Puerto Viejo de Talamanca (Puerto Viejo for short) is located in the southeastern tip of Costa Rica, not to be confused with the Puerto Viejo in northeastern Costa Rica. Generally, if someone mentions Puerto Viejo, it is likely that they’re referencing de Talamanca, since it is a world renowned surf spot. It is home to the colossal Salsa Brava, the largest waves in all of Costa Rica, which draw surfers from all over the country to give them a ride.
Surrounding Puerto Viejo is a series of other beautiful beaches also located on the Carribean. Because of it’s location along the beach and it’s bordering of Panama, a mix of different cultures and people live in the area; including Ticas and Ticos, Afro-Caribbean, the Bribri Indians, and expatriate Europeans. The town itself has a rustic charm, as the roads are still dirt paved and the locals are known to be extremely welcoming. Across the beach are stretches of palm trees that end up leading towards Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge to the south and Cahuita National Park to the north. And because much of the surrounding area is undeveloped or protected by the government, there are long, peaceful strips of beach perfect for long walks or personal sunbathing.
The area is also perfect for monkey sightings! The howler monkey, named for its loud vocalizations, is common across South and Central American and is indigenous to Puerto Viejo and its surrounding area!
An extremely cool attraction near Puerto Viejo is the Jaguar Rescue Centre, which is an exotic animal rescue center that rehabilitates poorly conditioned animals (for various reasons) in order to introduce them to back into protected zones of their natural habitat. At various times during the day, the center opens its doors to visitors and allows them to interact with animals. If you’re interested in a howler monkey toddler in a diaper crawling around your head, you may want to visit!
It’s hard to imagine that not long ago it was simply a tiny, nearly barren fishing town, now that it has a nifty town center with restaurants, bars, surf shops, hotels, and tour guides that can help fulfill any adventurous desires!
As mentioned earlier, there are two locations named Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica. If you ever hop on a bus from San Jose to Puerto Viejo, make sure to find out immediately whether the bus is heading north or south, as there will be no obvious distinction on the bus’s location indicator which of the two is the final destination.