Puerto Viejo is a small town stretched on the Caribbean coastline of Costa Rica, close to the Panama boarder. The town is very popular by surfers and backpackers, and affordable hostels, restaurants, bars and tour operators can be found here. You can reach Puerto Viejo by bus from the Panama border (45min) or from San Jose (around 4 hours), passing Puerto Limón.
Another great option is to RAFT into Puerto Viejo. You can choose an outfitter for the Pacuare River that will pick you up at your San Jose hotel, feed you breakfast, 4 hours of rafting (that includes lunch) and a transfer to your Caribbean destination. Lots of companies offer these trips, just make sure the one you choose includes a pick up from your hotel AND a drop off in Puerto Viejo included in the package.
In the evening handicraft market opens along main street in the center and many bars try to lure the tourists with happy hours. And forget any idea you might have had about roughing it in the food department - Puerto Viejo offers fantastic dining at amazing prices.
The beaches are long and sandy, and the close reef line create great surfing spot. Behind the sandy beaches the rainforest started immediately, making a great shade and incredibly picturesque setting. One of the best ways to go around is to rent a bike and explore. Much wildlife can be found and rainforest tours are offered by dozens of tour operators.
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