Are you going on a trip to Costa Rica and want to see its hippie side and bathe in the Caribbean beaches? Puerto Viejo de Talamanca has a special spirit that you will like
I’ll tell you what Puerto Viejo is like, what you can do and see in the area, how to get there and where to stay
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Puerto Viejo de Talamanca: the HIPPY face of Costa Rica
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Puerto Viejo is a small coastal town located in the south of Costa Rica and bathed by the Caribbean Sea. Artisans gather here, people who live traveling with little money, and people who have traded their old life for the beach and the sea.
The town itself is made up of hostels and hotels, restaurants, bars, a supermarket and clothing stores for tourists; that is to say, it is not a town entirely of local people, but rather the atmosphere is international.
Although tourists visited it, it is not overwhelming or overcrowded. It is a very quiet and relaxed place to spend a few days or even months. I have met quite a few foreigners who arrived one day and never returned to their country.
Playa Puerto Viejo is picturesque and welcoming. Fishermen’s boats rock on the shore and there’s a beached sailboat you can swim to.
Different birds can be seen constantly looking for fish, mostly pelicans, which are found everywhere; and sloths and monkeys live in the trees of the southern part of the coast.
At dusk you can walk to Playa Negra to watch the sunset, the sky turns pink and red, and it is impossible to count the number of different colors that can be seen in the sea and the trees.
What to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Puerto Viejo offers many different activities and beautiful places to see, as it is surrounded by beaches and close to two natural parks.
Below, I will tell you about some of the beaches and parks that are really worth visiting during your stay in the Limón region. I hope you enjoy it!
Playa Chiquita 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 very close to Chiquita beach and can be reached on foot. It is a virgin beach where you can snorkel and scuba dive, although the fun does not end here.
Right on the beach you can rent a kayak to take a tour of the lagoon and, with a bit of luck, you will see crocodiles! In addition, Punta Uva has a beautiful viewpoint from where you can see a beautiful view of the Caribbean coast.
Cocles Beach 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.
Playa Negra (Black Beach)
Playa Negra is located in the town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, and differs from the other beaches in the area due to the dark color of its sand. It is a very long beach (more than 10 km) and quiet, which makes it a good place to go running.
Another curious aspect of this place is the ship that has been stranded on the shore for years. You will be able to snorkel and see some small fish, since over time a small reef has been formed.
If you are interested in surfing or want to learn this sport, the waves of Playa Negra are ideal for beginners, and groups of people gather next to the sunken ship (either independently or as part of courses with an instructor).
MANZANILLO NATIONAL PARK
Manzanillo National Park offers much more than it may seem at first sight. The first thing you will see when you arrive there will be the wild beaches and their small coves with palm trees.
But it is also home to the best preserved coral reef in the Atlantic. And, for this reason, this visit is a good opportunity to practice snorkeling and diving.
Crocodiles, turtles and dolphins also live in the park in the wild. If you feel like seeing these beautiful animals, tours are organized where you can learn more about them.
Punta Mona is one of the areas of the Manzanillo National Park, which is characterized by receiving far fewer visitors and being a perfect place to unwind.
In Punta Mona there is only one small hotel on the beach itself, and it is surrounded by grass and hammocks where you can read or lie down to watch the sunset.
On both sides it has a beach for endless walks, and you can get there only by hiking or by boat from the main beach in Manzanillo.
CAHUITA NATIONAL PARK
Cahuita National Park is located north of Puerto Viejo and is easily accessible by bus. You can visit it walking along the beach or along the path that follows the coast through the jungle.
In Cahuita live different types of monkeys, one of them are howlers. These monkeys make a jaguar-like sound to communicate (don’t panic if you hear them!). You will also meet hungry raccoons who will want to steal your food.
If snorkeling is your thing, there are good places to see fish in the park, but you’ll have to rent a small boat to take you to the right spot (it’s a bit out to sea).
I hope you enjoy your visit to Playa Chiquita to the fullest, and have a great time getting to know the beaches of Puerto Viejo!
Is it worth visiting Puerto Viejo?
I really enjoyed my stay and it is a place that I highly recommend, both for its casual hippie style and for the landscape, nature and beaches. I would come back without hesitation for a second.
It is also very well connected, the bus runs along the coast to the north and south, and for approximately $1 or $2 a trip you can visit the surrounding places of interest.
How to get to Puerto Viejo
Below I tell you how to get there from two different places: San José (the capital) and Tortuguero.
How to get to Puerto Viejo from San José
The trip from San José is not a problem, and you can do it by bus or minibus. The journey takes a total of 4.5 to 5 hours to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.
👉 Check out the shuttle prices from San José to Puerto Viejo
I leave you all the detailed explanation of the trip from San José to Puerto Viejo, with extra information about the journey.
How to get to Puerto Viejo from Tortuguero
This is the most cumbersome route, since Tortuguero is isolated by road and can only be accessed by boat.
- The more comfortable option is to go by shuttle + boat. It is faster, since you save all the transfers that you have to do if you go by bus and they take you directly to the agreed place.
👉 Shuttle + boat prices from Tortuguero
- If you decide to go by bus + boat, you will have to make different transfers until you reach Puerto Viejo, and then take a last bus to Playa Chiquita (not the most comfortable option). I leave you all the steps to get to Puerto Viejo from Tortuguero. Remember to go with time to spare!
Tours in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a country with a wide variety of fauna and nature. You can visit volcanoes, national parks, towering waterfalls, sunbathe at the beach, go kayaking,…
There are different TOURS and ACTIVITIES that you can do during your trip, so you can make the most of your stay:
Where to stay in Puerto Viejo
When you visit Puerto Viejo, you can choose between quieter and more remote beaches; or the town that has more options and facilities.
The town of Puerto Viejo is the main area and where you will find most hotels, beach bars, restaurants, bars, craft or food markets, clothing stores, an information point and supermarkets.
If you want to stay here, I recommend that you look for an accommodation that is close to the beach, since the views are more beautiful and it is safer to go to see the sunset and if you want to drink something at night.
If you prefer more relaxed places and want to get away from the people and the daily comings and goings, you also have the possibility of staying at Chiquita beach, Cocles beach and different points of the coastal highway that goes from Cahuita to Manzanillo.
Although there are not as many shops as in Puerto Viejo, on the main road you will find accommodation and some restaurants and small supermarkets.
Below I will tell you a little more about these beaches and I attach the links so you can learn a little more and decide.