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Experiencing Pura Vida In Costa Rica

My Eat, Sleep And Repeat Time In Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

I was tired, and the last thing I needed was for the man behind the counter to tell me that I was at the wrong bus station.

I need to get to the Caribbean coast – what is my next option?
You can go to Limon and from there take another bus.

With this information, I ran for the bus as it was leaving. I settled into my seat and decided to sleep. I arrived into Limon, waited an extra 2hrs and finally boarded my bus to Puerto Viejo. I was determined to make it to paradise.

And Paradise it was. The goal for this trip was to not do anything. No laptop. No bullet journal. No reading book. Just my normal diary and myself.

Despite falling in love with Puerto Viejo’s natural beauty, I couldn’t help feel uncomfortable by the tourism here. The tourists and expats here aren’t as friendly as the ones I’ve met in Jamaica. In fact, there was an air of ‘they’ and ‘us’. Speaking to locals, without even asking them about it, they mentioned it. Yes, there are friendly foreigners, but the majority kept to themselves. I felt really conscious of my skin colour interacting with the other tourists here. They really live in an expat bubble here.

The other thing that stood out to me was that this was a hippy town. Blonde dreadlocks and dream catcher tattoos were plentiful. I even saw someone who wasn’t black braiding hair on the beach…in an Afro-Latino town *side eye*. The other thing that perplexed me were the prices. Yes, I had heard that Costa Rica was expensive, but the prices for things that catered to hippies was high. Sipping green juices and being filled with love and light comes at a price here.

Despite all of this, the locals were awesome – Costa Ricans and the Afro-Costa Ricans. Being descendants of Jamaicans, they still speak Patois (although they call it Creole). They even still cook like us (to my pleasure). My experience with the locals was much better than with the tourists and expats, and along with the food and the natural beauty of this coast, they made me know I would be coming back to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

What To Do

Surf or learn to surf. When the ocean is calm, it’s possible to snorkel from Playa Punta Uva. Kayak down Rio Uva. Walk along the beach from Playa Uva Arrecifes to Manzanillo (this is a long walk, I attempted it and as beautiful the stretch was, it was getting late and I was tired and hungry so I turned back). Take a day trip to Cahuita and hike and snorkel in the national park there. Hike trails within Refugio Nacional Gandoca-Manzanillo to beaches or go on a snorkel trip. Hike to Kekoldi or the Bri Bri waterfall. Visit the jaguar rescue centre and do the chocolate tour. Visit a spa or take yoga classes. Keep an eye out for sloths and howler monkeys (they are every where!). There is so much to do here, and this is one of the reasons why I love Puerto Viejo.

Where to Eat

De Gustibus Bakery (I love this place so much! Also a good place to work digitally from – it has outlets). Port Vell Food & Juice – came here for breakfast twice. Selvin’s in Punta Uva is absolutely delicious – you have to try their Rondon #perfection. Bamboo Cha – this restaurant in Punta Uva is Caribbean-Italian fusion that I agree with. I had their shrimp dish and it was a treat. If you go to Puerto Viejo and you find a place that does crab, let me know because I searched long and hard for it but could only find lobster. Apart from all of these options, eat at local restaurants. They have this type of chicken called Caribbean Chicken – it’s what we Jamaicans call Brown Stew Chicken. There’s a little shop called Caribbean Soda, eat here. Also, check out Ghetto Girl – their food is great. Eat at local restaurants and support them!

Where to stay

Where I stayed, I’m on the fence of recommending. I stayed at Walaba Hostel and Guesthouse and it’s proximity to Punta Uva beach and Selvin’s restaurant is great, but it’s not my level of clean (even though it has a good rating on Hostel World). I stayed in a double room, and next time I go to Puerto Viejo, I’m going to rent a cabin in the main town. I will update here after my next trip.

How To Get There And Get Around

Don’t be like me, get to the correct bus terminal that has a direct bus to Puerto Viejo. The times for this bus is not frequent though and if you do find yourself in the wrong bus terminal have no fear. Take a bus to Limon and from there take the bus to Puerto Viejo (it’s actually cost effective). There are more buses that go to Puerto Viejo than to Manzanillo (the last town on the Caribbean coast), although it is possible to get to Puerto Viejo on the Manzanillo bus. I was based in Punta Uva, a small town, 10mins outside of Puerto Viejo and the bus running between Limon and Manzanillo was the bus I took between my accommodation and Puerto Viejo. There are also taxis and tuk-tuks in Puerto Viejo that can take you to Punta Uva and Manzanillo.

Playa Punta Uva on Costa Rica Caribbean Coast

Hostel dog on the beach in Playa Punta Uva

Playa Punta Uva Costa Rica

Playa Negra Puerto Viejo de Talamanca de Costa Rica

 

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