Costa Rica is known for it's lush Pacific coastline - amazing sunsets, idyllic surf spots, and exotic wildlife. However, the country also had a magnificent Caribbean coastline. This coast, however, is much less developed than it's Pacific counterpart. This means more to explore, more adventure to be had and for intrepid families - really special memories to make!
This southern Caribbean destination is a really interesting mix of indigenous (Bribri and Cabecar), West African, Chinese and Costa Rican that is unique within the country. This cultural blend informs everything, especially the flavorful cuisine and the Calypso or live Reggae being performed at local beach bars.
Here's why you need to run to Puerto Viejo - before everyone else does!
Hotel Aguas Claras
We're thrilled about the opening of Hotel Aguas Claras in Puerto Viejo - the first luxury boutique hotel on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast!
Owned and operated by a mother/daughter duo, the hotel's decor is truly unique. Expect to find pops of 70s surfer style mixed with Victorian-era touches and an eclectic mix of repurposed & custom made furniture & art pieces combine for a Wes-Anderson-esque design vibe that is both chic, cool and welcoming.
The property is literally steps to the beach. Enjoy their beach club set up right on the beach, the on property restaurant or hop on a bike and head out one of the many fresh, organic restaurants that dot the main road through Puerto Viejo.
OMG The Beaches!
Puerto Viejo consists of 5 unique beaches, each a pristine crescent with their own unique personality. Hotel Aguas Claras is just a few steps to the clear waters and coral reefs of Playa Chiquita where you can snorkel right from the beach.
Black, gold and white sand beaches dot the surrounding coast, offering multiple locations to surf, swim or snorkel. Both Cahuita National Park and Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, home to monkeys, sloths and endangered Great Green Macaws all in the area.
And So Much to Explore
My family loved the Jaguar Rescue Center when we were in the area a few years go. This rescue center is a temporary or permanent home for ill, injured and orphaned animals. With a focus on monkeys, sloths, other mammals, birds and reptiles, the JRC provides veterinary services, round-the-clock care and comfort to animals that would otherwise be unable to survive in the rainforest or the waters of the Caribbean. Learn more (or make a donation!) here.
Enjoy fresh roasted coffee and see how chocolate is made from tree to tasting! This local coffee is grown high in the mountains where liquid sunshine and cool breezes develop the best flavors in the bean.
Kids will also love checking out the Green Macaw project in Puerto Viejo. The objective of the project is to establish a self-sustainable population in the region, working to re-introduce Green Macaws into the wild (they were virtually extinct just a few years ago.) The South Caribbean area of Costa Rica is selected for this project mainly because of the regions extraordinary natural habitat protected by the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge within the county of Talamanca, which has 88% of its territory under some category of environmental protection, supplying abundant food for the macaws.
If you're looking for something a little more adventurous and untouched for your next family beach vacation - Puerto Viejo is a winner!