Puerto Viejo is widely known as the village where the people are very relaxed and the vibes are just generally very chill and good. Whoever spends a few days in Puerto Viejo will immediately notice the Caribbean Pura Vida lifestyle that the people live here. Though it’s only small, it attracts many tourists and Tico’s alike, all in for some good times. Often, people even stay longer than they planned because they love it so much.
Puerto Viejo is located on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, relatively close to the border with Panama. From San Jose, it’s about a 4,5-hour drive if traffic allows it. The village is lined with beaches, such as Playa Negra which, as the name already gives away, is completely black. In the town itself, you can literally step off the main road directly onto the beach. A little further down the coastal road, there are even more beaches, that are perfect for swimming and surfing, such as Playa Cocles and Playa Punta Uva.
One of the things you will directly notice is the number of bikes in Puerto Viejo. The town is very small, so you can easily walk everywhere within ten minutes, but still, the bike is a very popular way of transportation. There are also various shops that rent bikes to tourists, which is totally recommendable. You can bike all the way along the coast up to Manzanillo.
Manzanillo is a beach town located around 12 kilometers from Puerto Viejo. It is even smaller than Puerto Viejo but because of this, it is also less touristy. Once you bike all the way to the end of the village, you can park your bike right next to the entrance of a small national park. Once you have registered to enter the park, you can walk through the jungle towards a viewpoint overlooking the ocean. A few hundred meters out into the sea, there is a huge rock rising up. After you have been on the platform, it is worth it to continue your walk a little further into the jungle to end up at a beautiful beach with maybe an even better view on the rock.
Make sure to get back on your bike to head towards Puerto Viejo on time, because the street lights are not in abundance or just absent and most bikes don’t have any lights on them. Being back in Puerto Viejo during the night is also really something you do not want to miss, as it becomes super lively once the sunsets. With the many restaurants and bars that the town is home to, you are sure to find yourself having fun all night. At Hot Rocks there is often live music, and down the road there are various bars that often host reggae parties.
From Finca Escalante, you can walk for around 30 minutes or take a taxi to go into the city to the MEPE bus station. From here, you can take a direct bus to Puerto Viejo. In the most perfect situation, this will take around 4,5 hours, but depending on traffic it can also take up to 6 hours or more.