The best place to experience the Costa Rican Caribbean coast is Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, the main tourism hub and beach town of the Caribbean South. Within a 30 kilometer (18.5 mile) radius of the town, visitors can explore over 4 stunning white sand beaches, a national park and a wildlife refuge. Surrounded by pristine jungle home to wildlife such as toucans, sloths and monkeys, this Caribbean coastal village is a destination not to miss to experience a unique part of Costa Rica.
Puerto Viejo is famous for beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, chill Caribbean vibes and pristine rainforest. It’s an ideal destination for families, couples, backpackers, solo travelers, nature and beach lovers.
How to Get to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Adobe Transfers offers private shuttle services to and from Puerto Viejo, including local and international airports. All private shuttle services include one stop along the way.
Below are average private shuttle prices to Puerto Viejo. Prices are quoted in USD, per way and for a vehicle that holds up to 8 passengers plus luggage.
San Jose International Airport – Puerto Viejo: $310, 6 hours
La Fortuna – Puerto Viejo: $300, 5.5 hours
Sarapiqui – Puerto Viejo: $230, 4 hours
Limon – Puerto Viejo: $90, 1 hour
La Pavona Dock (Tortuguero) to Puerto Viejo: $220, 4 hours
What to Do in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Visitors can use Puerto Viejo as their home base in Costa Rica or spend 2-4 nights there. Since the travel distance from San Jose International Airport is long, it is recommended to spend minimum 2 nights.
Cahuita National Park
Home to some of the largest coral reef in Costa Rica, Cahuita National Park is a place all tourists have to see when visiting the South Caribbean coast. The Playa Blanca entrance in the town of Cahuita is the only free national park sector and visitors can hike the trails to see wildlife like snakes, sloths, monkeys and birds. A guided walk is highly recommended but not required.
Playa Blanca open everyday from 6 AM to 5 PM. No national park fee but voluntary cash donation highly appreciated
Puerto Vargas sector open everyday from 8 AM to 5 PM. $5 park fee.
20 minute drive from downtown, is accessible by public bus via Cahuita town.
Jaguar Rescue Center
Learn about Costa Rica’s amazing wildlife on a tour through the most popular animal rescue center in Puerto Viejo: The Jaguar Rescue Center. Visitors will observe from a distance how veterinarians, volunteers and biologists work round the clock to rehabilitate injured animals, all with the goal to release them back into the wild.
Public tours available at 930 AM and 1130 AM. $22 USD entrance fee for people 10 years of age. Children under 10 are free. Private tours also available with a pre-reservation made two weeks in advance.
A dedicated beach day is mandatory. Hop in your car, rent a bicycle or take the public bus that goes up and down the neighborhoods to visit some of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica: Cocles, Chiquita, and Punta Uva. Surf, swim, sunbathe and enjoy a relaxing beach day. Do not forget to peek through the palm trees to see if you can find Costa Rica’s national symbol, the sloth, snoozing in the tree tops.
Try Costa Rican Caribbean Food
Food on the Caribbean coast is unlike the rest of Costa Rica. Heavily influenced by the Caribbean islands, the food fuses Costa Rican and Caribbean flavors to create delectable flavors to satisfy any palette. Some must try dishes are the rice and beans, pati and rondo soup.