Originally I had Puerto Viejo on my imaginary travel list for Costa Rica, but changed my mind on the way to Tortuguero. In the end I figured that a day trip from Cahuita to Manzanillo with a stopover in Puerto Viejo would do as well. After all, it’s under an hour by bus to get there, just going a bit more south. I had heard about Manzanillo from Amy, the girl I met in the national park of Cahuita and it came highly recommended.
While waiting for the bus, which did not arrive according to the time table, I figured that I needed to get off first at Puerto Viejo to get some cash. The single ATM in Cahuita didn’t like my card/my bank/me and just wouldn’t dispense any cash. When the bus finally made an appearance, almost 30 minutes late, the driver couldn’t change my 20k Colonnes note (about 28 Euro). Since the ticket office still hadn’t opened, I left and headed for breakfast. It was only an hour until the next bus and it was still early.
Of course the next bus was on a different schedule as well and so I decided to skip Manzanillo altogether. It really made no difference at the moment. So once I had exited the bus, found an ATM, and was flush again, I decided to stay in Puerto Viejo and see what all the hype was about. To say that the place was disappointing, is to say the least. The whole village felt like it was a construction, full of loud bars and restaurants (the noise level in the morning was already exhausting) and dusty.
The weather was hot and super humid, so I changed plans again. Instead of exploring anything I decided that I deserved a day at the beach. I mean yes, technically I had been at the beach the day before as well. But yesterday I explored the national park of Cahuita and was not going for a swim. With that in mind I started to walk in the direction of Playa Cocles instead.
It’s really easy walking along a shaded path right next to the water. On the other side sat a couple of hotels with resting areas next to the beach.
While strolling along I noticed that lots of trees leaned in the direction of the water. I am not really sure why that is, but it does look amazing.
The long walk was wonderful, despite the humidity. I enjoyed the changing scenery, even though one feels that a beach is always just a beach. So not true!
Finally I reached Playa Cocles and here is what I saw first.
The beach turned out to be one long, sandy beach but with almost no shade. Not the ideal place when the only thing you want to do is curl up and read your book.
I figured it made more sense to just backtrack a bit and consider one of the many shaded places along the trail instead.
I ended up at a tiny cove, where I was all by myself except for some very nosy crabs. When I found my spot, I whiled away the afternoon and eventually took the bus back to Cahuita in the late afternoon.
So in all honesty I can’t really say anything about Puerto Viejo. It looked like a really popular town (it’s definitely bigger than Cahuita), but all that popularity has a downside. I had made the right decision by staying in Cahuita rather than here. But after all, it’s up to you where you want to spend your vacation. Yours, Pollybert