Some days it rains, other days it shines, mostly, it does lots of both in Puerto Viejo de Limon. This little Caribbean village is brimming with activities for all kinds of weather, but keep in mind that relaxing and enjoying la pura vida is probably the best thing you can do while you’re here. Besides that, and without further ado, here are our Top 10 Things to Do:
1. Beaches. Perfect beach seekers sigh with delight upon discovering this picturesque coast. Much more dramatic than its Pacific sister, the Caribbean is raw and unspoiled, dripping with palms and blessed with turquoise waters. Cocles Beach is good for surf and swim, look for the flags in the sand and beware of riptides. Playa Negra is excellent for swimming, too, and you’ll frolic like a local at these two most popular beaches. Playa Chiquita’s protected coves a bit further south beg to be explored, and finding them is half the fun. But if you only get to choose one beach to visit, head south to Punta Uva. With two sides divided by a majestic cliff, Punta Uva’s twin beaches are sandy, secluded, and perfect for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, or sleeping beneath the shade of a coconut tree.
2. Dive or Snorkel. While it’s not everyone’s cup o’ tea, the underwater world off the Caribbean coast is too magical to miss. Protected and prized for its precious coral reef, a handful of outfits are eager to help you discover the treasures beneath, and leave little reason not to look at least a little deeper than the surface. Get yourself set up with a mask and fins or tanks, at Sunrise, Reef Runners, or Punta Uva Dive Center, all well-equipped to send you down under for a memorable trip.
3. Surf. The rumors are true, Puerto Viejo is home to legendary surf, and when it’s up, it’s awesome. Salsa Brava and Cocles can’t be beat, but the former is definitely not for amateurs. Plays Negra is ideal for all levels, where gentle waves roll in around the barge at the entrance to town. Find board rentals at Cocles Beach, at Sunrise on the main road, and scattered about town. Plenty of of locals offer lessons, and if it’ll be your first time, don’t be shy, hire a guy, like Peace at OM in Cocles.
4. Hike. Explore Manzanillo Gandoca Wildlife Refuge on the southern edge of Puerto Viejo, Cahuita National Park to the north, and several lesser known trails in between, like the Cocles Jungle Beach path, a favorite local shortcut and leisurely flat walk through the woods.
5. Bike. Nearly everybody does it in this town, from ninos to abuelitos, mainly on vintage beach cruisers, but mountain bikes may be hired at the new pharmacy. The main road that snakes through Puerto Viejo is 13km long from town to the end of the road in Manzanillo, and makes a perfect half-day trip, while just getting from beach to cafe to happy hour is best done by bicycle, too. Rent one at Gallo’s Bikes, Surf Rentals, or Tuanis, all located along the main road.
6. Tour the botanical gardens at Finca La Isla. A lovely way to spend a morning or partial day, wind your way through the lush grounds of this former cacao plantation just north of the town entrance, and get more familiar with the native flora and fauna.
7. Visit the Jaguar Rescue Centre in Cocles. A short ride from the center of town, stop by here any day except Sunday for a guided tour of this wildlife sanctuary, where injured and abandoned sloths and monkeys (and plenty of snakes), are cared for before being released into the nearby jungle.
8. Cacao hunting and chocolate tasting. Take the Tsirutami Tour to the heart of the Talamanca rainforest, where cacao is grown and harvested ancient style. Learn about the indigenous BriBri culture and the magical ways of the women who craft the food of the gods from start to finish, then taste the organic, Criollo difference.
9. Canopy Tour. Don’t miss Costa Rica’s quintessential adventure. Ziplining through the jungle is an unforgettable ride during which you’ll be suspended from cables and whisked through the rainforest.
10.Volio Waterfalls. Otherwise known as the BriBri Waterfalls, these spectacular falls are a short and scenic trip just outside of town, and may be reached with the help of a taxi driver or a local guide.