Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Little Caribbean: a Fascinating Community in Rural Costa Rica

Little Caribbean": A Fascinating Community in Rural Costa Rica

I spent one year living in Costa Rica and know all too-well the tourist traps. Most travelers head to the Guanacaste region along the Pacific coast for the white sandy beaches, resorts, and traditional Tico culture. This can be absolutely lovely, but just like any destination hot spot, it’s lacking some authenticity. It wasn’t until I moved to the jungles near Puerto Viejo that I really fell in love with the country.

The Caribbean coast boasts a unique blending of Afro-Caribbean, indigenous, and Tico cultures, and the vibe is incredibly strong. Becoming immersed in the culture isn’t something as spur of the moment as tackling
construction accounting software; it requires a serious open mind and spirit geared to adventure. A relatively small number of tourists head to Puerto Viejo, so there isn’t a chain restaurant or hotel in sight.

Tipica Life in the Caribbean

Jerked meats abound the Puerto Viejo, and the seafood is absolutely incredible. The "town" itself is about ½ a square mile and consists of two main streets. Peppered along the streets are a plethora of small shops and restaurants where you can pick up gorgeous handmade crafts and jewelry for a fraction of the cost you would pay in the Pacific. While wealthy ex-pats have flocked to the Pacific and driven up costs, Puerto Viejo remains largely untouched.

There was recently an ad for a three-bedroom house directly on the beach for $20,000, which is a fair reflection of cost of living in this region. Although Puerto Viejo is cheap, you can pay as much or as little as you like here. There are upscale boutiques with handmade leather jewelry on par with American prices. There is also a beach-side street filled with outdoor markets where you can pick up hand-woven Jamaican-colored beaded bracelets for $1.

The One Place Paradise Isn’t Paved

The jungle is only five miles away from the center of the town, and living that close takes some adjusting. You’ll be surrounded by howler monkeys jumping on the roof and a bevy of insects like you’ve never seen before. You also have a good chance of being bitten by a bullet ant. When you need a doctor, it’s smart to avoid the community clinic and go to the one private doctor in town.

The hurdles of Puerto Viejo are well worth the payout. A genuine sense of tranquility and love is injected throughout the town. Nightly bonfires on the beach are standard. As soon as the sun goes down, the village comes alive with evening outdoor markets, grilled open-fire kebabs on the streets, and an impressive array of Latin dance clubs.

Tourists Traps You Want to Fall In

You can’t throw a stone in Costa Rica without hitting a ziplining company. The real treats in Puerto Viejo are the indigenous tribes and chocolate factories. A tour to a rural village on the outskirts of town lets you become a part of the tribe for a day. The chocolate factory tour is simply divine.

Visiting a community largely comprised of Caribbean immigrants is surreal. Sampling the exquisite food, goods, and music is the real definition of fusion. Put Puerto Viejo at the top of your travel destination list while it’s still relatively unknown.

Special Thanks for our Guest Post Carly Fierro Who shares her knowledge of Caribbean destinations with our Readers

Byline: Carly is an aspiring writer who is constantly looking to expand her portfolio by creating content on a plethora of subjects. She has a wide variety of interests and loves writing about anything and everything. She loves that blogging allows her to share her writing with people all over the world.


  1. Great blog post! I have yet to travel to Costa Rica and will book mark this post for a future planning!

  2. Hi Alson Thanks for your comment would love for you to join us on one of our trips. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May all your travels be blessed

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