Puerto Viejo truly embraces the easy-going Caribbean way of life and the unique mix of Afro-Caribbean, Costa Rican, BriBri Native American and ex-pats makes it a cultural destination that you don’t want to miss. During the day the atmosphere is easy going and peaceful. Visitors who are not visiting sloths at the Jaguar Rescue Center or hiking through Cahuita National Park are usually relaxing on the beach, cares left behind. At night the exotic fusion restaurants, markets, and discos wake up, creating a bustling atmosphere in this Caribbean village.
The legendary reef break Salsa Brava explodes from December to April. It can also be good around June and July. It’s perfect for professionals and experienced surfers.
Puerto Viejo is a great place to see wildlife. Visit Cahuita for a gentle hike and a chance to spot monkeys, sloths and iguanas.
Cahuita National Park is also a great place see protected coral reefs. There is also great snorkeling at many beaches located near Puerto Viejo including Punta Uva Beach and Manzanillo Beach.
Learn about and see protected sloths at the Sloth Sanctuary, located about 30 minutes from Puerto Viejo.
There are so many great beaches around Puerto Viejo you won’t know where to start. We recommend visiting Punta Uva, Playa Cocles, and Manzanillo to start.
Experience laid back, Caribbean nightlife in Puerto Viejo. Nightlife styles in Puerto Viejo vary from relaxed reggae to jumping dance clubs to sports bars. Whichever you chose, you’re sure to feel Caribbean and pura vida vibes from tourists and locals.
Visit September-October: Unlike the rest of Costa Rica, the “summer” season in Puerto Viejo is during September and October.
Rent a bike: Locals and tourists alike get around on bicycles. Save gas and money and see Puerto Viejo from a local perspective.
Watch for wildlife: It’s not unusual to see sloths, crabs, monkeys or iguanas anywhere around Puerto Viejo so keep your eye out! Especially if you are driving. Animals often cross the roads and are hard to see.
Follow the music: When looking for nightlife, ask locals about the best place each night and follow the live music, offered almost every night of the week.
Watch your valuables: Be aware that petty theft does occur so do not leave valuables unattended (especially on the beach). If you rent a car, always lock it and keep valuables in the trunk when you park.
Pack smart: Make sure to bring rain attire, swim suit, insect repellent and reef-safe sunblock.
Shuttle: Shuttle transfers are an affordable and convenient way to get from San Jose to Puerto Viejo. They cost around $55 per person. They are not private, however, so plan on the shuttle making multiple stops for other passengers along the way.
Private Transfer: Private transfer is a great way to travel. The driver will take you door to door and you don’t have to worry about making stops for other passengers. For two passengers traveling from San Jose to Puerto Viejo it costs about $270.
Driving: You can rent a car upon your arrival to Costa Rica. Renting a car allows you to travel at your own pace and schedule. For a week long vacation budget around $600.
Domestic Flight: Domestic flights are a great option for fast and easy travel. You can take a domestic flight with Sansa Airlines from San Jose and arrive quickly and safely in Limón for about $100 per person in about 30 minutes. From Limón you can take a shuttle, private transfer or rent a car to arrive to Puerto Viejo. Puerto Viejo is about 1 1/2 hours away from Limón.
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Puerto Viejo Map
Puerto Viejo is located 5 hours from San Jose on the Southern Caribbean Coast. It is easily accessible by rental car, shuttle or domestic flight!