review

Puerto Viejo is the place to go for tourists looking for "coolness". Beautifully situated by the sea it's a famous surf spot. And, a bit like everywhere when you are visiting Costa Rica, the scenery is breathtaking, exotic flora and fauna, wonderful beaches...In short, seductive.

But the magic doesn't work here. It's not that I want authenticity at any price, or that I'm anti partying. But my short stay at Puerto Viejo left me feeling empty. It may be because the village is so small that everyone is on top of each other and that in order to communicate with everyone you need to be skilled in onomatopoeia...And it's certain that the expats acting like conquerors don't help matters.

If you would still like to go there, don't forget that swimming is not encouraged because the current is too dangerous. 

Baptiste Rutko Seasoned Traveller
27 written opinions

The ideal place to get both away from it all and out into a natural green environment, and in an environmentally friendly manner. In short, Puerto Viejo is one destination in Costa Rica
where you can enjoy the very definition of a relaxing, peaceful holiday.

My suggestion:
If you don't arrive by hire car, get a bicycle locally so that you can take full advantage of everything Puerto Viejo has to offer: wild plants and animals, and food as fresh as can be.
My review

Once you get to Costa Rica, Puerto Viejo is not exactly the easiest of places to reach.. Firstly, you have to brave the endless freight truck traffic between San José and Puerto Limón. Secondly, Puerto Viejo is located at the extreme southeastern point of Costa Rica. Afterwards, continue on to Panama or return via the same main roads you arrived by. Regardless of these considerations, when visiting Costa Rica it really is worth the effort to make the trip to Puerto Viejo!

Once arrived there, you feel as if you really have travelled away somewhere, like being on an island.

I strongly recommend you visit the restaurant run by a certain Laszlo, a Hungarian, to try the incredibly fresh and tasty fish served there (there's no menu: only the day's catch). Don't leave it too late to get a table there as they don't keep large amounts in stock, for freshness reasons!

Alicia Munoz Seasoned Traveller
87 written opinions

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a small town located on the Caribbean coast of southeastern Costa Rica, close to the Panamanian border.

My suggestion:
This is the kind of town you should head for if you are looking to really get away from it all (by contrast to the very touristy Nicoya Peninsula), and it is the ideal place to go in Costa Rica if you want to devote your time to surfing and yoga.
My review

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a small enclave of tranquility surrounded by jungle, and I really adored its characteristically cool, hip atmosphere, typical of the Caribbean. Its idyllic surfing beaches and multicolored shacks give it the air of a hippy community untouched by time.

A multicultural town, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is impregnated with Afro-Caribbean culture and the heritage associated with the Jamaican and Chinese immigration of the early 20th century.There are several Bribri and Cabécar Indian reservations that you can visit, as long as you obtain a permit.

This traditionally authentic ambiance endures today despite the influx of North American tourists attracted by the region's gentle way of life. The region is also good for wildlife spotting and scuba diving. Its underwater sites are amongst the country's richest, and a simple walk along the beach is all it takes for you to see this for yourself. There are shells and sponges of a variety of colors you can collect there.

sonia goupil Seasoned Traveller
12 written opinions

A small village in the province of Limon, famous for its food, both traditional and modern, and its lively reggae nights. It's where you really get to understand the expression " PURA VIDA ".​

My suggestion:
Leave the city behind and enjoy the good times and chance meetings that can happen in Puerto Viejo. Don't underestimate the spot, let yourself be guided by the salsa brava which surfs the village.​
My review

I stayed in Puerto Viejo during my trip to Costa Rica and I totally fell for the charm of this unusual spot, for the kindness and casualness of its inhabitants, but also for the way they think "green" and "organic".

I spent four months in a little part of paradise, cut off from the world so that I could really focus on the values of peace and love. I met some wonderful people, ate delicious food and tasted fruits I didn't know existed...and I saw scenery and wild animals that reminded me how important it is to preserve nature.

Puerto Viejo may be pura vida but it's also about green and responsible sustainable tourism: posters about environmental responsibility line the whole of the main street and you feel they are really preoccupied by, and interested in, nature, and in protecting " madre tierra ".

I experienced some amazing things: surf, the jungle, animals, food, culture, mosquitoes, ants, storms, torrential rain, bike riding, multiculturalism...I recommend Puerto Viejo to everyone, anyone can find their paradise there :)

Tours and travel ideas Puerto Viejo