Puerto Viejo was pretty much your typical surf town but with a twist. The beach was still surrounded by jungle. There were monkeys in the trees. I often had to wait for a sloth to cross the road (Ok, once, I finally got impatient and helped carry it to the other side). There was actually good food. I am not usually impressed with the restaurant offerings in surf towns, nor was I impressed with Costa Rican food, but there were some excellent restaurants in Puerto Viejo.
My favorite one for breakfast was Bread and Chocolate. There was a relaxed vibe here, but you could tell how much love and care went into the preparation of the food. The breads here were amazing, and they even made their own bagels, and they were good!! Everything was so fresh, and the coffee was nice and strong. This was a place that literally if you spilled the cream no one seemed to mind. I just loved spending my mornings here.
My other favorite place in Puerto Viejo was La Botanica Organica. This place felt like a refuge. I decided to take a rest here one mid-morning after a long bike ride, and wound up staying for lunch and then for hours after that!! The café is full of interesting people. It is a place where you can eat fresh vegetables and salads and not worry about it. They also have their own store with their own tinctures and potions. I got a beautiful smelling moisturizing product they make for your hair, fresh pressed coconut oil, honey, ylang ylang eye cream and a natural mosquito repellent. From the front, the place doesn’t look like much but out back there are lovely gardens and the setting is quite a sanctuary.
I stayed in the lovely bungalows at Coco Loco Lodge and enjoyed them immensely. I made friends with the people in the surrounding bungalows and it was a fun atmosphere which promoted getting to know the other people staying in the same place. There were lovely gardens, lily pads, and flowers. I loved the quaint atmosphere and would definitely stay here again.
By day the surfers ride their waves, Rastafarians sell coconuts and delicious homemade popsicles on the beach, and there is nothing to do but relax. At night reggae music wafts through the air, bonfires are started along the beach, fire dancers do their magic, bars give free mojitos to the ladies, and there is nothing to do but dance and smile and let your worries fade away.
Make sure you check out my Escape Guide to Costa Rica!