Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Puerto Viejo is a laid back village located on the southern Caribbean coast. This is the last large town before entering the wilds of the Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and jungles of the south Caribbean. It is home to some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in Costa Rica and becoming one of the fastest growing jungle-beach destinations.
What To Expect
If you are looking for a party, you have found the right place! Puerto Viejo is the spot to be for night life in a country which generally turns the lights out at 10pm. Of course this goes hand in hand with the surfing and Rasta cultures.
Surfers not only congregate here for the parties, but also for the infamous Salsa Brava break which is located off the reef in front of Stanfords Restaurant Caribe. This is one of the best surf spots in Costa Rica and certainly el numero uno on the Caribbean side. The Salsa Brava is not for beginners though. If you wipe out here, you will likely not only lose your board, but probably a few teeth as well to the reef! Playa Cocles is a safer option in comparison to the Salsa Brava, though the waves are nearly as good. The beach has both left and right breaks. Conditions are best here in the morning before the winds pick up. Surfing in the Caribbean is best during the months of December through March and also June and July. The sea is at its calmest during the other months.
There is plenty to do in Puerto Viejo other than party and surf. Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is located a little south of town and is one of the wildest places in Costa Rica. Cahuita National Park is located a short drive north of town and offers not only jungle, but calm waters for snorkeling above the reefs. Adventure activities are also available such as whitewater rafting on the Pacuare or Reventazon. Of course, you wouldn't be in Costa Rica if there was not a canopy zipline within 20 kilometers as well.
Weather and Packing List
The Southern Caribbean is a region of vast contrasts in weather. Temperatures remain the same nearly year round with average day time highs in the low 90s and night time lows in the upper 70s. Precipitation varies by month with the months of February, March, September and October being the driest.
Visitors should pack a bathing suit, towel, shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block, and insect repellent.
Fun Fact: Puerto Viejo means Old Port in English. There is another Puerto Viejo in the Sarapiqui region which is often confused by tourists.