The Caribbean side of Costa Rica
Puerto Viejo, a beach lover and yogi’s paradise
Puerto Viejo is on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and has all of the beach town vibes you could ever want. Great surf spots, multiple beaches with all varieties of colors of sand, beachside restaurants with overpriced happy hour drinks but delicious ceviche, barefoot yogis walking down the side of the road, shacks with fresh fruit that they cut right in front of you, fishermen offering their catch of the day… I could go on but I think you get it. This is a great little beach town and I loved my time here.
BUT Puerto Viejo has a negative side too. It can be dangerous, and the crime only seems to be getting worse and worse… Just while I was in town, in February and March of 2017, I heard of 3 different incidences where tourists were hurt and/or killed. And I actually met one of the guys who got mugged and jumped. He was staying in the same hostel as my friends and I were at Sel et Sucre. My friend Sam started talking to him because he had a huge ice pack against a massive knot on his forehead, and he told us that he got jumped and curb stomped a couple of hours ago in an alley a couple hundred yards from where we just were. While I never had any problems or felt unsafe at all, it is always best to be aware that something could always potentially happen.
Where to stay
I stayed at two different hostels here because I passed through this town 3 separate times while traveling. I only really recommend one of the hostels (Sel et Sucre) unless you really want to be cheap and rough it.
The hostel I recommend is Sel Et Sucre. It is right near the center of town, just a block away from the bus stop. The bathrooms are BIG, clean, and I never had a problem getting hot water. The shared dorms are big and nice, and the beds were comfy af. The kitchen is huge, and plenty of counter space for shared cooking. Plus I think I paid $13USD a night here.
Rocking J’s is cool… but more of a party hostel. This would be a great place to bring a group of friends and get shitty and then pass out on hammocks. There is a free taxi to hostel that you can set up prior to arriving. And a taxi back to the bus stop is 2000 Colons.
I did not like Rocking J’s lack of outlets, tiny bathroom stalls, or weird, gross showers. BUT, Rocking Js did have an awesome ambience with all of the mosaic and artwork around. The lockers available are giant, and the hammocks were comfy. I paid $8USD to sleep in one of the hammocks pictured below and luckily there was only one other person in the open aired hut with me, so I slept great after nursing a bottle of wine to bed.
What to do
Rent a bike and go beach hopping! My friend, Camilla, and I rented our bikes from Roger at Cafe Rico hooked us up and we spent the whole day exploring the coast.
Check out the local farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. You can really sense the community here and it is a great spot to get some fresh fruit, yummy chocolate and handmade crafts!
Check out Playa Negra! This beautiful black beach is amazing to walk up and down.
Learn how to surf at Cocles Beach OR do a handstand next to a surfboard and say you did.
Find a yoga studio and practice! This is where I got my yoga teacher certification, and there are a ton of studios around to check out!
Where to eat
Hands down my favorite spot in PV is Cafe Rico. I became friends with the owner, Roger, and ended up eating there 4 times! Cafe Rico has delicious coffee and breakfast, hundreds of books to lose yourself in and a beautiful ambience.
Another delicious spot is Koki Beach. I went here with my yogis after training twice, it was so good. Get the guacamole and a mojito. Or 3 mojitos. You won’t regret it.
Cheers! p.s. I miss you Camilla ♥
Want to learn more about Puerto Viejo and see some incredibly beautiful pictures?
Check this link: The Ultimate Guide to Puerto Viejo
Onward and upward,