Amazing Day Trips to Take from Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Take a dip in the Caribbean Sea
Take a dip in the Caribbean Sea | © cyril chermin / Flickr
Photo of Jenn Parker
19 April 2018

Puerto Viejo is a small but popular beach town on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. It is an area known for its laid-back bohemian vibes, happening night life, delicious food, exquisite beaches, lush rainforest surroundings, and exotic wildlife. It is also an easy departure point for some of the best day trips on the Caribbean coast.

Pacuare River rafting trip

The Pacuare River is one of the top white-water rafting rivers in Costa Rica. With plenty of class II and III rapids, this all-day adventure will be an exhilarating and nature intense experience that the entire family will enjoy. When you are not paddling through the rapids, you will float idyllically through dense tropical forest, next to beautiful waterfalls, and in plain sight of plenty of wildlife.

rafting in costa rica | © David Berkowitz / Flickr

Cahuita boat, snorkel, and hiking trip

Cahuita National Park is home to the most expansive coral reef system in Costa Rica. The reef is home to multiple species of coral, tropical fish, reef sharks, sea turtles, manatees, and a number of other marine creatures. The tropical rainforest of this amazing national park is home to sloths, monkeys, hundreds of species of birds, colorful tree frogs, and an impressive collection of other land creatures. This combo day tour gives you the opportunity to experience the Cahuita National Park from above the sea, below the sea, and from the rainforest.

A day in and by the sea | © Eric Fredericks / Flickr

Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge jungle trek

A half-day professionally guided nature trek through the Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge is a unique opportunity to experience the exotic flora and fauna of the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. There are 384 species of birds that live in this protected rainforest refuge! Walking through this dense and lively rainforest is a truly magical experience and one that should not be missed, especially because it is so close to Puerto Viejo.

Keep your eyes peeled for sweet tree dwelling sloths | © Stephen Horvath / Flickr

River and sea kayaking journey

Spend the day kayaking with an experienced naturalist and guide around Punta Uva. On this five-hour journey, you will first paddle along the coastline where you will observe dramatic cliffs, mystical caves, and vibrant rainforest. Then, you will paddle up a river where you will likely see sloths, monkeys, turtles, bats, iguanas, and an astounding collection of colorful birds. You will learn a wealth of fascinating information from your guide. You will also have the chance to relax on a beautiful beach and have a little snack before taking a hike to Grape Point.

Get in touch with nature | © Tracey Hind / Flickr

Animal rescue, chocolate, and waterfall adventure

This combo day trip is definitely one for the books! What better way to spend a day on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica than by visiting an animal rescue center, visiting an indigenous family’s cacao farm, and ending your day swimming beneath a spectacular waterfall in the rainforest? Exotic animals, chocolate, and waterfalls are the perfect trifecta representation of this incredible region of Costa Rica.

three monkeys in costa rica | © Emilie Chen / Flickr

Bike the beaches of the southern Caribbean

Within biking distance, you can explore Playa Bonita, Playa Negra, Playa Puerto Viejo, Playa Cocles, Playa Chiquita, and Punta Uva. Biking is actually a very popular method of transportation here, especially because the terrain is relatively flat. An easy and fabulous day adventure is to rent bikes in Puerto Viejo, pack a cooler, and cruise the beaches of the southern Caribbean.

Bike to Playa Chiquita | © JarieNaustvik / Flickr 

Explore another country

Bocas del Toro is a gorgeous archipelago that is part of Panama and is actually very close to Puerto Viejo. You can take a boat over to the islands and spend the day snorkeling, looking for dolphins, and relaxing on the beautiful Red Frog Beach. Red Frog Beach also has two beachfront restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious frozen cocktail and your lunch before returning back to Costa Rica.

Island hopping and dolphin spotting | © Kent MacElwee / Flickr

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