Sure to be surrounded by at least two if not three ecological reserves or national parks wherever you go in Costa Rica, the easy-going and stylish southern Caribbean stretch of coast popularly known as Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is no exception.
Just under an hour south-east of Limón the vibe is unhurried, youthful and the beaches deserted in places are also dotted with cool beach bars playing reggae in others. The waters are calm and crystalline except for the perfect surfing waves off the Salsa Brava beach, and all set to the sights and sounds of the teeming rainforest you’ll find at every turn.
Puerto Viejo is actually set on the edge of the Gandoco-Manzanillo Refuge, whose vegetation brushes the hide tide line and is brimming with eagles, pelicans, caimans, tapirs, and its reefs alive with sea turtles, dolphins, blue parrot fish and other dazzling marine life. A day trip to Panama’s Bocas del Toro coral reefs is well worth it, as are the many cultural tours, cycling routes and sport fishing charters on offer.
Understandably growing in popularity year on year, the relaxing charm of Puerto Viejo has brought a number of intimately chic hotels to its shores and visitors can choose from boutique boltholes to eco-friendly cabins a stone’s throw from the virgin beaches or first-rate restaurants.
February to April and September to October are the drier monthsMarch to May is the Turtle nesting season
Its wildlife wonders, heavenly beaches, and its captivating Caribbean charisma
Dive or snorkel the coral reefs of the Cahuita National Park
Hike through the Gandoco-Manzanillo Refuge for some excellent bird watching and crocodile spotting
Visit a local chocolate farm
Visit the Jaguar Rescue Centre
Sea Turtle watching
Beach bar hopping
Day trips to Bocas del Toro (Panama) coral reefs
Tours to local chocolate farms & cultural tours to see the aborigines
Sport fishing (sailfish and marlin)
Cycling South from Cocles to Manzanillo or North from Cocles to Cahuita
One day tour to Panama (3.5 hrs away)