First Whole Day in Puerto Viejo
Puerto Viejo Travel Blog› entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
I arrived late into Puerto Viejo late on 10/23 after my whitewater trip down the Pacuare River. My outfitter, Expladores Outdoors including a transfer to my hotel free of charge in my raft package. This is a fantastic service and they literally delivered me to the front door of my hotel.
It was around 5pm - - already well past sunset in this part of the world. I checked in, got cleaned up and took a taxi into town to have dinner. Early evening is actually pretty quiet - as a party town - - people don't come out until later and then stay out all night. Given the rain, the darkness and the fact that I had NO IDEA what I was dealing with, I decided to turn in early and be ready to take on the town in the light of day.
Woke up at 5am on 10/24 and the sun was already peeking out of the horizon. Walked into town around 6am with the goal of walking the entire length of it to get a general overview of what I was dealing with. NOTHING is open at that time - - but luckily I stumbled accross Cafe Kira - - they open at 7am (except on Sundays). Had one of the best breakfasts of my life at this little cafe - - homemade bread, thick golden butter, scrambled eggs with cheese - - delightful every bite.
The lady that runs the place was fantastic - - very personable and spoke great English. She was very patient with me and gave me a good suggestion: rent a bike and go south to Punta Uva (about 5 kilometers). Get out of the "city" and see the country. And that is what I did. Got me a bike and headed south.
I realized 2 things very quickly: 1) the roads down here are not suitable for leisurly anything.
Punta Uva was not what I expected.
My afternoon turned around dramatically after an amazing lunch at Nima, right on the main strip in Puerto Viejo. Had the most amazing Red Snapper - - it was baked, head-on with a sweet salsa on top.
I started with shopping. My bikini had floated away on Day 1; so a replacement was in order. Once the town got fully awake there were more shopping options that I originally thought. Little tables with goods appeared, and small sheds became small points of commerce. I found a place in town with a good selection of bathing suits: although they were all very tiny.
That is when I found Reef Runners Divers. These fantastic people saved the day. Gave me some GREAT equipement and then the girl running the show got on the phone to round up a guide for me so I could go on a snorkeling tour of Punta Uva the following day. Right in front of the dive center was a beach and I was able to snorkel about 5 feet off the shore in gorgeous clear reefs with zero fear and complete comfort.
After my snorkel, some sweets were in order and a place called CariBeans was calling my name. Right around the corner from the dive shop, this place is a little slice of all things good in the world. Homemade chocolate and ice cream - - does it get any better than that? And does it get any better than that when you are tired, and wet, and hot and happy? I think not. I ran into a local legend at CariBeans, Kurt who runs Hotel Puerto Viejo. (This is a great hotel if you are a surfer, on a budget and there to be in the water as much as possible and surrounded by other surfers during your trip. It is about 50 feet off the main strip right in the center of town.) We got to talking and he recommended the chocolate shake: a good man.
If it is possible for a shake to change your life, this one did. Frothy and creamy, sweet and light, with little bits of their signature chocolate like little chunks of heaven swimming in a sea of perfection. I am actually getting tears in my eyes thinking about this, because I will never know its equal. Amazing. Truly amazing.
Fat and happy, yet again, I headed back to my hotel to get cleaned up and ready for dinner. I had spotted a place in town that looked interesting for dinner and I had packed a dress for just such an occasion. You can read my review on Koki Beach to find out more about it - - but another great Puerto Viejo meal topped off by the best mojito I have ever tasted. It doesn't get much better than this.
As I said, the night life gets going late in Puerto Viejo, so I missed it again my second night in town. Not that I minded, I had big plans for the next day and wanted to be rested and ready for my next adventure.