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Expat Exchange - Discovering the Best of Puerto Viejo 2024
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Playa Cocles near Puerto Viejo on Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast


Discovering the Best of Puerto Viejo

By Betsy Burlingame

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Summary: Discover the charm of Puerto Viejo with our guide to the city's top attractions, culinary hotspots, and vibrant nightlife. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, we'll also help you find the best recreational activities to enjoy, and offer advice on making lasting connections with the friendly locals.

Welcome to Puerto Viejo! If you're planning to move to Puerto Viejo, congratulations on taking the first step towards a new adventure. While there are many things to think about before you leave, such as visas, housing, and transportation, it's important to remember that once you arrive, the fun really begins. In this article, we'll introduce you to some of the best sites, restaurants, and nightlife that Puerto Viejo has to offer, as well as provide tips on recreational activities and making friends in Puerto Viejo.

Puerto Viejo is a vibrant coastal town that offers a plethora of attractions for both tourists and locals. One of the most popular sites is the Cahuita National Park, a protected marine and terrestrial park that boasts a rich biodiversity. Here, visitors can explore the coral reef, hike through the rainforest, and spot wildlife such as monkeys, sloths, and a variety of bird species. Another must-visit is the Jaguar Rescue Center, a rehabilitation center for injured and orphaned animals. Visitors can take a guided tour and learn about the center's conservation efforts. For those interested in indigenous culture, the BriBri Indigenous Reserve offers a unique opportunity to learn about the BriBri people, their traditions, and their relationship with nature.

For beach lovers, Puerto Viejo offers several stunning beaches. Playa Negra is known for its black sand and calm waters, while Punta Uva is a secluded beach perfect for snorkeling and swimming. Surfing enthusiasts should not miss Salsa Brava, known as the most powerful wave in Costa Rica. The town itself is also worth exploring, with its colorful Caribbean-style houses, local craft shops, and bustling farmers market.

The restaurant and nightlife scene in Puerto Viejo is as diverse and vibrant as the town itself. One of the most popular restaurants is Bread and Chocolate, a cozy café that serves delicious breakfasts and lunches, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients. For a taste of Caribbean cuisine, visit Soda Lidia's Place, known for its traditional dishes like rice and beans, coconut chicken, and fresh seafood. Another favorite is Madre Tierra, a stylish restaurant that offers a fusion of Mediterranean and Caribbean flavors.

When it comes to nightlife, Puerto Viejo does not disappoint. Lazy Mon at Stanford's is a popular beachfront bar that offers live music, great cocktails, and a relaxed atmosphere. For those who want to dance the night away, Club Arrecife is the place to be, with its lively reggae and dancehall music. Johnny's Place is another popular spot, known for its beach parties and fire shows.

Recreational activities in Puerto Viejo are centered around nature and adventure. Surfing is a major draw, with Salsa Brava and Playa Cocles being the top spots. Several surf schools, like Surf the Jungle and Caribeans Surf School, offer lessons for all levels. Snorkeling and diving are also popular, with the coral reef at Cahuita National Park being a prime location. For those who prefer land-based activities, there are numerous hiking and biking trails in the area. The Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is a great place for hiking, bird watching, and wildlife spotting.

For a more relaxed activity, yoga is quite popular, with several studios like Om Yoga and Casa Zen offering classes. Horseback riding is another fun way to explore the area, with companies like Brisas del Caribe offering guided tours. Lastly, for those interested in cultural experiences, a visit to the BriBri Indigenous Reserve or a chocolate tour with the indigenous community is a must.

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Traveling Mailbox serves thousands of travelers, expats, digital nomads, businesses, individuals and others in over 47 Countries by scanning their postal mail so they can view it online anywhere in the world. They provide customer service 7 days a week so if you need assistance, it is just a phone call away. Traveling Mailbox works with Evernote, Bill.com and Dropbox. And, there are Traveling Mailbox apps available for iOS and Android devices.
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Insider Tips from Expats in Puerto Viejo: Making the Most of Life and Connections

"Expats in Puerto Viejo, often join local clubs and activities to meet people and immerse themselves in the local culture. These include yoga classes, surfing clubs, and Spanish language courses. Many also participate in local community service projects, such as beach cleanups and volunteering at animal rescue centers, which are great ways to meet like-minded individuals.In addition to joining clubs and activities, expats often meet people by attending local events and festivals. Puerto Viejo is known for its vibrant music scene, and many expats enjoy going to live music performances at local bars and restaurants. The town also hosts several annual festivals, such as the Chocolate Festival and the Sea Turtle Festival, which attract both locals and expats.Another popular way for expats to meet people in Puerto Viejo is by participating in local sports. The town has a number of sports teams, including soccer and volleyball, and joining a team can be a great way to make friends and stay active. Expats also often meet people through their children's schools. Many expats in Puerto Viejo have children who attend the local international school, and parent-teacher organizations and school events provide opportunities to meet other expat families.Finally, many expats in Puerto Viejo meet people simply by being active members of the community. This can involve shopping at local markets, dining at local restaurants, or simply striking up conversations with neighbors. The town has a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, and many expats find that they quickly feel at home," said one expat living in Puerto Viejo.

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Traveling Mailbox serves thousands of travelers, expats, digital nomads, businesses, individuals and others in over 47 Countries by scanning their postal mail so they can view it online anywhere in the world. They provide customer service 7 days a week so if you need assistance, it is just a phone call away. Traveling Mailbox works with Evernote, Bill.com and Dropbox. And, there are Traveling Mailbox apps available for iOS and Android devices.

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

Traveling MailboxTraveling Mailbox

Traveling Mailbox serves thousands of travelers, expats, digital nomads, businesses, individuals and others in over 47 Countries by scanning their postal mail so they can view it online anywhere in the world. They provide customer service 7 days a week so if you need assistance, it is just a phone call away. Traveling Mailbox works with Evernote, Bill.com and Dropbox. And, there are Traveling Mailbox apps available for iOS and Android devices.
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Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

"Life for expats and digital nomads in Puerto Viejo is often described as relaxed and laid-back, with a strong emphasis on outdoor activities and nature. The town is known for its vibrant culture, friendly locals, and beautiful beaches, making it a popular destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The cost of living is relatively low compared to many Western countries, and the local cuisine is both delicious and affordable. The town has a good internet connection, which is essential for digital nomads, and there are several co-working spaces available. The community of expats and digital nomads in Puerto Viejo is quite diverse and welcoming, with many social events and activities to participate in. The locals are also very friendly and welcoming to foreigners, making it easy to integrate and feel at home.Despite its laid-back atmosphere, Puerto Viejo also offers a vibrant nightlife with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. The town is also known for its commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices, which is reflected in the local businesses and lifestyle.However, it's worth noting that while Spanish is the official language, English is widely spoken in tourist areas, making it easier for expats and digital nomads to communicate. Overall, life in Puerto Viejo offers a unique blend of relaxation, adventure, and cultural immersion, making it an ideal destination for expats and digital nomads," commented an expat living in Puerto Viejo.

Traveling MailboxTraveling Mailbox
Connect

Traveling Mailbox serves thousands of travelers, expats, digital nomads, businesses, individuals and others in over 47 Countries by scanning their postal mail so they can view it online anywhere in the world. They provide customer service 7 days a week so if you need assistance, it is just a phone call away. Traveling Mailbox works with Evernote, Bill.com and Dropbox. And, there are Traveling Mailbox apps available for iOS and Android devices.

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

Traveling MailboxTraveling Mailbox

Traveling Mailbox serves thousands of travelers, expats, digital nomads, businesses, individuals and others in over 47 Countries by scanning their postal mail so they can view it online anywhere in the world. They provide customer service 7 days a week so if you need assistance, it is just a phone call away. Traveling Mailbox works with Evernote, Bill.com and Dropbox. And, there are Traveling Mailbox apps available for iOS and Android devices.
Connect

Click connect to have our partner contact you via e-mail and/or phone.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Playa Cocles near Puerto Viejo on Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast

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SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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