Lined with shops, restaurants and bars with Reggaeton in the background, Puerto Viejo, the capital of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is the place to relax and do NOTHING all day! Every travellers’ day is comprised of waking up, eating breakfast and heading to the beach. Note that none of the restaurants open till 9-10, so if you’re suffering jet lag and need a bite earlier, buying food at the supermarket the night before is the best bet. Almost all hotels and hostels in Puerto Viejo have a shared kitchen. Half a day of lazing by the rock pools on the Main Street (basically like bath water with no waves), an eco friendly smoothie at Bar Salsa Brava and some local Caribbean lunch was our idea of HEAVEN (my personal favourite, filet de pescado or fish fillet with rice and beans).
We spent 2-3 days here and enjoyed some well earned sunshine and beach bumming at Punta Uva. This beach is about a 4km bike ride from Puerto Viejo, and has a huge reef for snorkelling about 3 feet from the shoreline! If a little piece of private tropical paradise is what you’re after, look nowhere else. Head to Punta Uva.
What didn’t go so well….Having stayed in the luxurious Congo Bongo and the Nature Observatario to kick off our 6 month vacation, we decided move onto the traveller lifestyle for the next month, which began with our stay in Puerto Viejo. We ended up in a hostel with sloping floors in the room with just enough space to put our bags down. These however were the positives that we took away from staying there for the 1 night (even though we paid for 2 nights). The bedding looked like it hadn’t seen clean water for some months so we used our sleeping bag liners to sleep in/sweat in! The shared bathrooms were pretty disgusting and also hadn’t been cleaned for some time. This was copounded by the “toilet paper in the bin” rule, especially when you have to push the mound of pooey toilet paper down to get yours in. We managed the night and then decided to make some breakfast in the rubbish laden kitchen (the cat aparently liked going through the rubbish at night). We did survive and have learnt to always take more notice of travellers reviews as this place got a terrible rating on all sites which we somehow missed from all the ‘chilling’. FU Blue Butterfly Hostel. On the plus side we moved onto a lovely place that made up a bit for the previous night.
For us, this Caribbean ‘party’ town was just like being in Goa. Only, Goa is a million miles better! We did however learn two valuable Spanish words that aptly describe our time here..’pura vida’ which means simple life and ‘lento’ which means slow! Basically how everyone here lives!