Puerto Viejo

"abandoned boat in black sand beach"

Puerto Viejo is a small town and its surrounding area located on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. It is known for its beautiful beaches, lush rainforest, and laid-back vibe. Puerto Viejo is probably the most popular place in the Costa Rican Caribbean but the town still maintains an off-the grid atmosphere. As a result this destination is a top spot for travelers who want to get immersed in the local culture and explore a place that is not extremely touristy but still very accessible. The town is home to a diverse community of locals and expats, and its culture is a mix of Caribbean, indigenous, and Latino influences.

The main attraction of Puerto Viejo is its beaches, which offer opportunities for surfing, swimming, and sunbathing. The most popular beaches include Playa Cocles, Playa Chiquita, and Punta Uva and may be considered to be some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Costa Rica! The area is also known for its coral reefs, which offer great snorkeling and diving opportunities. Have in mind that the town of Puerto Viejo is small and most people refer to Puerto Viejo as the entire area from the actual town of Puerto Viejo to Punta Uva, which is 9 kilometers away. Visitors normally rent bicycles to move around the different beaches.

The town itself has a big Caribbean feel, with colorful buildings, street art, and a bustling market selling local crafts and fresh produce. There are also many restaurants and bars offering a mix of Caribbean, Latin American, and international cuisine. Besides visiting its perfect beaches, there are many opportunities for ecotourism and adventure activities, such as hiking in the rainforest, visiting wildlife reserves, and taking canopy tours.

Local’s tip:
Rent a bike and explore Cocles, Playa Chiquita, and Punta Uva which are all unique and extremely beautiful. Also, if you have time, make the trip one day to the town of Manzanillo and try to visit the Gandoca-Manzanillo wildlife refuge.


Plan your visit

Puerto Viejo and its surrounding area has grown a lot in recent years, which is why people are no longer only looking for accommodation in the actual town of Puerto Viejo but also in the neighboring beaches like Playa Chiquita and Cocles. This gives travelers the opportunity to pick from a huge range of options including big party hostels in the heart of the town, secluded luxury hotels in Playa Chiquita or even small cabins and villas spread along the long road in front of the Caribbean sea.

How to get there:
To get to Puerto Viejo you can either drive from San Jose, which is a journey of around 4.5 to 7 hours depending heavily on traffic and weather conditions, or take a bus. Buses going to Puerto Viejo only leave from San Jose and the bus route name is “Puerto Viejo de Talamanca” don’t confuse with “Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui”.

Bus options from San Jose:
The buses from San Jose are managed by Mepe and leave from Terminal Mepe in the heart of San Jose. Tel.: 2257-8129. The price for a one way ticket is $13 USD and can only be bought in person at the bus terminal. The journey takes 4 hours and 30 minutes.

Departure time options from San Jose: 6am, 8am, 10am, 2pm, 4pm
Return time options from Puerto Viejo: 3am, 5:30am, 9am, 12pm, 4pm



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