The Caribe’s are as fancy as someone would imagine. Good food, smooth live, easy going, blue sea and sunny sky are the daily tread, as well as the long rasta, reggae music and the ever smell of pot in the air. We travel from Cahuita to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca (1440C$) getting closer to the Panamas border without losing the Caribbean Sea out of sight. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, or just Puerto Viejo, is a bit bigger than Cahuita, has more shops, bars, restaurants, night live,… and at equal parts has it more tourists and is noisier at day and night, it is as we would call it a popular touristic destination. With luck on our side today, we find ‘Cabins Larry’ next to a, good for breakfast and teatime, coffeehouse, a street away from the bus stop. This rather minor apartment complex offers us, in low season and without any other guests, a full apartment (kitchen, bathroom with hot water, double bed, terrace with table, chairs and hammock and with a good Wi-Fi service) for just 9000C$ a day, a worthy price for a bit of rest, peace, safety and privacy. We walk 50m and find ourselves crossing the main street with shops, supermarkets, banks and the bus stop and walking another 50m we are starring at the bleu horizon with sporadic Caribbean little waves. After a 1000C$ fresh squeezed fruit shake at a terrace on the bay we ‘horizontalize’ us on the beach protected by the shade of the palm trees which leaves make tropical sounds when waving in the tropic breeze.
Snorkelling is a must here: warm water, no waves, no currents and thousands of fishes displaying millions of colours. We see a blowfish, octopus, and different starfish walking the bottom with their long thin tentacles, besides all the rest of the colourful fishes typical to coral reefs. The day passes by fast and the night sets in soon, the village lights up and neon shows us the way to our needs: meat, vegetables, avocados and flour tortillas. We have a kitchen, so we cook, so we have delicious burritos on the menu and so we save another couple of thousand Colones.
Day two we do the main street and confirm what we sadly expected: every shop selling exactly the same. When it’s a cloth shop: it are the same trousers and reggae coloured sweatshirts, when it’s a grocery: the same small variety of vegetables and fruits and when we enter a souvenir shop we’ll get magnets, spoons and other useless stuff we can buy anywhere else but this time with ‘Puerto Viejo’ written on it. So we advance fast and end up at the beach for another underwater-vision-swim, a long read and a tasteful coco and pineapple.
The third day we discover the surroundings so after an easy hitchhiking we get to Punta Uva, a wide white sand dream beach to relax, swim and contemplate nature. We observe how a pelican time after time flies high, circles around our heads, spots a school of sardines, dives and breaks into the water surface to catch his meal of the day. Behind us Howler Monkeys clans are debating the territory with loud screams and as we turn around we can see them jumping from branch to branch in the big canopy of an old tree high above us. Diving glasses and tube becomes more and more an extension of our body the longer we stay at the Caribe’s. The water is crystal clear and the sun obligates refreshment and cooling off so snorkelling is the solution.
To go back home we walk along the different beaches (Playa Uva, Playa Chiquita and Playa Cocles) observing how locals are fishing at the shore. Stunning vistas pass by together with the seaboard while the sun bit by bit is getting closer to the vanishing point.
From the beach to the road we pass through a few bushes full of oversized spiders in even more oversized spider webs and as neither of us is very fond of arachnids very soon we find ourselves in a nightmare of jumping human eating spiders trying to capture us in their webs… so running through this area our hair and faces are getting full of spider strings. We are just disgusted by the idea and feverishly we try to untie the spider maze that is sticking strong on us.
After this horror experience we reach the road and from there the village and at last our safe cabin at Larry’s. After dinner we stuff our backpacks and prepare ourselves for tomorrow. Another border will be crossed and another stamp will embellish our passports.
Puerto Viejo is beautiful, warm-hearted and cosy but not for those who look for something original / Desolated beaches at abundance just outside the village / For fruit and vegetables you’ll find the best buy at trucks which stop at the corner of the street, ask locals where to find them / Experienced surfers will be delighted with Salsa Brava (wave direction from the northeast and wind direction from the south), for some surfers the most powerful wave in Costa Rica