There are beautiful places all around Costa Rica with a variety of activities to do, extraordinary places to see, and culture to learn about. Last week I, along with the 18 other people in my group, took a 4 hour bus ride to Puerto Viejo, a small beach town in the province Limón. Puerto Viejo was especially fun to see because of the Caribbean influence on the culture.
Reggae music, Rasta inspired, and relaxed atmosphere describe Puerto Viejo. Just like many other countries, different parts of the Costa Rica have differences in culture. This was evident in Puerto Viejo because of the Caribbean influence.
So what are some cultural differences of Caribbean side of San José and the Pacific side and San José? Well for one thing, the food. In many parts of Costa Rica, Gallo Pinto is a very popular dish and it is rice and beans with cilantro. Along the Caribbean side, many people use coconut milk when cooking this to create a sweeter flavor, which they call “Rica and Beans.” People are very laid back, and the style of clothing and dress was different, even the decor of buildings had its own style and vibes from the other parts of Costa Rica that I’ve seen.
What are some of the other great parts of Puerto Viejo? Well, mostly everything is walkable if you stay close the main part of town. There are a lot of surfers in Puerto Viejo, so definitely a fun place to try surfing if you’ve never done it (Jacó beach is another great beach in Costa Rica for surfing!) Most of the Caribbean beaches are known for their white sand, but in Puerto Viejo there are white sand beaches and “Playa Negra,” which is a beach with black sand. Even though the days were cloudier when we visited, because this part of the country is a little colder very south, the water was still warm and it was even a little humid during the day.
One last thing that I think you shouldn’t miss out on if you have the chance to go to Puerto Viejo is to go to the Jaguar Recuse Center. The volunteers at the rescue center find animals in the wild that are in need of help. For example a monkey that hurt its foot or abandoned baby sloths. They take care of the animals and release around 50% of them back into the wild when they are ready to return. It’s a great way to see how animals are cared for in Costa Rica, and all of the animals were very cute!