Pura Vida en Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

We were happy to roll into Puerto Viejo after a long few days of driving through Costa Rica. We had meant to stop at Volcán Arenal for some lava exploration, but unfortunately the volcano has been inactive for 2 years, about the time our guide book was written. Darn.

So we breezed through the country and made it to the opposite Caribbean coast to Puerto Viejo. We had heard lots of great things about Puerto Viejo including reading about it in a book our great friend from back home, Ryan, gave us called “In Search of Captain Zero” so we were excited to stop in and check out the small surf town.

We stayed in a unique hostel called Rocking J’s and were warmly welcomed by the owner of the attached bar, Gabriel. We had a blast the first night there partying, playing pool, and chatting with other travelers.  The entire hostel was covered with mosaic artwork and paintings and had a hammock hotel just feet away from the surf and sand.

Here is a cool dragon sculpture eating a snake sculpture they had guarding the front gate.

Unfortunately, during the first evening, we ventured out into town to get a snack and ended up getting food poisoning from it. We were out of commission for 2 days and still weren’t back to 100% by the time we finally left later on. After we felt better, we managed to have a really great time checking out the town, going to the beach which was only a few hundred feet away, and being artistic while I painted a mandala mural above the reception area.

Puerto Viejo is also home to the famous “Salsa Brava” surf spot.  It’s notoriously dangerous and for expert surfers only.  The locals name it the “Cheese Grater” as a wipe out here could result in getting badly scrapped up by the reef below the waves.  We decided to leave Salsa Brava to the experts and enjoyed some beach combing at the reefs near the hostel instead.

It was fun to stop over in Puerto Viejo for a few days and if you love the Pura Vida surfer bum vibe, definitely check out Puerto Viejo.


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