Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

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Puerto Viejo has been my favorite stop on the trip thus far. It’s a small laid back beach town with cool Caribbean vibes located on the southeastern coast of Costa Rica. If there are two things Puerto Viejo is known for it’s the large surf community and it’s spectacular beaches. The largest and most powerful waves in all of Costa Rica can be found at Salsa Brava. Many of the popular beaches are between Puerto Viejo and the fishing village of Manzanillo. For about 2500 Colones ($5.00 USD) you can rent a bike and explore all four of the main beaches: Playa Cocles, Playa Chiquita, Playa Punta Uva and Playa Grande. While biking, be sure to watch for howler monkeys, sloths and other wildlife hiding in the canopies above. If you want to see sloths and other local species up close, be sure to visit the Jaguar Rescue Center. Two tours are given daily by local volunteers for 9000 Colones ($18.00 USD) and all the proceeds go to rehabilitating wild animals and releasing them back into protected areas. There are a variety of habitats with everything from jungle cats to tiny tree frogs. The biggest attraction is the Sloth Garden. You get to see a few of their sloths (including baby sloths) up close in rehabilitation. During our time in Puerto Viejo, we stayed at the lovely La Ruka Hostel. I highly recommend any traveler to stay with them. The staff is very friendly and are happy to help with anything you may need during your stay. You’ll also be greeted by Ruka, a three legged pup along with her other furry friends. The property is very clean and eco-friendly! The dorms are also very comfortable and spacious. Banana cakes, muffins and blastafari space brownies are made fresh daily and are between 1000-3000 Colones ($2.00-$6.00 USD). I highly recommend trying at least one of them! The staff of La Ruka had a house next door and invited all the guests over for Thanksgiving. They had roasted a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey inside of a pig. Turduckenpig? Everyone had brought their own family-style dishes to the potluck, everything from cranberry sauce to deep fried oreos. La Ruka felt like a home away from home. I can definitely say that I’ll be visiting Puerto Viejo again in the near future. On our last day, we hitched a ride from a local to the bus station and made our way to Limon. The bus from Limon to San Jose ended up being close to 7 hours instead of 4 due to a bad car accident. We arrived in San Jose around 10:30pm and met up with two other travelers on the same bus that were staying in the city for the night. The 5 of us crammed into a taxi hoping that we’d be able to find a hostel that was either open or had beds available. Luckily Costa Rica Backpackers Hostel was open and had a few beds left. I wouldn’t recommend this hostel unless you enjoy being woken up by the train that runs right next to the building at 7:00am. We packed everything up and made our way to the bus station to catch our last two bus rides to La Pavona. Once we arrived into La Pavona, we took an hour long water taxi into Tortuguero where we will be staying the next few days!

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