Puerto Viejo de Talamanca – Things to do, Information and Tips

We made our way from Bocas del Toro in Panama to Puerto Viejo!

As you set your sights on exploring the enchanting corners of Costa Rica, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, located in the Limón Province, should top your list. Imagine stepping onto the warm sands of the Caribbean coast, where lush rainforests meet azure waters. Puerto Viejo isn’t just another beach town; it’s a cultural mosaic where Afro-Caribbean rhythms blend seamlessly with indigenous traditions. Here, you can ride the famous Salsa Brava waves, savor exotic dishes infused with tropical flavors, and immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife that resonates with reggae and calypso beats. With nearby treasures like the Cahuita National Park and Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge awaiting your discovery, you’re in for an unforgettable Costa Rican adventure.


How to get to Puerto Viejo?

Transport cost: 28 Dollars per person included the boat from Bocas del Toro (Panama), bus to the border (Costa Rica) and the bus from the border to Puerto Viejo.

From Bocas del Toro (Panama) we went to Puerto Viejo (Costa Rica). Then on the Isla Colon afer a 25 min boat ride there were a further few minutes bus ride and you were at the border to Costa Rica, which we then crossed on foot after successfully completing immigration. On the other side of the border we took a shuttle bus towards Puerto Viejo to our first destination in Costa Rica. After a little more than 3 hours and several banana plantations later we finally arrived in Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.


Things to do, eat and accommodation in Puerto Viejo

Puerto Viejo exudes a very comfortable and typical Caribbean atmosphere and is perfectly suited for surfing and feasting. You can find many hippies, dropouts, rastas, expatriates, backpackers etc who are adding to the special flair of the city. For those who desperately need action they are in the wrong place here. Although Puerto Viejo offers parties, it is more made to chill out.

Best Things to do in Puerto Viejo

Remember, while there’s a plethora of activities to dive into, part of Puerto Viejo’s charm lies in its laid-back atmosphere. So, don’t forget to take a moment to simply soak in the “pura vida” vibe, listen to the waves, and relish the beauty around you.

In Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and its surroundings, a treasure trove of experiences awaits you. This vibrant enclave on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and adventure. Here’s a list of things you can immerse yourself in:

  1. Beach Exploration: Begin by lounging or strolling along the beautiful beaches. From the popular Cocles with its surf breaks to the serene Playa Chiquita and Punta Uva, you’re bound to find a beach that calls out to you.
  2. Surfing: Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a newbie, the waves at Salsa Brava, Costa Rica’s most famous surf break, challenge and excite. If you’re a beginner, consider taking a lesson at Cocles Beach.
  3. Cahuita National Park: A short drive away, you can wander through this biodiverse park, boasting both rainforest and marine ecosystems. Look out for colorful birds, capuchin monkeys, and even sloths.
  4. Jaguar Rescue Center: Visit this rehabilitation center and get up close with rescued animals, including monkeys, sloths, and snakes. It’s an opportunity to understand and appreciate the local wildlife while supporting a commendable cause.
  5. Chocolate Tours: Dive into the history and production of chocolate at local cacao farms. You’ll not only learn about the process from bean to bar but also get to sample some deliciously fresh chocolates.
  6. Indigenous Villages: Embark on a cultural journey by visiting the nearby Bribri indigenous communities. Here, you can learn about their traditions, customs, and even try your hand at traditional crafts.
  7. Snorkeling and Diving: The clear Caribbean waters around Puerto Viejo are teeming with marine life. Head to the nearby Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge or Cahuita National Park for some underwater exploration.
  8. Horseback Riding: Experience the area’s scenic beauty on horseback. Guided tours often take you through forests, beaches, and local communities.
  9. Cycling: Rent a bike and explore the coastline at your own pace. The road from Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo is a picturesque route with multiple stops along the way for beach breaks, food, and more.
  10. Nightlife: As the sun sets, indulge in Puerto Viejo’s vibrant nightlife. Dance to reggae beats, enjoy live music, or simply relish a tropical cocktail by the beach.
  11. Local Gastronomy: Don’t miss out on tasting the unique Caribbean flavors. From coconut-infused rice and beans to fresh seafood dishes, your taste buds are in for a treat.


Here you find the best beach Bungalows in Costa Rica.

Cabinas Jacaranda Double room €37

Our last night in Puerto Viejo we spent in a centrally located Cabana for €28 (I forgot the name)

Unterkunft Puert Viejo
Accomodation Puert Viejo

Beaches in Puerto Viejo:

The beach in Puerto Viejo isn’t really much of a looker, but only a few kilometres further you can find the Playa Chiquita, Cocles or Punta Uva. These beaches are typical Caribbean beaches with clear water, palm trees and kilometres of sand. Those that don’t have a car can rent a bike for 5 dollars per day. You can reach Playa Chiquita within 15-20 by bike.

Playa Chiquita Puerto Viejo
Playa Chiquita Puerto Viejo


In general you can eat really well in Puerto Viejo. There is an excellent culinary mix available due to the foreigners who have settled here and their inclination for good food. The different influences usually result in a fusion cuisine. Food at the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is often flavoursome and aromatic that that at the Pacific side and other parts of Latin America.



Bread & Chocolate Here you can get everything you can ask for a breakfast, fresh smoothies, fresh squeezed juices, pancakes, eggs and sandwiches for moderate prices. The atmosphere is very laid back and the service is great. It is definitely one of the better places to have breakfast in Latin America as getting a decent breakfast can be quite a challenge sometimes. At least these are my experiences since you usually I have to be content with Arepas and eggs.


Zion Cafe who likes to eat healthy delicious food should stop by at Zion Cafe. Here I had one of the best smoothies in Latin America. Apart from that you can get vegetarian dishes as well as a typical Caribbean jerk chicken. The mix between great service, a totally relaxed atmosphere and delicious healthy and spicy food make it totally worth visiting.

Zion Cafe

Zion Cafe smoothies
Zion Cafe smoothies


Lazlo`s catch of the day is definitely my favourite restaurant in Costa Rica until now. The owner Lazlo an Italian goes out fishing with his friend everyday in the morning and serves “the catch of the day” from 6pm onwards i his restaurant. The served fish is very simply with just some olive oil and garlic prepared and come along some grilled vegetables and fries. The importances with these dishes is not necessarily the kind of preparation but the freshness of the ingredients. Depending on the catch you can get Mahi Mahi, Tuna ,Kingfish etc. It can also happen that all fish is completely reserved before even the first guests arrive.

Lazlos Catch Of The Day
Lazlos Catch Of The Day

Flip Flop: Food:Costa Rican, Central American, Pasta, Asian Fusion Flip Flop

Nightlife in Puerto Viejo:

In Puerto Viejo there are many little bars to have a beer or some cocktails. One of the most famous places is probably the Mango Sunset: Mago Sunset: Here you can listen to live music and sip on your drink. For many tourist and local common meeting point. Even in front of the bar people gather and have a god time. We definitely spent a great night at Mango sunset.

  1. Music and Dance: On any given night, the air is filled with the rhythmic beats of reggae, dancehall, calypso, and Latin tunes. Numerous bars and beachfront venues host live music events, inviting visitors and locals alike to dance barefoot on the sand or on vibrant dance floors.
  2. Beach Bars: The town is dotted with casual beach bars where you can sip on a tropical cocktail, local beer, or the famous “guaro” shots. Many of these bars offer an unmatched view of the moonlit ocean, creating a surreal and romantic setting.
  3. Themed Nights: Various venues in town have themed nights, such as ladies’ nights, salsa nights, or karaoke, ensuring there’s always a unique experience available for visitors looking to mix things up.
  4. Late-night Eateries: After dancing the night away, you’ll find a selection of late-night eateries offering everything from traditional Caribbean dishes to quick comfort foods. The local “patacones” (fried plantains) or a spicy Caribbean chicken dish might just become your favorite post-party snack.
  5. Safety: Like any popular tourist spot, while the vibe in Puerto Viejo is generally laid-back and friendly, it’s essential to be cautious. Always be aware of your surroundings, don’t leave your belongings unattended, and avoid poorly lit or secluded areas late at night.

In Puerto Viejo, the spirit of “pura vida” (pure life) seamlessly transitions from day to night. Whether you’re looking to sway to the music, meet fellow travelers, or simply relax under the stars, the town’s nightlife promises unforgettable memories.

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