Puerto Viejo: The Caribbean side of Costa Rica

Playa Negra

This past week was holy week so me and a couple of other teachers (John, Paul, Cory) went to Puerto Viejo.  Holy week is the week before Easter and is a big deal in Latin American countries.  We left Tuesday morning and came back Saturday.  Puerto Viejo is a small Caribbean community located about 4.5 hours from San Jose.  On Tuesday morning we left at 4:45 to take a 6:00am bus leaving from San Jose.  The 6am bus was full so we had to take a 6:30am bus.  Luckily there were more buses than normal because it was holy week.  Normally the next bus isn’t until 10am.  So, we got on the 6:30 bus and arrived in Puerto viejo around 11.  Found the place we were staying at and settled in.  We stayed in a ladys guest house that John had found on airbnb.  Airbnb is a website where people can rent out lodging.  The guest house was located in front of her main house, which she also rented out.  Unfortunately I did not take any pictures of it, but it was rustic and very simple.  It had a couple of rooms with beds in each.  A small table that we used for eating on and a basic kitchen.  The kitchen had a two stove burner and a fridge.  Simple, but it’s all we needed.  The first day we explored the town, walked around and hung out at the beach minutes from where we were staying.  The beach is called Playa Negra because of its black sand. It’s not considered one of their nicer beaches, but I thought it was awesome.  I had never seen black sand before and it was really fine.  No rocks and no shells.

                                                                                       The next day we rented  bikes from the

Playa Cocles

lady.  There is one road that runs through Puerto Viejo south to another place called Manzanillo.  Along the way there are a few beaches to stop at.  Manzanillo is about 12km away.  It may not seem like far to bike, but it was extremely hot and humid and we were on beach cruisers.  Anyway, the first beach along the way was playa Cocles.  Playa Cocles did not have black sand and had a lot more people than Negra.  It was a surfers beach.  The current was pretty strong and there were some waves coming in.  Sloppy waves, but still waves.  After spending some time there, we hopped back on our cruisers and continued our journey to the next beach.  The next stop was a beach called playa Chiquita (small beach).  Playa Chiquita was beautiful and slightly calmer than Cocles.  The beach wasn’t as wide, but it was another awesome and beautiful place to chill at.  After Chiquita we road to Manzanillo.  Ate lunch and spent some time in the national reserve.  It was unreal, we had beach to our left and jungle to our right.  At one point, we came across this secluded beach, with nobody there other than us.  It was like something out of a movie. At


about 5:00 we left Manzanillo and journeyed back to Puerto Viejo where we ate dinner and later went out.

On Thursday, our third day in Puerto Viejo the town started coming to life.  There were more cars and more people.  Lines of cars waiting to get in and out of the town.  This is because most Costa Ricans didn’t have off until Thursday and Friday.  Overall Thursday was a pretty relaxing day.  We spent most of the day at playa Cocles.  This time we walked there.  It was only about a 25 min walk from town.  After the beach we hung out at our place until it was time for dinner.  Had delightful fish at this one restaraunt and then went out.  The bars in Puerto Viejo are completely open .  They have an awesome vibe, especially the ones on the beach.  This one bar we went to had giant swings and they also had pool tables.  Most of the bars had some type of live music.  Of course it was they were reggae bands. Whether you like reggae music or not, in that setting it is hard not to.  Friday was pretty much a repeat of Thursday and the rest of the week.  A lot of beach time and a lot of relaxing.  It also consisted of a lot of drinking.  The bus ride the next morning was one of the worst experiences of my life.  Riding on a hot unairconditioned bus would have been bad enough, but, to make matters worse, the bus bounced back and fourth like a ship in the ocean.  I wanted to sleep because I was exhausted and couldn’t because if I closed my eyes I would have thrown up.  Unable to move and unable to sleep I sat on the bus waiting and wishing for it to be over.

Overall awesome week.


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