The Best Places to Buy Vacation Homes on Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast

Nature is art © Christoffer Undisclosed/Flickr
Nature is art © Christoffer Undisclosed/Flickr
Photo of Jenn Parker
28 June 2017

The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is the ideal spot to buy a vacation home if you are looking for a place that is quiet, laid-back, outrageously beautiful, and affordable. While you will find holiday luxuries here – such as beach bars and multiple dining options (Caribbean food is delicious) – the roads, electricity, and Internet are not reliable, the trade off for living in paradise. There are several towns and beach communities along the coast that are wonderful spots to purchase a vacation home.


Cahuita is a small fishing town that is partially protected as a national park. This quaint and colorful town is a popular spot amongst expats, backpackers, and visitors seeking a truly eco-vacation. The town of Cahuita has several restaurants, boutique stores, and affordable hotels. The protected beach and jungle of Cahuita is beyond beautiful. If you want to eat fresh seafood every day, this is a great location as you can buy fresh from the boat. The weather is warm and tropical all year along, the people, both visitors and residents, are friendly and community oriented, and there will be a house waiting for you to buy it here.

This could be you | © Marissa Striniste/Flickr

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Puerto Viejo may not be for everyone, but those who love it, really love it. You won’t find any resort-like amenities down here like golf courses, tennis courts, marinas, or country clubs. Puerto Viejo is a more bohemian, nature loving, and mellow beach community. It is the type of vacation destination where you just kick back and embrace nature and the immense beauty that surrounds you. Days can be spend walking, swimming, and laying in hammocks on stunning and uncrowded beaches, surfing, drinking cold beers at one of the beach front bars, and just being peaceful.

Beach life | © Wilma Compton/Flickr


Manzanillo is another small fishing village and is located only 16 kilometers/10 miles from Puerto Viejo. You will definitely want to have a car here, as there is only a small food store where you can get your basics, and you will need to go to Playa Chiquita to find a proper grocery store. What Manzanillo is lacking in hotels, restaurants (although Maxi’s, which is one of the most famous restaurants in this entire zone of Manzanillo), and other conveniences, it makes up in natural beauty and wildlife. Manzanillo is a fantastic choice if you don’t mind driving every now and then and want to be close to nature and have the space to completely disconnect.

Playa Chiquita

Playa Chiquita is a very family and community oriented town just 8 kilometers/5 miles from Puerto Viejo. There are cute outdoor organic cafes, a gourmet grocery store, a weekly farmer’s market, and amazing natural made tidal pools on the beach that you can spend the afternoon soaking in. There is definitely a happening and good energy vibe here. Playa Chiquita is the perfect vacation spot if you want to be somewhere with a few of the finer things in life, such as a food store that sells quinoa and Sriracha, while you are vacating in Costa Rica.

Doesn't get much better than this | © JarleNaustvik/Flickr

Punta Uva

Playa Uva is a peaceful rainforest neighborhood that is only 11 kilometers/7 miles from Puerto Viejo. A lot of people who are on a long-term vacation or seeking long-term rentals tend to choose this area. The beaches around here are protected and typically very calm, which is amazing for swimming and snorkeling. There are also some highly recommended restaurants. To do any grocery shopping, you need to go to Playa Chiquita or Puerto Viejo though. Punta Uva is ideal for couples seeking a romantic vacation. It is secluded and very quiet.

No one in sight | © Wim de Jong/Flickr

Playa Cocles

Playa Cocles is the perfect location for experienced surfers. The waves can get pretty big here so it is not a great spot for a leisurely swim. The beach is quite picturesque though. There are reggae and Calypso parties on Fridays and Saturdays at El Cameleon and a beach bonfire at Tasty Waves Cantina on Fridays, but other than that it is pretty quite. There are a few great restaurants and a food store with a good wine selection and imported items, as well as the basics and fresh produce. Playa Cocles is only 5 kilometers/3 miles from Puerto Viejo. During the day, there’s a lovely bike ride to town; most places in this area can be traveled to via bicycle.

You can bike everywhere | © Van Balen/Flickr

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"