Known for its laidback attitude and famous for it's surfing, Puerto Viejo beckons visitors to come experience Costa Rica’s eccentric side. The village’s cultural influences are interesting to be sure: a mix of Afro-Caribbean, Bribri Indian, tico and hippyesque counterculture, this small port town is an anthropological study in itself. A mere 11 miles (18 km) from Cahuita, Puerto Viejo is accessible via Highway 36 or by simply walking south, along the beach.
Puerto Viejo has recently become a hit with tourists due to its cultural allure, stunning white-sand beaches, tropical vegetation and its proximity to national parks. Nearby Cahuita National Park and Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge offers visitors a chance to observe the region’s stunning wildlife, both of which are a short drive away.
Native American traditions are well established. Indigenous reserves dot Talamanca—as this southern region is referred to by its indigenous population—which serves as a virtual extension of the national parks system. The Asociación Talamanca de Ecoturismo y Conservación (ATEC) offers information and tours to visitors interested in the local indigenous culture. A grassroots organization, ATEC was founded to promote sustainable tourism and cultural expression amongst the mixed population in which it serves. The organization offers tours complete with guides at an extremely fair price.
"Amazing city! Loved it! Definitely want to go back here! Beaches are beautiful, great location to take a bike ride to the neighboring national parks. Many great restaurants (bread and chocolate, ice cream deelite, café viejo, bikini, ...)"
– Aug 2015
"This was our favorite spot during our 2 week stay in Costa Rica. The beaches are pristine and beautiful and the food is out of this world. We stayed for 5 days and never had one bad meal. You must rent a bike if you stay in this area. Most hotels either provide them, and if not, they will show you where you can rent them for around $8 a day. We traveled to Puerto Viejo in early October and not once did we get the feeling that it was touristy or overdone. You do need to be a little cautious at night, but if you're careful and aware you won't have any problems. It was a fantastic experience and we're sure to go back. "
– Sep 2015
"Jungles and Beaches! Pura Vida! It was a memorable experience and a great opener for our trip!"
– Apr 2015
"Tamara's restaurant was excellent food & value. The Monkey bke rental was great. Could give info on bus schedule ahead of time. Playa Manzanillo is worth visiting while in area. Can bike or bus. "
– Feb 2015
"We loved Puerto Viejo even despite the rain!! Definitely cycle down to Punta Uva!"
– Jan 2015