I heart Puerto Viejo Costa Rica so much. Can you tell?
We fell in love with Puerto Viejo Costa Rica -- the one on the beach, also called Puerto Viejo de Talamanca -- the minute we saw it. Some guidebook writers, who are apparently fun-haters, said PV was not even worth seeing, but they are so wrong. It's full of small independent shops and restaurants, set along the clear waters of the Caribbean, full of locals and visitors pedaling bikes all over town. What's not to love?
Where to stay: Cocles Beach!
We did a lot of research about where to stay in Puerto Viejo, and we ended up with a super-cute little cabin in the jungle for just $40/night.
Check it out for yourself here. If you want to go, book ahead.
We loved staying here and were very happy with the privacy and secluded "jungly" feeling. It's really close to Puerto Viejo, though, and a gorgeous beach called Cocles. Have fun, people! Tell 'em La Gringa sent you. :)
Beach scene in Puerto Viejo
The town of Puerto Viejo is set along the beach. You can hear it wherever you are, and it's easy to stop for beach-bathing anytime you want. We loved buying a beer at the corner store and hanging out on the beach at night, especially when a reggae band was playing at a nearby bar. Muy romantico!
Eating in Puerto Viejo is fun for your mouth-hole
The seafood you eat at night was caught earlier in the day. The beef is local and incredibly tender, coconut is in everything, and cuisines range from pizza to "tico tipical" Costa Rican cuisine to local Caribbean-style meals.
You will not be sorry you ate in Puerto Viejo.
But where, Gringa? Where?
Here are a few of my recommendations:
De Paso is just a little south of town, an easy stroll or bike ride from the center of PV. (Remember, this is a small town -- you can walk anywhere.) We loved it so much that we went almost every night during our visit. It's a magical place, situated on the beach. The dining room floor is sand, and it's candle-lit. Great food, reasonable prices, sweet waitstaff, and a grill going on weekends. We love De Paso! We miss it. (This photo doesn't do it justice, but I'm not a great photographer. Argh.)
Other favorites in Puerto Viejo Costa Rica include:
Elena Brown's Restaurant. Great, GREAT Caribbean food with a kick. We met Elena and her daughter and loved them. But we loved Elena's coconut rice and beans like nobody's business. Just stay on your bike a little past De Paso, slightly south of PV, and you'll see it on the right.
Jammin'. (Downtown Puerto Viejo Costa Rica) You can get all sorts of traditional local food as well as international stuff like falafels at Jammin'. It is a very cool place, decorated in Caribbean style, with two levels, Marley playing in the background. The agua sapo rocked my world. But: with one very notable exception, the waitstaff's attitude toward us ranged from indifferent to almost hostile. Why? We behaved ourselves. It was worth it, though, for the great food and cool atmo. They even have dominoes and other games you can play and are, in theory, open evenings.
Puerto Viejo Bakery. Near Elena Brown's just south of town, they've got a toast trio that gave new meaning to breakfast. Try the chocolate rolls, too.
Organica Botanica. An easy bike ride down the main road takes you from one scene of incredible charm and beauty to the next. On our ride south to Punta Uva, we stopped for an amazingly delicious veggie lunch at Organica Botanica. We also met a shaman! So fun.
Ready for your vacation to dreamland? Yes! Link from Puerto Viejo Costa Rica to my travel tips page. You want to.