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How to Spend 24 Hours in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Tropical beauty
Tropical beauty | © Christoffer Undisclosed / Flickr
Puerto Viejo is a small beach town on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. It’s drastically different from the Pacific coast, in a charming and intriguing way. Puerto Viejo exudes a laid-back, easy-going, bohemian, tropical, reggae vibe that is only found on this side of Costa Rica. You will doubtlessly crave to spend more than 24 hours there, but if that’s all you’ve got, here’s how you can spend your day in Puerto Viejo.

Fuel up

Puerto Viejo may be small, but this town has an impressive selection of cafés, bakeries, sodas, and breakfast spots. The Caribbean coast is also well known for its exquisite coffee, so you can rest assured your coffee experience on this morning will be memorable. Bread and Chocolate, Café Rico, Miss Lidia’s Place, and De Gustibus Bakery are all exceptional choices for breakfast. You’ll definitely want to fuel up so that you have the energy to enjoy this day to the fullest.

Go deep into nature

Puerto Viejo is the perfect starting point to embark on multiple nature-rich adventures. Cahuita National Park and the Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge are both very close to Puerto Viejo, and are amazing habitats to experience the unique wildlife of this area. Both Cahuita and Gandoca Manzanillo are famed for their coral reefs, pristine postcard-worthy beaches, dense tropical rainforests, and abundance of exotic wildlife.

Don't forget to look up into the trees for these sweet creatures © Sylvia Westenbroek / Flickr

Cruise around

A pleasant way to spend the later part of the afternoon in Puerto Viejo is by renting bicycles and cruising the coastline. The terrain here is relatively flat and ideal for biking, and you can easily zip to several beaches in the area, including Playa Cocles, Playa Punta Uva, Playa Manzanillo, Playa Chiquita, Playa Salsa Brava, Playa Negra, and Playa Blanca. You can even pick up a few drinks and snacks and enjoy a little afternoon picnic at one of the beaches along your way.

Beach cruising on a sunny afternoon  © Rodrigo Soldon / Flickr

Happy hour and grub

Tasty Waves Cantina, The Lazy Mon at Stanford’s, and Salsa Brava are all beachfront bars and restaurants in Puerto Viejo. All three of these establishments are amazing choices to indulge in a happy-hour cocktail, nosh on an appetizer, and eat dinner. These places also often have live music and turn into fun party scenes later in the evening. But before the sun goes down, you can enjoy the last beautiful light of the day, quench your thirst, and fill up on delicious food at any of these locally recommended spots.

Hydrate and head on over to happy hour  © Peter Hook / Flickr

Party on

Puerto Viejo has a countrywide reputation for having a very happening nightlife scene every night of the week. You can always find somewhere with live music or a DJ. The party scene in Puerto Viejo is full of fun, dancing, drinking, and music that fits the Caribbean vibe. Mango Sunset and Johnny’s Place are two of the most popular late-night party establishments, as well as Tasty Waves Cantina and The Lazy Mon at Stanford’s. Let your wild side out and dance your one night away in Puerto Viejo.