Manzanillo Beach, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo & Caribbean Coast

At the southern end of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast in the Limon Province, lies Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, a charming and vibrant seaside town with a unique blend of Bribri, Latino and Afro-Caribbean cultures.

It has wonderful beaches with fine volcanic sand lapped by warm water. The Salsa Brava waves that come ashore here are some of the most powerful in Costa Rica and attract surfers from around the world. This stretch of coast that neighbours Panama’s Bocas del Toro Islands is culturally a world apart from the rest of the country. Most residents here are of Afro-Caribbean descent and were drafted in from Jamaica, among other Caribbean islands, to work on banana plantations that still grow this important cash crop.

Cordillera de Talamanca, Costa Rica
Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

A little about Talamanca

Visit any of the small laid-back towns around Talamanca and you’ll be greeted by the sounds of reggae and calypso music, the smell of jerk chicken and a challenging local dialect that blends Spanish and English. Talamanca town (called Puerto Viejo by the locals) is a lively place with a variety of bars and restaurants. It’s fun to visit but the forest-lined beaches are the biggest draw. Punta Uva, Playa Chiquita and Playa Negra offer scenic spots for a few days rest on the coast.

Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, Limon, Costa Rica
Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica

Gandoca-Manzanillo Reserve

The Gandoca-Manzanillo Reserve near the Panama border encompasses several rare habitats and hosts some extraordinary wildlife including tapirs, turtles, eagles, caimans and West Indian Manatees in its mangroves.

Baby Turtle, Costa Rica
Costa Rica

Cahuita National Park

Cahuita National Park has one of the most stunning beaches in Costa Rica. The park was created in 1970 to protect the country’s largest coral reef and this amazingly colourful underwater world provides some of the best snorkelling and diving in the country. Over 35 species of coral, green turtles, carey turtles, lobsters and manta rays can be seen in the crystal clear waters.


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Manzanillo Beach, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Relax on the beaches

Unwind on beautiful beaches in simple but chic shacks.

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Snorkelling, Caribbean

Snorkelling Adventure

Discover the best snorkelling in Costa Rica at Cahuita National Park.

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Caiman crocodile in Costa Rica

Visit a local Wildlife Refuge

Tour Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge to see turtles, crocodiles and manatees.

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Beach palm tree, Casa Corcovado Lodge, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Dancing in Puerto Viejo

Dance to reggae and calypso music with the local people at bars along the coast in Puerto Viejo.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Rachael Tallents

Adventure, discovery and my curiosity for people and the natural world is what drives my love of travelling.  I am grateful for my parents’ desire to explore, and from an early age my eyes were open to diverse landscapes, cultures, and underwater worlds.

For the last 16 years, I have worked for a leading luxury tour operator designing incredible journeys for discerning clients and travelled to some magical places. I am excited to have joined Steppes Travel, and to be working for a company with such strong ethical and sustainable values.

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Clare Higginson

It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.

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John Faithfull

Costa Rica is simply the best spot in Central America for nature lovers, and is always John’s top recommendation for those wishing to hike, swim, zip, raft, ride or float through outstanding scenery and rich biodiversity.

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