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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 12/29/2022

A Weekend in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

Need something to do over the next long weekend?  Go to Puerto Viejo on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast and experience a different side of this incredible country's diversity!

Where is Puerto Viejo and why should you visit?

Puerto Viejo is located on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast and is the most attractive destination for foreign and local tourists alike.  The small beach town boasts a unique culture with Afro-Caribbean, indigenous and many international influences with a strong laidback vibe.  Although it can take around four hours to get there from the Central Valley, you definitely won't be disappointed.

The beach meets the jungle in Puerto Viejo, so get ready to snorkel and surf, experience the flora and fauna of the rainforest, and eat great food or party with your new friends.  While chilling in our hotel's pool surrounded by a garden of birds of paradise and other tropical flowers, we were pointing out all of the hummingbirds and butterflies when two toucans perched in the trees.  Need I say more?

On your way to Puerto Viejo, schedule a pit-stop in Cahuita National Park.  It's about 15 minutes north of town, and foreigners only have to pay $5 to get in.  Not only is the beach gorgeous, you will also be able to explore the park  and check out the tropical plants and flowers while looking for wildlife.  We saw pizote (one of Costa Rica's raccoons), squirrels, lizards, crabs, butterflies, hummingbirds and heard the howler monkeys from afar!

What should you do in Puerto Viejo?

First of all, plan on spending lots of time on the beautiful beaches.  The water is gorgeous and the scenery is breathtaking, so rent a bike and do some beach-hoping!  We highly recommend adding Manzanillo and Punta Uva to your list of must-see beaches in the Puerto Viejo area.  Bikes, snorkel gear and  surfboard rentals are in abundance and for a good price! 

We also recommend dedicating some of your time to learning about the wildlife.  There are a few wildlife sanctuaries and refuges, however, we love the Jaguar Rescue Center.   For $20 you are given a tour of the facilities and get to meet all of the animals currently residing there.  Our guide was a biologist, and our tour lasted nearly two hours.  Among the rescued animals, we saw sloths, monkeys, crocodiles, reptiles and deer.  We got some great pictures and learned a lot!

Even if you don't like to drink or party, indulge in all of the great food options.  As you can imagine, seafood and Caribbean cuisine is everywhere.  You absolutely cannot miss the rice and beans.  No, no, not gallo pinto which is the rice and beans you are used to eating for breakfast.  Caribbean rice and beans is made with coconut milk and normally served with jerk chicken.  When you are in Manzanillo, go to Maxi's Soda for their famous rice and beans.  Due to the large foreign population, there is also a good variety of authentic and affordable  cuisines from French pastries to homemade Italian pastas.  There are also a number of vegetarian and even vegan-friendly restaurants that serve delicious salads, sandwiches, wraps and fresh fruit smoothies. 

Finally, if you are the type and have the cash, pamper yourself.  There are many affordable spas in and around Puerto Viejo, so check them out.  We loved the Pure Jungle Spa!  

However you decide to spend your time in Puerto Viejo, you won't regret making the effort to get there.  If you are taking our 4-week, onsite TEFL course in Costa Rica, watch for details about the package to Puerto Viejo!  If you haven't registered yet, contact us TODAY to save your spot in one of our 4-week, onsite TEFL courses in Costa Rica!

Optional Excursions

A Weekend in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

Top Beaches in Costa Rica

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