A Nightlife and Happy-Hour Guide to Puerto Viejo

Party cruising
Party cruising | © Arturo Sotillo/Flickr
Jenn Parker

Puerto Viejo is located on the southern Caribbean side of Costa Rica, often referred to as “the other Costa Rica.” The culture of the Caribbean side is totally different from the Pacific side, with a definite a Caribbean vibe. During the day, Puerto Viejo is a mellow, relatively quiet coastal town, but by night a great transformation occurs: Puerto Viejo is well known for its happening nightlife. The Rasta vibrations, the Caribbean sea breeze cutting through the humid heat, reggae music, and cheap cold beers make for a fantastic combination. Let yourself loose in Puerto Viejo by experiencing the vibrant nightlife – there’s something going on every day of the week.

1. Tasty Waves Cantina

Bar, Restaurant, Mexican, American

A beer, a snack, and a view
© Jeffrey/Flickr
Tasty Waves Cantina is a laid-back beach bar with a surfer vibe and an unbeatable view, and it epitomises the true essence of Puerto Viejo. There are pool tables, cheap drinks, and tasty food to satiate your appetite after surfing some of the area’s best waves. Tuesdays are the most popular day at Tasty Waves Cantina, as it’s Taco Tuesday. This is a great place to come with friends, or come alone and make new friends.

2. Johnny's Place

Bar, Caribbean, Seafood, Pub Grub

Johnny’s Place has been the number-one spot to get your late-night dance on for over ten years, and the later it gets, the more lively it seems to become. You can dance the night away listening to a blend of reggae, roots, and Calypso jams. On Wednesday nights, only women are allowed to enter the bar until 12 a.m. During this time, there are free drinks on offer, while the men have to stay outside and wait, causing amusement all round.

3. Salsa Brava

Bar, Pub Grub

Salsa Brava, which is the most famous wave on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, is one of the best sunset bars in the area. It is an amazing spot to grab a few drinks, post up with your feet in the sand, and watch the locals shred the wave. This is the oldest bar in Puerto Viejo and an institution you must visit on your trip. The vibes are very laid back and welcoming, and the food and drinks are very affordable. Sunday is reggae night, and is apparently the best reggae night in the area.

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