Puerto Viejo, once a quiet fishing village on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast is known today for its Afro-Caribbean flavor, laid back vibes, and healthy living. People who love to travel off the beaten path are drawn here to celebrate life and enjoy an authentic travel experience.
Puerto Viejo has recently become a preferred destination for travelers due to its rich culture, stunning Caribbean beaches, tropical flora, abundant wildlife and its proximity to national parks.
Located 4-5 hours from San Jose, Puerto Viejo is not a typical tourist destination. However, the trip to the Caribbean side is easy to plan and the landscape is beautiful! There are a few different options for travel (interbus, private car, charter flight) and Samasati is able to arrange this ahead of time, so you won’t have to stress about it.
So, why is Puerto Viejo so amazing for a travel lover? Here are 7 reasons why Puerto Viejo is not a Typical Tourist Destination:
- No fast food chains. That’s right! You won’t be finding a McDonalds or Pizza Hut in Puerto Viejo. However, you’ll find some of the most unique and delicious Caribbean dishes found in Costa Rica. Looks for a few of these local dishes – Caribbean Chicken Casado, Rondon, Ceviche, and Patí. You can also find great Italian, French, and Asian cuisine. Plus, the local Caribbean Chocolate is outstanding!
- Veggie, vegan, and gluten free. Puerto Viejo region offers selections for vegans and vegetarians as well as those who need glute-free options. Many of the locals try to live a conscious lifestyle including a healthy diet, so finding these items in many restaurants is easy.
- Bikes. Riding a bike is the easiest and most chosen way to get around in Puerto Viejo. You can rent a bike in town around 6 USD/day, with weekly or monthly options available. Many bikers enjoy the ride from Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo where you can stop at beautiful beaches along the way.
- Best Beaches. The beaches are peaceful and quiet most days. They feel secluded and are usually close to the jungle. You won’t find deckchairs, so bring a blanket or a beach towel. Some of the most beautiful beaches found in the Caribbean are located in this region.
- Farmer’s Market. The local farmer’s market takes place every Saturday in the center of Puerto Viejo. You’ll find fresh fruits and veggies, as well as other great organic products such as local chocolate, cheese, kombucha, desserts and more. Come early and expect it to be running from 6 am till 12 pm.
- Unique local attractions. There is literally something for every type of traveler in the Puerto Viejo region. From stunning wildlife parks (Cuhuita Park, Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, Jaguar Rescue Center, Sloth Sanctuary) to jungle adventures, water activities, and cultural tours with the local indigenous tribes.
- Nature and wildlife. You don’t have to journey far to observe amazing wildlife. You’ll likely spot some monkeys, sloths, crabs, lizards, toucans or butterflies while riding your bike on the road to Manzanillo. Samasati also has several accessible trails within the 240 acre sanctuary and offers a jungle tour led by wildlife expert, Scott McKenzie.