Puerto Viejo

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Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a small coastal town in Caribbean Costa Rica in the province of Limón. It is popular with surfers and backpackers. This is an area where foreigners are buying and building. There are two gorgeous National Parks nearby - Cahuita and Manzanillo, and it rains more than on the Pacific side, which is why it is so lush and green with the rainforest coming down to the sea. Clear water, coconut palms, great surf and a laid-back Caribbean atmosphere make Puerto Viejo a favorite among travelers. Located on the Caribbean Coast, about an hour south of Limon, Puerto Viejo is the center of activity between the smaller villages of Cahuita and Manzanillo. The relaxed, seaside town is framed by jungle, turquoise seas, banana plantations and scenic rivers. Formerly a small fishing village, Puerto Viejo has grown rapidly in recent years. Avid surfers, drawn to the famous Salsa Brava waves, have made Puerto Viejo a hotspot on the surfing circuit. The center of town now has many souvenir and surf shops, bars, restaurants, hotels and tour companies. True to its beach location and Caribbean ambiance, bikes and pedestrians dominate road traffic along the coastal roads. With its blend of Afro-Caribbean descendants, expat Europeans and indigenous Costa Ricans, Puerto Viejo charms visitors with a unique mix of people and cultures. Rastafari culture has a firm foothold in the town, and many Rastas sell handmade jewelry and other wares along the town’s vibrant roadside. (less...) (more...)

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Points of Interest in Puerto Viejo

Tropical forest surrounds the village and palm trees line the beach, adding to Puerto Viejo’s natural beauty. Travelers can glimpse spectacular wildlife in Cahuita National Park or the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, which border the town to its north and south, respectively. Just south of Puerto Viejo, visitors will discover the sublime beaches of Playa Cocles, Playa Chiquita and Punta Uva. The dirt road connecting the villages is often in poor shape and full of potholes, though road repair vehicles labor daily to improve conditions. Beachfront cabins, restaurants and shops line the street, almost all the way to Manzanillo. There is no shortage of accommodations in the area; numerous budget hostels cater to surfers and young backpackers that frequent the area, while posh resorts offer comfort and luxury along with impressive ocean views.

Black and white sand beaches extend for miles; they are wide and often deserted, offering stretches ideal for walking and sunbathing. Snorkeling is excellent when the water is calm, and nearby Cahuita and Manzanillo are home to beautiful, living coral reefs that provide some of the best snorkeling in Costa Rica.

  • The beaches are gorgeous, but like everywhere in Central America, watch those riptides.
  • There are beautiful birds, butterflies and animals to be seen.
  • There is also the Iguana Conservation Tour. At Iguana Verde Foundation, you can check the tour futures at '
  • Refugio de gandoca de Manzanillo:the beauty of this refuge is incredible because of its forest, lagoons, coral, reefs and white sand beaches and is the most exotic place of the entire South Caribbean coast. This refuge protects 4500 ha.of sea; 15km of coast and 5000 ha of plants and hills which maximum height is 115 mt.
  • Indian's reserve in High talamanca and rite with shaman : To come to the most recondite of the Alta Talamanca,

Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Gandoca-Manzanillo

Black Sand Beach

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About Puerto Viejo


Before the Spanish arrival, the Bribri, Kekoldi and Cabecar indigenous peoples were the primary inhabitants of Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean. Later, Afro-Caribbean immigrants arrived, many from Jamaica, and settled in the coastal towns of Puerto Viejo, Punta Uva, Manzanillo and Monkey Point. Because of their influence, many Puerto Viejo natives today speak English as their first language.

Until the late 1970’s, Puerto Viejo was relatively isolated from the rest of Costa Rica. In 1979, a new road connected the small village to San Jose and the Central Valley. In 1986, electricity arrived, supplying light and other important conveniences to the town. Private phone lines became available in 1996, and high-speed internet was offered in 2006. Today, Puerto Viejo is as modern as any beach town, though it still retains its original charm.


  • Rent a bike. Expect to pay USD5 per day. Ride it the full 26km round trip to Manzanillo and back. Make it a day trip. Each time you see a side road leading to the ocean, follow it for a hundred meters or so and you will usually find a beautiful secluded beach. It's a long but easy, flat ride on a mostly paved road. If you'd like to cut the ride short you could make your destination Punta Uva.
  • Surfing at Playa Cocles. The Caribbean coast is known for having a rasta-mentality, but it also has a strong native culture. The town's most famous spot is Salsa Brava just in front of town and there are good waves on Playa Cocles too. The swell comes during the dry season, roughly from December to April. Other time of the year the sea is extremally flat.
  • Delroy's Tours, Inquire at Veronica's Place,  (506) 2750 0263 or (506) 8810 1369 or (506) 8918 3238, e-mail: veronicasplace@gmail.com. Tours include a visit to the indian reserve with a tour of an organic chocolate farm and waterfall visit, as well as a tour to a sloth sanctuary which includes wildlife viewing by canoe. Excellent bilingual guide, highly recommended.
  • Cocles beach (Playa Cocles) lies just 1,5km from Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, a small village known for its mixture of indios Brì Brì, Caribbean black culture, and sheltered by Gandoca-Manzanillo natural reserve on the brink of the Panamanian border.All the wonders of primordial tropical paradise can be found here: palm trees swinging on tranquil beaches, the tones of purple, orange and red merging into the sea at sunset, accompanied by a soundtrack of reggae, calypso music and exotic birdsong.The region extends from Limon to the border with Panama. Fine beaches will receive you with its white sand, yellow, grey and black.


  • Beach Hut, Run by Elias Hernandez, an eccentric Venezuelan chef, trained in France. Delicious gourmet food at reasonable prices. Pig roast every Saturday. Located across the street from the Diamante liquor store on the way to Cocles beach.
  • Chili Rojo, British run Thai fusion cuisine. Sushi night every Monday: all you can eat sushi for only 6,000 colones. Located on the top floor of the shopping center on the main street, across from A.T.E.C. Great views from the balcony bar.
  • De Paso, Argentinian-run restaurant on the wooded path to Cocles, just 20 meters from the beach. Excellent tacos and daily seafood specials. They are well known for their baked goods.

  • Pan Pay, Right on the beach front. Good Bakery. breakfast, excellent coffee, decent prices. Run by two guys from Spain. A very popular spot in the morning.
  • Pizza Boruca, Tasty pizza by the slice. They also sell delicious Argentinian empanadas.
  • See food Mediterraneo, pure Italian food. +506 2750 0758. By Totem Hotel Beach resort-, Located in Playa Cocles.This two-story Restaurant Mediterraneo has a spectacular terrace overlooking the sea, and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything is homemade here, including bread, pasta, Romagnola piadina ( flat bread typical of Italy’s Emilia Romagna region ),and desserts. You will find a very friendly atmosphere where tropical elements combined all together create a nice environment for your dinner. Choose from menu among the several salads, or different kind of pasta as spaghetti, ravioli, tagliatelle…seasoned with the seafood.Managed by chef Nicolo' Bareti, the high quality dishes will transport your palate to far off lands.
  • Soda Lydia, Casados with Caribbean Sauce. Good value.
  • Peace and Love Bread and Coffee +506 2750 0758. By Totem Hotel. Located in Playa Cocles. Everything is homemade here, including bread, pasta, Romagnola piadina (flat bread typical of Italy´s Emilia Romagna region) and desserts. Peace and Love specializes in Italian cuisine with Latin American flavor. You will find a very friendly atmosphere where tropical elements combined all together create a nice environment for your lunch. Choose from the menu among the several salads. or different kind of pasta as spaghetti, ravioli, tagliatelle seasoned with seafood that the Caribbean Ocean offers: shrimps, crabs, lobster, combined with fresh vegetables.
  • Tasty Waves Cantina. Great surfer bar, run by two Awesome Americans. Great tacos with homemade tortillas and awesome wings. Tuesday nights are known as "Tasty Tuesdays" and are the wildest night in Puerto Viejo. Free WIFI and billiards. USD$ 1-7.
  • Veronica's Place, Main Street, 2nd Floor of Color Caribe, across from Terraventura,  (506) 2750 0263 or (506) 8810 1369 or (506) 8918 3238. Very good Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw Food (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner), offering great quality dishes with many options to choose from. (Organic fruits and vegetables are grown on their local family farm.) Choose from different kinds of meat-substitutes (you won't taste a difference) as well as speciality home-made juices. Veronica is a very nice person and she will definitively find something for you, taking into consideration food allergies and special requests. Veronica also offers classes in vegetarian, vegan and raw cooking with a Caribbean flair.
  •    Sel et Sucre, 100m from the bus stop (Puerto Viejo Centro),  +506 27500636, e-mail: seletsucre@gmail.com. noon-9:30 PM. A unique place for tasty French crepes (savory or sweet), salads, waffles, fruit juices, coffee.


  • Totem Surf Shop +506 2750 0758. Located at the best surf spot ( the beach break). This center is fully equipped with various models of Banzaii, Premiere, and RRD surfboards, available to rent to surfers of all levels. Private and customisable classes available. Instruction packages include 1 lesson each day and a one-on-one private lesson in the morning between 8-10AM.
  • Luluberlu (50 mts. sur Cafe Viejo),  (506)2750 0394. from 9am to 9pm. Luluberlu sale local designer & exclusive collection of clothing, lamps, mirror, plate, mosaic, furniture, painting, jewellery and souvenir made by local artist

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on Wikivoyage.