Puerto Viejo – Costa Rica

While finally having my camera back, it was a bit on the spot on Thursday night with Hugo that we decided to hit Puerto Viejo the next day.

Early morning friday, with a hangover, we went to the bus station of San Carlos, in San Jose. The big difference with any other place in Latin America is that there is not “one main bus station”, there might be 5-8 different ones, depending on the destination you wanna aim for. So as a good councel, better ask a taxi to drive you there and aim to be there at least 1h30 before the bus leaves. We arrived 45 min before, and had the choice between a standing seat for 5 hours, or wait 2 hours to get a proper seat on the next bus. No wonder we prefered to wait 2 more hours….

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The bus took us over the hills through some beautiful landscapes full of jungle and hills, crossing a few rivers before going slowly down to the Caribean coast, such as el Rio Sucio (the dirty river) see below, maybe due to volcanos….not sure.

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On the road a lot of big trucks were also part of the traffic and did not made our trip extremely quicker…but well as they say in Costa Rica … Pura Vida. Most of them were carrying big containers.

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Before reaching Limon, I was astonished by the number of merchandise containers and banana cultures. If you go to the supermarket in Switzerland and elsewhere and see the banana’s Chiquita or Del Monte, there are from here, Costa Rica. Pineapple culture was also heavily present along the road.

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We also discovered the local cows, a bit different than the ones we have back at home 😉 Yes I know it is very swiss to compare the cows from another country…. that’s why we are so proud of our milk, cheese, cream, yogurt and chocolate.

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A striking picture when arriving in Limon, the main road actually passes through the cemetary…. surprising. And the coconut tree reminded us that we arrived on the Caribean coast YES!

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We finally arrived at 6 pm in Puerto Viejo, just when the sun went down. We managed to get a really good hotel for a very good price! The name is Hotel Pura Vida, this is perfect, the spot is closeby to the center but remains quiet, clean and comfortable!

Puerto Viejo is a small town on the Caribbean, very close Panama’s border and it’s the most developped touristy town on this side of the country. It has a relaxing vibe, everyone is travelling by bike in town and you will definitely spot the typical rasta men people 😉

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The beach right at Puerto Viejo is not the nicest, but you still get the feeling of a very natural place, away from the pollution of San Jose.

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For saturday, we decided to walk within the National Parc of Cahuita (30 min away from Puerto Viejo, and… although I thought we would be late to spot some animals, we actually got quite lucky. especially for the snakes. Amongst other animals we saw lots of small lizards such as these ones :

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A couple of howling monkeys, more brownish than the ones from Mexico.

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The beach was extremely nice and natural.

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The walking path was between the side of the beach and sometimes a bit deeper in the jungle.

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We also spotted a lot of these quite decently big spiders :

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A squirrel absolutely not afraid, looking for some nuts hidden on the ground.

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And the cherry on the cake for me, two snakes, one garden snake I believe (the first one).

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And this Viper of Schlegel at 3 meter high on a tree, beautiful yellow color.

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The afternoon will be relaxed back in Puerto Viejo and the night will count a few drinks with a lot more people than on Friday. But no crazy party 😉