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stevev Jan 27th, 2006 07:55 PM

Puerto Viejo???
Ill be staying in Puerto Veijo for 10 days,
Can anyone give me info on the area. Safty,Bugs, Beach,stuff like that . I dont see much talk about the Carribean Side,Why is that?
Is there something That keeps people more on the pacific side? Ill be flying into San Jose late in the night,Then Taking the bus to Puerto Veijo the next morning. Can anyone help me choose a fair Priced hotel near the airport and close to the bus station,And easy to get to from the airport. Thanks

sandyc Jan 28th, 2006 07:03 AM

I was just in the area. The road is like Swiss cheese -- full of huge pot holes. It's very hot and humid on that side, I got more bug bites, but it has a different flavor, different food. I went with a Tica friend, and she warned me to roll up the windows and lock the car doors while driving through the city areas--people were walking up and looking into the car. You have to be careful at night like in San Jose.

The beaches are Atlantic and a little longer, but very rough. Some are not safe to swim in because they are so rough and some aren't safe because they have a lot of sharks. They tell you which ones to stay out of.

I'd definitely go to Tortuguero since you have a lot of time on that side. It's my favorite place in the area and one of my favorites in Costa Rica. I know Mawamba Lodge, Pachira,and the one next to Mawamba -- can't remember the name. Most of these involve package deals where they pick you up in Guapiles and they aren't cheap.

In Puerto Viejo I know Cariblue -- nice hotel. Simple cabins but pretty tilework and great food. Close to the beach. A different place is Samasati. You are up high in the forest and can get away from some of that heat. Very simple cabins, no amenities like shampoo & soap but they have a loft and a nice deck. Howlers wake you up, there's lots of birds like oro pendulas and toucans. Food is good but it was more like American style vegetarian. They have yoga classes there and some hiking trails. The breakfast there is pretty late compared to other places. They didn't serve until 8:00 or later. There are lots of smaller, probably cheaper hotels in Puerto Viejo.


rbrazill Jan 28th, 2006 07:15 AM

First of all, which Puerto Viejo are you talking about? There are two on the Caribbean side. One (Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui) is north, near Torteguero. The other, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is south of Limon on the Caribbean coast. I assume that's the one you're referring to.
We spent a week in Playa Uva, about five miles south of Puerto Viejo. I love the Caribbean side. The beaches are much nicer and virtually deserted. The snorkeling and diving can be better than the Pacific, but frequent rainfall clouds the water. I think the rainfall issue is one of the reasons people shy away from the Pacific side. It is the rainiest section of the country, and ironically, its driest month is November when the rest of the country is getting drenched.
The culture in the area around Puerto Viejo is an odd mixture of Jamaican (Jamaican laborers were brought there in the 19th century to build a railroad), Tico and indigenous people. Most people speak English, and many have Jamaican accents. There are reggae bars and Jamaican cuisine. There are alsdo a fair number of ex-pat north americans who hang out there.
Ten days there seems a little much unless you really love the beach. For something different, take a trip inland toward Bribri and see soome native American villages, or go down to Manzanillo and hike the trails on the cliffs above the shoreline. Have dinner at one of the best Italian restaurant in all of Costa Rica, La Pecora Nera in Playa Cocles.

stevev Jan 28th, 2006 02:36 PM

Thanks for the info,Anyone else have any opinions...Also tring to find a hotel near the San Jose airport for one night...Is Puerto Veijo Safe at night,or is it similar to Limon.

rbrazill Jan 28th, 2006 08:15 PM

Puerto Viejo is prefectly safe at night. There are a lot of restaurants and clubs, so there's a lot of foot traffic throughout the town.

Jilcha Jan 29th, 2006 05:51 AM

Just back from CR. On Thursday we took a bus from Cahuita to Puerto Viejo for the day. Honostly, I didn't like Puerto Viejo much. We found some fun shops, enjoyed watching the surfers. The locals in Cahuita told us before we left to not stay in in Puerto Viejo after dark and to be careful-I feel that they were right. We weren't very comfortable there and felt it was shady.

Roosters Jan 29th, 2006 07:33 AM

We were in Puerto Viejo for a week in November. WE LOVED PUERTO VIEJO!!!

No "Americanized" high rises--just beach, bungalows and jungle....and, some amazing restaurants.

It was the most relaxing vacation we ever had. Azania Bungalows was where we chose to sleep and hang out. They were intimate, inexpensive, charming and just what I pictured from their website. Breakfasts are included in the 50 dollars per night (total price for two) price and the bungalow sleeps 4....they have lofts--GREAT bathrooms and the beds are comfortable. We especially loved the front decks with the hammocks and the flowers and manicured jungle that surrounds the bungalows. We saw sloths everyday and a chorus of frogs sang us to sleep. The BLUE butterfly is mesmerizing...I think it is a Morpho....

I felt safe always. We were at the beach in the evenings and in town during the evenings....and, it always felt safe. There are quite a few people that are "selling their wares" that may approach you to buy their products...but, it wasn't as often as when we visited Mexico.

Our highlights:

The restaurants in Puerto Viejo and area (Manzanillo/punta Uva) have got to be some of the best we have eaten in anywhere..and, we travel quite a bit. We didn't have one bad meal/experience while dining.

The JUNGLE SPA--It was next to Azania and we went there to get massages, facials, etc. WONDERFUL........

Bri-Bri Chocolate House...It isn't called that but there is a rough sign on the side of the road indicating Bri-Bri crafts. The owner of the Jungle Spa told us about the place and we went on an adventure to find it. Petronella--the lady of the "chocolate" house...opened up her home to us and showed us how she makes chocolate...starting from the Cocoa trees that are in her back yard.

Echo Books--charming--WAY off the road bookstore...back in the jungle...Shaun--the owner--makes chocolates and coffee and has a small selection of great books and music. She is American and would love donations of children's books for an after-school reading program she is running there. The Puerto Viejo children get the "leftovers" from San Jose.

The beaches--beautiful and the few sunny days we had....they were pure blue. The rest of the rainy days created massive waves and the local surfers were out in full force entertaining us for hours...the waves were literally 10-15 feet least seemed that way from the shore...BIG waves....graceful surfers.

La Pecora Nera--AWESOME Italian Food...however, there were several in the town of Puerto Viejo that rivaled it. I forget their was something like--Puerto Viejo Cafe'. Europeans everywhere so the food is quite tasty..however, the Carribean food was phenomenal...tasty sauces.

We have been to Tamarindo and Arenal...two other places we loved, also. We didn't like Manuel Antonio--it felt dirty, very touristy, and beach access was difficult. However, Puerto Viejo felt like it could be home.

We also stayed at the Peace Lodge. (about an hour north of San Jose) It was beautiful and exquisite...two hot tubs in one's in the HUGE bathroom that has a waterfall...and, one on the deck. But, it felt a bit contrived and it was PRICEY. For the money--Azania Bungalows or Cariblue are my accomodations of choice for the next visit to Costa Rica.

carrom Jan 29th, 2006 09:43 AM

I also highly reccommend Puerto viejo. I found it totally safe and we always left the kids (teenagers) to roam around at night and find their way back to the hotel. We stayed at Villas del Caribe and highly reccommend it. have a look at their web site. it's a little out of town towards punta Uva and manzanillo where the beaches are much nicer. The beach in front of PV is not great but you can bike or walk easily to the others. Go for it!

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