Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica, is a small town on the southern Caribbean coast of this beautiful country. It has become one of Costa Rica’s top tourism destinations.

Costa Rica photo
Puerto Viejo beach; © Costa Rica Tourist Board

Like other small towns of the Costa Rican Caribbean, for much of its history, it was a small, sleepy, timeless place that was mostly forgotten by the rest of Costa Rica.

Locals lived off the bounties of the sea and the land and had little access or contact with other places in their own country.

The local culture was a mix of Jamaicans, indigenous Bribri people, and a few colonists from other parts of Costa Rica.

As tourism grew in Costa Rica, and the Caribbean coast was discovered by travelers from other countries, Puerto Viejo slowly grew as a tourist destination but kept its small-town dynamic.

A lot of travelers liked Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica so much that they ended up staying and opened tourism-related businesses during the 1990s.

Since then, Puerto Viejo has truly come into its own as one of the most popular destinations for tourism on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast.

It’s especially popular among young backpackers traveling through Latin America.

They come to Puerto Viejo to learn how to surf, meet other travelers, visit nearby jungles, and for lack of a better word, “party”. However, despite some rumors to the contrary, they aren’t the only tourists that flock to Puerto Viejo.

Puerto Viejo: A Destination for Everybody

As tourism infrastructure has increased in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, so has the construction of more upscale hotels and restaurants.

These aren’t multi-story hotels, but small eco-hotels that fit in nicely with the local, laid back, Caribbean scene.

Many are located on the beach and most are frequented by older tourists as opposed to young backpackers.

This variety of accommodations and visitors combined with the relaxed attitude of Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica makes for a fun, friendly, vacation dynamic suitable for travelers in search of a place that has enough tourism infrastructure without being over-developed.

Things to Do and Tours

Puerto Viejo has plenty to offer and many tourists spend most of their Costa Rica vacation in the area.

The small, friendly town is a great place to walk around and shop for handcrafted art, dine at gourmet restaurants (The “Pecora Nera” is often called the best Italian restaurant in the country), or sip coffee at a local café.

Beach-goers only need to walk a few blocks to get to the picturesque, Caribbean beach, and can sign up for snorkeling or diving tours to reefs in the area.

Tours are also offered to local medicinal gardens, the rain forests of Gandoca-Mazanillo Wildlife Refuge, and to gorgeous waterfalls that pour out of the verdant green hills above town.

Visitors to Puerto Viejo also have the option of going horseback riding on the beach, doing a real Costa Rica canopy tour, or relaxing and rejuvenating at the Pure Jungle Spa.

Whether travelers to Costa Rica are looking for adventure, excitement or relaxation, they can get all of the above and more at Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
February 17, 2020

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