Puerto Viejo Costa Rica is a small, Caribbean, chilled-out surf town and is fast becoming one the best places to go in Costa Rica. With so many things to do in Puerto Viejo, the laid-back Latino lifestyle fused with oodles of Caribbean cool, plus the picture-perfect beaches and world-class surf make it a must-see destination on your journey through Costa Rica.
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How to get to Puerto Viejo
Easily accessible by bus from San Jose, or rent a car and drive the winding roads through palm trees, primary rainforest, and banana plantations for around 5 hours and you’ll find yourself in a traveler’s paradise. We had a car of our own and had already been exploring Tortuguero National Park for 4 days.
Great things to do in Puerto Viejo
On our first day we had planned something we were both really excited about – swimming with horses! Of all the things to do in Puerto Viejo, we were looking forward to this the most. We’ve both ridden horses a certain amount when we were younger but that was a long time ago. Caribe Horse was a 5-minute drive from the hotel towards Punta Uva, with a house and stables set back from the beach, in an open field with giant-eared Indian cows and calves, horses, and foals. Annie and Pauline got us saddled up and familiarised us with the horses, showing us how to sit properly, direct the horse left and right, stop and go, then we set off towards the beach.
This must be by far the most exciting and enchanting way to explore the local beaches. Riding between trees and galloping along beaches, dipping in and out of perfect turquoise water, before facing your horse into the horizon and wading into the warm Caribbean Sea, this has to be one of the best things to do in Costa Rica and is a memory that will stay with us forever.
With only one more night and a half day left, we chose to just relax on the beach and by the pool, getting ready for our journey back to San Jose the following day. However, if you have more time, there really are a lot of things to do in Puerto Viejo, especially if you allow yourself more time in this stunning little corner of the world.
Try to take on the infamous wave which attracts surfers from the world over.
Explore the beaches, with sheltered coral reef pools and black sand reduced from volcanic rocks.
Check out the local reggae bars and dance clubs in town, then try to get up early for the Saturday Farmer’s Market, where fresh fruit and vegetables mingle with international culinary talent, like Italian bread, handmade pastries, chocolate, Greek yogurt, it’s endless!
Most importantly though, just relax!
Find accommodation in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Where to stay in Puerto Viejo
There are plenty of great and inexpensive hostels in Puerto Viejo, the best options we found were La Ruka Hostel for being close to the town center and its great bicycle rental scheme, while Walaba Hostel & Beach Houses were set in the beautiful Punta Uva, just 6km outside of Puerto Viejo, if you prefer a little more isolation and tranquillity. Both had dorm beds for less than $15 per night.
We finally decided that we would treat ourselves to a couple of nights of luxury, so we chose to stay with Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel at Cocles beach, just 5 minutes from Punta Uva.
When we arrived we were taken aback by the design and styling; a kind of fusion of minimalist Oriental softened with timber floors, bamboo, and gardens of lush tropical vegetation. Swimming in the sizeable pool felt like bathing in the jungle, with various species of palms, grasses, and plants towering over the pathways.
The stylish rooms took minimalist boutique to a whole new level – floor to ceiling white, punctuated with blocks of a single color, which miraculously changed from one day to the next. When we arrived the room was white and orange, then changed to blue when we came back the second day! The bed was big and comfortable with AC and a think white duvet, with more jungle right outside on the terrace.
Breakfast in the restaurant was served from a great menu of local dishes, tweaked and twisted into something interesting and new.
For polished, yet laid-back stylish luxury, blended with nature and touches of individuality, this is probably the best place to stay in Puerto Viejo. Check out their availability and reviews here.
Note: We were invited guests by the hotel and all opinions and text are all mine!
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