El Caribe

Costa Rica is home to some incredible biodiversity and all of the regions of this little country have something beautiful and unique to offer. So far in Costa Rica we have traveled around the Central Valley, the Pacific Coast, and the Cloud Forest. Believe it or not there is still much more to see as well! With this is mind we decided on our next stop- The Caribbean. After a week of living in the hustle and bustle of the capital city of San Jose we couldn’t wait to relax on the beach in the town of Puerto Viejo. The town is located on the southeastern coast of the country and is a great destination for travelers looking to enjoy the Pura Vida lifestyle with a Caribbean twist.The trip was everything we could have hoped for. A four and a half hour, moderately sweaty, bus ride took us to this paradise. Jake and I spent a week in this spot and enjoyed every second.

From our observations during our stay we noticed that this place is a town for expats. The owners of our hostel were from Barcelona, the man we ordered pizza from (three times…) was from Italy, and there were countless people who seemed to have traveled to Puerto Viejo for a vacation and never returned home. At times I felt like I might do the same. There’s no question as to why people that visit this town never want to leave. It is amazing. Countless beaches at your fingertips, friendly locals, a laid back vibe, what more could you ask for when trying to escape from home?

We stayed in Puerto Viejo for about a week and even discussed staying longer because we enjoyed it so much. On our first full day we walked 2 kilometers (about 1.3 miles) to a beach called Playa Cochles which is known for being perfect for surfing. We shared the water with the surfers and splashed through the waves all while inhaling way too much salt water. The crystal clear blue water was beautiful and it was so shallow that we could walk out incredibly far and still be able to stand! This was a great introduction to our stay in Puerto Viejo.

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Punta Uva, Costa Rica

Another day we decided to take a 20 minute bus ride from Puerto Viejo to an even smaller town on the Caribbean called Cahuita, which is home to the Cahuita National Park right on the beach. We spent almost three hours inside this park walking along the trail and we didn’t even make it half way! (We were ill prepared and the hunger pains began to take over so we had to stop early in order to get some food). This park was unbelievable. We saw at least five sloths, howler monkeys, and a curious capuchin monkey that almost tried to attack Jake. Unfortunately our GoPro was dead upon our arrival to the park and neither of us brought our phones. Needless to say we missed many photo and video opportunities. However, these mishaps gave us a chance to live in the moment fully and observe the animals and nature around us. We had a great time.

On our last day on the Caribbean we rented bikes (this town runs on biking) and rode them to a beach 8 kilometers (about 5 miles) away. The beach was called Punta Uva and I would argue that it was the most beautiful beach I have seen in the world. (And that’s saying something seeing as I’ve seen A LOT of beaches in my life). This spot was perfect. White sand, beautiful blue water, palm trees lining the coast. It was picturesque. The weather and the waves couldn’t have been better. The water was calm enough to wade around and swim with the waves, but wasn’t overwhelming. I never wanted to leave! Eventually we had to, and the 8 km bike ride back was brutal in the beating sun. When you haven’t ridden a bike in almost 6 months and then ride 16 kilometers in one day your legs may feel like they are going to explode. Nevertheless it was fun to be back on a bike again.

After an incredible time on the Caribbean coast it was time to travel back to the Central Valley. We were sad to leave, but were extremely happy that we were able to make it out to this beautiful piece of paradise. Next stop, Guanacaste!

-Lizz

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