What's There to To Do in Puerto Viejo?
We've listed some of our favorite activities here. If you'd like to check prices and details on any of the tours and activities we can book online for you before you get here, check our tours page.
Exploring Area Beaches
One of the great things about this area is the diversity of the different beaches that are in the area. Playa Negra, the black sand beach stretches for miles north from the center of town steps from your door all the way to Cahuita National Park. Head South from town walking along the "Coconut Walk" and you'll end up at Playa Cocles, a sandy beach popular with surfers and beach bums alike. Playa Chiquita is the next beach southward, probably better reached by bicycle along the flat roads, and it offers a more mellow experience. The beach at Punta Uva has been described as one of the world's most beautiful beaches - it is calm and excellent for snorkeling. At the end of the beach road, 8km from Puerto Viejo, is the small village of Manzanillo and it's beach. Beyond that lay miles of wild coast in the protected Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge.
If you want a unique way to explore the beaches, try it on horseback!
Hiking and Nature Watching
Nature surrounds you in this area - often it will come to you! But most popular places for spotting monkeys, sloths, nesting sea turtles (in season), exotic birds and more are Cahuita National Park and the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. We recommend seeing these places in the company of a local guide to maximize the amount of wildlife you will spot and make it a unforgettable experience.
Local dive shops offer complete excursions and training services for divers that visit the area. The Caribbean coral reefs shelter 35 species of coral, as well as dolphins and more than a hundred species of reef fish creating a huge bio-diversity unique to Costa Rica.
Aren't certified to dive yet? No problem, they offer discovery dives and scuba certification courses as well. See the full details on our scuba diving options here.
And if you're not up for diving there are lots of lovely snorkelling places. Rent a mask and fins and head off to one of the local beaches or book one of our snorkelling tours: Dolphin Watching and Snorkeling | Cahuita Boat, Snorkel and Hiking Trip
Another unique way to see nature, pioneered in Costa Rica, is high up in the trees on a platform or zipping between platforms on a zipline. Many of Costa Rica's flora and fauna never come down from the trees. So we send you up there to see them!
Surfing and Boogey Boarding
There are beaches for all levels here. Costa Rica's surfing
champion Gilbert Brown hails from this area so it's both a great
place to learn and to become an expert! Here are some of the
Find all these places on the map.
The Costa Rican Caribbean has some of the world's best whitewater rafting with rivers suitable for all levels and all experiences. Whether you want a thrill a minute whitewater experience or a calm float down river valleys of unspoiled wilderness. This is a great day trip from Puerto Viejo and includes round trip transportation, breakfast and lunch and all equipment you'll need. If you book this trip on the day you're arriving or the day you're leaving too, you can also elect to get pick up or drop-off as well at San Jose or Arenal area hotels so it means you get your transportation to/from the Caribbean for free! (your luggage is securely stored while you are on the river).
Puerto Viejo and area not only has great Caribbean style food but a great international selection of restaurants and bars to choose from. Check out the Puerto Viejo Restaurants Directory for an idea of some of the choices and to see what comments other people have left on these places.
Out of Area Trips
We've just scratched the surface with what you can do in Puerto Viejo. But we know your vacation time in our paradise is limited and there's so much to see! But here are a couple of add-on adventures you can do from Puerto Viejo. These make especially good options to do at the end of your Puerto Viejo trip as they include transportation from Puerto Viejo and then you can continue your trip from there.
Check out the full list of all the tours and activities we recommend and can book for you.