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Costa Rica‘s Caribbean coast stretches 125 km (78 miles) between Nicaragua and Panama. Less developed than its Pacific counterpart, it makes for a fascinating trip for adventurous travellers in search of nature. Take a look at our round-up of the area’s top experiences spanning the north’s national park, through to the beaches of the south.
Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge is 9,450 hectares of rainforest, palm and red mangrove swamp land, white sand beaches, and a colorful and lively tropical coral reef. This spectacular refuge is home to green sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, 360 species of birds, sloths, monkeys, exquisite reptiles, insects, and amphibians, among so many other fascinating species of wildlife.
The Bri Bri tribe is indigenous to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and Panama. This tribe has been in existence for the past 5,000 years, and has a rich culture that is deeply rooted in nature, having thrived in the jungles of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica for over 1,000 years. You can find out more from several opportunities and tours dedicated to this fascinating group of people and their ancient culture and way of life. Choose from available tours where you can learn all about natural healing from a medicine man; visit a Bri Bri family and learn about their traditions, practices, and ways of life; or discover more about cacao harvesting and the origins of chocolate from a local tribe.
Traditional Costa Rican food from the Caribbean has a totally different flavor than that served on the Pacific coast. While the staples are the same (rice and beans, plantains, ceviche, arroz con pollo/vegetables/shrimp/meat, etc), the spices are what make the Caribbean side of things so diverse, and often include coconut milk, ginger, curry, allspice, cinnamon, and chilli pepper. Puerto Viejo and the surrounding areas offer visitors some excellent dining options – Veronica’s Place and Soda Lidia are two establishments that really do Caribbean food justice.
Veronica’s Place – Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica, +506 2750 0132
Soda Lidia – Limon Province, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica, +506 2750 0598
Puerto Viejo has a reputation for having the best nightlife. The clubs here play reggae, roots, and dancehall jams all night long, and there are rustic beachfront bars with happy hour specials as well as pool tables, reggae nights, ladies’ nights, and even mojito nights! There seems to be a drink special or live music at one of the many bars every night of the week. The laid-back vibe of Puerto Viejo makes going out at night a really fun experience, as everyone is just out to have a good time. Salsa Brava Bar, Johnny’s Place, and Tasty Waves Cantina are all popular places to go for a good time out.
Salsa Brava Bar – Limon Province, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Johnny’s Place – Avenida 73, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Tasty Waves Cantina – Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica, +506 2750 0507
Looking for more attractions? Visit our article on the top things to do in Costa Rica.