Puerto Viejo is one of the most laid back places in Costa Rica
It wasn’t that long ago that there were no roads to Puerto Viejo: no cars, no visitors, and subsequently, no money. But things have changed. Puerto Viejo’s extraordinary undeveloped beaches and easy-going atmosphere have been discovered, as new cabinas, hotels, and infrastructure throughout the area proclaim the arrival of tourism.
There was a time when most people visited Puerto Viejo de Talamanca for one thing: surfing, and although it's still a major draw for the surfers who arrive in droves from December through March to rip its legendary surf breaks but Puerto Viejo has much more to offer than just a haven for surfer types. Puerto Viejo has always been known for its Jamaican/Caribbean VIBE and now not only attracts the surfers but has become one of the hottest destinations on the budget-travel circuit as well. The easiest way to explain who goes to Puerto Viejo, well let's just say if Bob Marley and the Grateful Dead ever were to put on a concert in heaven... I would say Puerto Viejo is the Caribbean equivalent of Malpais located on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, where surfing and partying also seem to go hand in hand.
Good news is, if you're not into pot smoke and reggae, the beaches south may be more your thing, and even BETTER- the beaches south are MUCH nicer. Definitely don't miss Playa Cocles, Playa Chiquita, Manzanillo and the very picturesque, Punta Uva. Puerto Viejo for the party, beaches south for the tranquility.
If you’re talking pure beach culture, then Puerto Viejo is the epitome of this. Its strong contingent of afro-Caribbean inhabitants contributes to its inclination towards Rasta culture. With reggae beats jamm’in in the background and the pungent smell of ganja lingering in the air, one can easily lose themselves in this laid back beach town.
If you’re in a hurry, then Puerto Viejo is NOT the place for you, as nothing is done today that you could possibly do tomorrow. The rush that is evident in many other cultures around the world is simply absent from this paradise beach enclave. Obviously, this is the allure and one of the main reasons it is so popular among beach bums, eco-tourists, and ex-pats seeking an end to the hustle and bustle of other faster paced cultures.