I loved loved loved Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica, as you can read in my recent post about it. I had limited time there, so here are all the things I did in the one day I had.
Stay in Hostel Pagalu
It’s chilled out and friendly and clean, with good wifi and great dorm rooms for just $12 a night. It's in town and close to everything and has a supermarket right next door, which is perfect for getting food to cook in the hostel's big shared kitchen or simply buying cervezas to share with fellow guests. You can't book in advance, so just turn up and try your luck. It will be worth it.
Hire bikes to get around
It’s only $5 a day from the hostel next door to Pagalu, but you can also get them from a range of places nearby too for around the same price. Bring some ID to use when booking them and then the town and surrounding beaches are yours to explore.
Pack a picnic
Get some fresh avocados, tomatoes, cheese, fresh bread and cervezas and really anything else you want from the local supermarket, pop it in your cycle basket with a sarong to use as a blanket and take it to the beach. It’s so much cheaper than eating out and there's something really dreamy about picnics that will add to your experience. We went to Playa Cocles just before sundown and it was lovely.
Go to the Jaguar Rescue Centre
SLOTHS! That should be enough for you. There are also adorable baby monkeys and beautiful birds (including owls) and a deer and snakes, if you’re into that. And did I mention sloths? The staff are lovely and knowledgable and it’s only $15 entry – the only other similar place is the Sloth Sanctuary, which is $50. Just go. You'll love it.
Cycle down to Manzanilla beach and visit the secret playa
If Manzanilla beach isn’t beautiful enough, there is a little path from the main beach at the far east through the jungle. Get a fresh coconut from one of the vendors near the beach and follow the path - you’ll feel a little like Robinson Crusoe. By doing so, you'll reach a beach so beautiful, so blue and so seemingly untouched by other people you'll think you have reached paradise. It's magical.