What To Do In Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
If you’re in for a chilled out, small beach town in Costa Rica with Caribbean vibes, then Puerto Viejo may need to be your next destination.
Expect reggae, Costa Rica-Caribbean fusion food, lots of palm trees and a beautiful stretch of beaches on this part of Southeastern Costa Rica. Grab some rum, rent a bike and get ready for slow “island” life (without, you know, having to get in a boat to go to a real island).
Here are a few things you can do in Puerto Viejo:
Go to a beach (or three)
Puerto Viejo is part of the Limon region of Costa Rica which is made up of a “downtown” area in Puerto Viejo (quotes because it is more of a center of town with a few blocks worth of restaurants and hotels). This is all right along the beach of Puerto Viejo, which stretches south toward the Panama border.
With Puerto Viejo, Cocles, Punta Uva, and Manzanillo, you have plenty of choices for beautiful beaches. Spend a day moving from beach to beach, or spread it out and go to a beach per day!
Playa Punta Uva was my favorite beach. There is plenty of space to lay out or swim, plus a viewpoint you can hike up to (just be careful as it can get slippery/muddy on the way up)!
Rent a bike
My favorite thing that we did during our time in Puerto Viejo was rent bikes and ride south from PV to Manzanillo. It is quiet with few cars coming in and out and is mainly flat the whole way (except for a hill or two by Manzanillo).
It was relaxing to bike down the road with palm trees and other greenery surrounding us on either side with birds chirping from up above.
There are some small cafes and bakeries along the way, so if you get hungry you can also stop somewhere for a bite!
There are a few cute boutiques in Puerto Viejo, ranging from local beach style fashion to more touristy. In the main center of town you’ll be able to walk around and pop into some shops if you’d like.
There is also a local market with stalls that is open daily.
My favorite was a boutique called Samoa which has clothing and accessories made by a local designer. I couldn’t resist getting some bracelets, and likely would’ve bought a whole new wardrobe if my budget (and luggage space) allowed!
What I really loved about Samoa was its customer service. The girl working there, Shelly, was so kind to let me hang out in the store after I paid since it started down pouring and I didn’t have my rain jacket with me. She offered me some fruit and we chatted about our families (her brother lives in California). It’s little moments like that that stand out and make the experience that much better!
Try the food
With its location being on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, there is a fusion of Costa Rican and Caribbean food. You’ll find yucca in many places - a fried yucca con queso or carne is so good!
There is some street food in town, which opens at 5pm.
Beware of the ants!
Ugh, the ants! I’m not the biggest fan of bugs (haha) but especially while traveling I tend to cope with them well. It’s just part of nature and traveling. But these ants are not friendly!
There are a few different species running around and they tend to bite your feet if you’re wearing sandals or barefoot. For me the bites didn’t leave a mark, it was more of a little prick - but definitely noticeable!
Make sure to watch your food when you eat outside at some places or on the beach, too! Keep it in a container. :)