Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, simply known as Puerto Viejo, is a postcard-perfect beach town on the Caribbean coast. Its stretches of salty shores are lined with palm trees and quiet hideaways, making it the perfect holiday getaway. The streets are filled with colorful buildings that are filled with reggae bars, beach shops and more.
Maybe you’ve already visited Jaco on the Pacific coast and want to see what bluer waters have to offer. More and more people are beginning to choose Puerto Viejo when they decide where to go in Costa Rica. Once a quiet fishing village, you’ll find amazing things to do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.
Check out the information below to see what Puerto Viejo has to offer and learn more about what to eat, see and do in this charming coastal retreat.
Is Puerto Viejo worth visiting?
Puerto Viejo is a must-see for those looking for rest and relaxation. The compact beach town is very walkable and has far more to offer than just pristine beaches and perfect weather. Stroll the shores of popular Playa Negra and feel the black sand between your toes. If you grow tired of the beach, you’ll find many things to do near Puerto Viejo as well. The natural landscape extends for miles and is home to exotic flora and fauna and is perfect in the dry or rainy season.
What to do in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Savor the Salsa Brava surf break
Little Puerto Viejo is hugely famous for top-notch waves. The notorious Salsa Brava surf break is one of the most challenging and dangerous surf breaks in the world, so it, of course, draws surfers from across oceans. The sharp reef bottom produces hard and fast waves that range from 5 to 15 feet. Less experienced surfers can find tamer waves down the beach but will have to wait patiently for their chance at a wave. Weekends see the most crowds as Salsa Brava is one of the most popular things to do in Puerto Viejo.
Eat and drink in Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo is a blend of Latino, Afro-Caribbean and indigenous Bribri cultures so there is no shortage of great food. Stashu’s con Fusion combines Caribbean, Indian, Mexican and thai cuisine and the perfect place to get a taste of Puerto Viejo. For travellers on a budget, the Old Harbour Supermarket is a great grocery store with a wide variety of options.
Take advantage of the nightlife
If you’re thinking, is Puerto Viejo safe at night? It’s certainly safe to say you’ll find a great meal and a dance partner. The sleepy town comes alive at night! It’s not recommended to walk the beaches when it’s dark but there’s no need if you’re listening to reggae or jazz at a music bar nearby. Make sure to stay hydrated and know you can drink the water in Puerto Viejo.
What to do in Puerto Viejo when it rains
May to mid-November is typically the rainy, or “green,” season in Costa Rica. While the scenery and temperature remain beautiful, the afternoons might see some sprinkles. There’s no need to worry as these will blow through and you can enjoy a horseback ride on the beach or exploring the Jaguar Rescue Center and see the rehabilitated wildcats and other animals.
San Jose to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Travelling from the capital San Jose to Puerto Viejo is quite easy with buses leaving during the day and chugging through the mountains and finally along the Caribbean coast. The 5-hour journey can be a bit stressful at the start. Buses go to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca as well as Puerto de Sarapiqui in Heredia which is around 3 hours away from this Puerto Viejo. This might not seem like an issue, but the bus station usually displays both as San Jose to Puerto Viejo so be sure to double-check the destination before boarding. Of course, travelling from Puerto Viejo to San Jose won’t be as confusing. You can always try a private door-to-door transfer with a company like Daytrip.