After our house sit in Costa Rica we headed south to Puerto Viejo, a hippy surfing town just before the border with Panama. Hearing great things about this place we wanted to stop and chill for a while even though we planned to travel through Costa Rica quickly.. as it’s not the most bank friendly place in Central America.
We were very pleasantly surprised when we arrived, we found real reggae, rastas and beautiful beaches. We thought we’d find this throughout the Caribbean but with the influx of reggaeton and dancehall our reggae needs had not be met at all. Tex-mex booms reggae all day long and was the perfect setting for watching the Champion’s League final too. With a mix of English and German it had the perfect atmosphere, with most of the rastas favouring England of course!
We really recommend renting a bike and riding from Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo (24km in total, there and back). It’s a nice flat ride, only a couple of small hills to tackle and riding through the wildlife refuge really feels like you’re in the middle of the jungle, keep an eye out for sloths and howler monkeys. You can stop at the beach in Punta Uva for a break about halfway and enjoy having the beach to yourselves. We wouldn’t recommend diving here as it’s expensive, there’s only two dive shops and they both offer 2 tank dives for $90 but if you cross the border to beautiful Bocas del Toro you’ll get a 2 tank dive for $60.
The food was superb and was a real highlight of our stay. Finding proper fusion restaurants we indulged in a few Indian curries, stone baked pizzas and our fair share of Pina Coladas ;) Stop at the bakery and pick up a patty for 1000c too, cheap but delicious!
The other highlight was the surf, although the waves weren’t big enough for the pro surfers, they rolled in at the perfect size for us to continue practicing. Gaz is pretty chuffed with his progress and feels he’s ready to catch some proper waves, although as all of you who know him will remember, his positive attitude often gets him running before he can walk. So stay tunes for pics of him getting smashed to pieces!
Currently, I’m at the standing up stage and feeling good until I get wiped out and end up with so much salt in my face it’s hard to see or breathe! Not quite pro’s yet but give it a few weeks (or years) and maybe, just maybe, we’ll impress!