Playa Negra: a SUNKEN SHIP, Snorkeling and Coconuts in Puerto Viejo

Do you want to visit Playa Negra and see the ship aground during your stay in Puerto Viejo (Limón, Costa Rica)?

👉 In this post I tell you what makes Playa Negra a special place, what to do, its location and how to get there from San Jose and Tortuguero

Playa Negra (Costa RIca)

  1. Black Beach in Puerto Viejo
  2. Things to do in Playa Negra
  3. How to get to Playa Negra
  4. Tours and activities in Puerto Viejo
  5. Beaches near Playa Negra
  6. Is it a safe place to travel?
  7. Eating Vegan in Costa Rica

Playa negra (Puerto Viejo)

If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica (👉COSTA RICA GUIDE), you should know that it is a country characterized by the beauty of its beaches, mountains, volcanoes and the diversity of its wildlife.

If you’re not a costa rican citizen, in this link you can check the ✅ SANITARY REQUIREMENTS and get a VISA. Also, to help you travel without spending too much, here you’ll find a 💥20% DISCOUNT on your TRAVEL INSURANCE and 🏠10€/10$ DISCOUNT on ACCOMODATION

In Puerto Viejo de Talamanca there are two main beaches: Puerto Viejo beach and Playa Negra, which is characterized by the dark and shiny color of its sand. And the best thing is that in both there is a sunken ship!

Playa Negra is located between Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and the Cahuita National Park, and stretches for more than 10 km. The sand is very fine and dark in color, hence its name.

Nature lovers will be pleased to know that Playa Negra has been awarded the Ecological Blue Flag, which is an award given to beaches with hygienic and environmentally friendly standards.

Wha to do in PLAYA NEGRA

This beach in Costa Rica holds many surprises for you: on the shore there is a ship aground that, due to the amount of plants that have grown (there is even a tree!), must have been resting there for years.

These are the activities you can practice on this beautiful beach:


When I went, I was snorkeling around the sunken ship (following the walls), and you can see some fish swimming happily, and going in and out of the ship. If you dare, you can even get inside the boat.

The snorkeling is not spectacular, but it is fun to see how the fish have been taking over the stranded ship and have made it their own home. I suppose that, with time and the passing of the years, it will take on the form of a reef and will gain in variety of fauna.

Playa negra puerto viejo costa rica


If you want to learn to surf during your stay in Puerto Viejo, this beach is a very comfortable option; since you will have many facilities nearby (restaurants, hotels, hostels, supermarkets,…).

The waves are moderate to strong and it turns out to be a good place to start surfing. They rent boards in the area and if you need them to teach you the basics, you can sign up for a course with an instructor.

Another option is the same area would be Cocles beach. This is a little further away from what would be the tourist center, but at the same time you will enjoy more tranquility.

go running

During the day, Playa Negra is the best option to go running. The beach is so long that you will not finish it and it is flat enough, although depending on the tide the sand near the beach is a bit too steep.

The best time to practice sports is early in the morning or in the afternoon when the sun goes down, keep in mind that in Costa Rica temperatures are usually high and there is a lot of humidity.

coconuts + vultures

You will also do sports with company since the vultures are always around there, going around and looking for food.

If you are thirsty, just comment that the beach is full of palm trees with coconuts, so you can look for one and drink it right there.

Opening them is much easier than it seems; So you can see how it’s done, this is a little tutorial on how to open a green coconut with your hands and without a machete. It will be very useful for when you find yourself on virgin beaches, or want to feel like a castaway in full adventure.

Playa negra puerto viejo costa rica

sunset + stars

The sunset is very beautiful at Playa Negra: the sky is dyed with intense pinks and reds that contrast with the color of the sand, and by incorporating a sunken ship into the scene, it becomes a sight worthy of a movie.

If you wait a little longer until it gets dark, you will be able to observe a spectacular starry sky, since very little light reaches the beach. Also, if you illuminate the black sand with your mobile, it shines and it seems as if there are more stars under your feet.

I recommend that you go to see the sunset near the abandoned ship, as it makes the moment even more special; although there will also be more people and, if you want to be alone, you will have to move away a bit.

How to get to playa Negra (Puerto Viejo)

To get there from the center of Puerto Viejo, you will see on the map that it is just a walk. And, if you come by car from further away, there is space to park; In addition, the roads are paved and are kept in good condition.

If you want to rent a bike to get to the beach, you can find them for $5 a day, although don’t expect to find a new bike with gears for this price. They are rather simple.

Although if you are in San José or Tortuguero, I will leave you with two articles: the first explaining how to get to Puerto Viejo from San Jose, and the second to get to Puerto Viejo from Tortuguero.

👉 Minibús from San José to Puerto Viejo

This is the location, as you can see it is next to the town itself:


The fauna and natural landscapes of Costa Rica are its greatest attraction. In this country you can hike near volcanoes, bathe in blue rivers, admire its towering waterfalls and fall asleep in the sand on its beaches.

This is a list with tours and activities so you can enjoy your trip to Costa Rica to the fullest:

Beaches close to Playa Negra

In this part of the Costa Rican Caribbean there are many beaches to enjoy the sun and the sand, and where to practice different activities. I name some of these beaches below, do not miss them!

playa cocles

It is one of the best beaches for surfing in the Caribbean area of Costa Rica. On the beach you will find different people renting surfboards and it is a good place for beginners and, in addition, it will be easy for you to find an instructor.

Playa Cocles is a bit far from Puerto Viejo, but you will find places to stay, restaurants and a small supermarket.


It is a very quiet beach that receives much less tourism than Cocles or Puerto Viejo beach. The place is very nice although it does get a bit crowded on the weekend.

Playa Chiquita has small natural pools where you can snorkel and children can swim without worries. The beach is natural with golden sand and the water is calm.


Punta Uva is a very versatile beach. There you can enjoy different activities (such as kayaking, diving or snorkeling).

It has a cooler area with a small forest with huge beautiful trees, which is ideal for a picnic, and it also has a very nice viewpoint where you can appreciate a panoramic view of the entire coast.


Manzanillo is a natural park made up of different beaches where you can see dolphins, enjoy virgin beaches and you can even learn about the nesting of turtles.

The beaches are really beautiful, with palm trees full of coconuts, small secluded coves and kilometers of sand. It is an unmissable place and you must visit if you are in Talamanca.

Is it a safe place to travel?

Costa Rica is a moderately dangerous country, where nothing should happen to you if you go carefully and take precautions. Remember to follow these recommendations:

  • In case of robbery, do not resist physically.
  • Do not show a high purchasing power, that is, do not go with jewels, bags, etc … that are expensive.
  • Be careful if you go out at night, and stay in crowded places where you are surrounded by other people.
  • Thefts are usual, so don’t go with the camera or mobile in your hand or hang out of your neck.
  • Try to avoid carrying the backpack on the back. Put it in front of you, or use a belt pouch or a cross bag.

Personally, I spent 3 months traveling alone in Costa Rica (I visited San José, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Dominical, Uvita, Bay Drake and Puerto Jiménez) and I did not find myself in any really serious situation.

Going down the street with the camera, several Costa Rican people approached and warned me that they were carefully with robberies, since they told me that they are very frequent.

In my case, during the trip they tried to steal 2 times and, luckily, I realized on time and I could avoid it. In any case, it is always a good idea to have travel insurance that can compensate you financially and help you if a medical emergency occurs.

👉 If you are interested in traveling alone, I recommend this article about the reasons and benefits of traveling alone and this other article with tips for traveling alone being a woman. I encourage you to try it since it is a great and very profitable experience for oneself.

Eating Vegan in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is not a country faced with vegan food. Anyway, they have some traditional dishes that are vegan or that you can ask without egg or sauces such as the pico of rooster (rice with beans for breakfast), black bean soup or rice with vegetables.

You should always ask if the purés or soups are made with some type of dairy product or meat broth, since at first glance they might seem vegan dishes but not be.

In San José you can find some vegan restaurants, but when you leave the capital the offer is very limited or non -existent. Next, I make three recommendations and in this link you can read tips to travel vegan.

  1. Try to stay in hotels that are characterized by cooking vegan and vegetarian dishes. This is the best option and the most practical for not having to be looking for places where to eat comfortable without always repeating the same dishes.
  2. Before making a tour, always comment that you are vegan or vegetarian, so that they can adapt the food.
  3. Costa Rica is a country where you can find a variety of fresh products (fruits and vegetables) to prepare salads and breakfast with fruits. In any city or town, you will easily find some supermarket or stalls on the street where you can buy groceries.

This is all about Playa Negra! I hope that the information you have found in this post has been useful to you, and that your experience in Costa Rica is unforgettable.