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Advice: Puerto Viejo worth the drive?

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Advice: Puerto Viejo worth the drive?

Thinking of flying into San Jose, stopping for a night at the Toucan rescue ranch, then driving down to Puerto Viejo for ocean side activities. Then up to Tortuguero. Is that a sane start of the trip? Or is Puerto Viejo not worth it... Thank you. Travelling with two pre-teens who would want surf, windsailing, snorkeling, any cool water activities -- as well as cool nature. Hoping it's less touristy than Manuel Antonio?

Thank you forum!!!

Costa Rica
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1. Re: Advice: Puerto Viejo worth the drive?

Well, yes, it's "worth the drive." An assortment of beaches, wildlife, surfing, etc. But you need to plan at least 2-3 nights in the area. Then to Tortuguero for a couple of days. If you are driving, you can drive north to Moin and park your car in a secure, fenced area and take the boat for Tortuguero. It's an amazing 3-hour ride and you will think you are in the Amazon! Beautiful.

Then you can return from Tortutuero and pick up your car at Moin.

And definitely less touristy than Manuel Antonio.

Puerto Viejo de...
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2. Re: Advice: Puerto Viejo worth the drive?

Puerto Viejo is still what it is because it is a relatively long journey. If however you are thinking of 2 nights I would not do it. The area deserves 4 or more nights in my opinion. Remember that if surfing is good, snorkelling usually isn't.

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3. Re: Advice: Puerto Viejo worth the drive?

Definitively worth the drive. And much much less touristy then Manuel Antonio. Your kids will have all of their activities less windsurfing (I have seen some windsurfers only on Lake Arenal). Go for it!

Puerto Viejo, Costa...
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4. Re: Advice: Puerto Viejo worth the drive?

Yes, we are less touristy then Manuel Antonio. Some items on your list are not here such as wind-sailing, snorkelling can be hit and miss, etc etc. But our destination is more for the adventurous traveller.

If you you are wondering whether Puerto Viejo is "worth the drive", note that it is currently rated at #5 (and has been for a long time) on top researched destinations in Costa Rica on TripAdvisor.


Because we do not have an airport, very multi-cultural, and less developed we have a very different type of tourist the the Pacific. The one thing that is clear after having lived here and catering to tourists... while I love it... It is clearly not for everyone. But, that too is what makes it special for me.

If you decide to come, let us know how you found it. Cheers, Colin.

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5. Re: Advice: Puerto Viejo worth the drive?

Puerto Viejo is a boon to the independent traveler and has an eclectic, laid back hippie-ish feel, with the total absence of the megaresorts with their kiddie pools and golfcourses you find on the pacific coast. Here you will find small family owned hotels, bungalows or eco lodges nestled into the jungle by the beach or close to it. The surf culture is especially strong: The famed Salsa Brava break draws wave-worshippers from around the globe. But the área has a lot more to offer then just beach activities like surfing, snorkeling or working your tan. You can explore the rainforest, national parks, cacaoplantations, ziplining, hiking, horseback riding, waterfalls, kayaking, fishing tours or a visit to the Jaguar rescue center that guarantees you an up close experience of the local wildlife etc The options of things to do are so many. Its the only place in Costa Rica where you will find an eclectic mix that includes the afro caribbean influencies along with the indigenous comunities of BriBri ,Kekoldi and Cabecar in addition to the tico culture. It makes it quite special.

The town of Puerto Viejo is small and quite easy to navigate on foot and is where most of the shopping, restaurants and nightlife is concentrated. All the small beach comunities are close to eachother and easy to move inbetween.

Is it worth the drive? Yes definately.

Edited: 16 January 2014, 20:02
Punta Uva, Costa...
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6. Re: Advice: Puerto Viejo worth the drive?

It my favorite part of Costa Rica and worth visiting. Your family will have a blast, lots to see and do in the area to keep you busy the whole time. At least three full days there before you head for Tortuguero. http://www.lacostadepapito.com/ is a good place to stay for your family.

7. Re: Advice: Puerto Viejo worth the drive?

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