Puerto Viejo De
Talamanca is the most popular beach town at the
Caribbean side of Costa Rica.
It has much more
indigenous culture characteristics than other beaches on
the Caribbean side, so it is a very laid back Rasta man
place, offering a variety of cheap cabins, bars and
restaurants. The surf is usually at its best between
December to March and in June and July. September and
October hardly have good waves, so that’s a better time
for snorkeling. There are two beaches for surfing: Salsa
Brava, which is a reef break and recommended to
experienced surfers only, and Playa Cocles, which is
sandier and suits beginners too. The safest swimming
around is at the black sand beach, and the natural sea
pools area, but be cautious of currents at all beaches,
particularly when the waves are high.
the weather is less stable in this area and rain is always an
option. It takes about 4 hours to drive (with a car, not a
local bus!) to Puerto Viejo from San Jose, and the
last 30 kilometers are done on a bad road, especially in
the rainy season, so try to do that during the day
as my experience taught me that driving it at night
can be a dangerous task. During the dry season, if
Puerto Viejo is too crowded for you, you can move to
tranquil villages nearby, like Manzanillo and Cahuita.
Please note that there
is another Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean side: Puerto
Viejo de Sarapiqui, which is not located on the beach,
so if you are going there by a bus, make sure it goes to
the right one.