photo of Puerto Viejo

A sunset off the coast in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

What to do in Puerto Viejo

If you’re into Bob Marley T-shirts, hammock hostels, and miles of unspoiled beaches, Puerto Viejo is your vacation spot in Costa Rica. Thanks to a powerful, curling reef break called Salsa Brava, a once-remote surfing destination has become one of the country’s biggest party towns. Forget golf courses and fancy marinas. Here, full-moon toga parties at Rocking J’s often spill onto the beach, conspiracy theorists eat freshly baked bread at Pan Pay, and dreadlocked locals bicycle around town. With a blend of black costeños, Creoles, Chinese, indigenous Bribri, and white expats, it feels more like Jamaica than CR. If hippies aren’t your vibe, plenty of quiet beachside communities are just outside of town. And if monster waves aren’t your thing, Playa Cocles has mellower surf. Plus, Costa Rica’s only living reef systems make for good snorkeling.

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