We arrived to Puerto Viejo in February of 2016. We came from Tortuguero (see how we got here at the end of this post), so we were in a shuttle bus that was willing to drive us around until we found available accommodation. We had our heart set on a private room at Hostel Pagalu but unfortunately they had no private rooms available, just a couple of beds in a dorm room. While we were trying to decide if we should take the dorm beds, another guest came and was basically waiting for us to decide if we were taking the last beds or not, so we decided to try another place. We were disappointed because Pagalu looked like a great place.
After humouring our driver and looking at a place that he recommended, we asked him to take us to La Ruka. It definitely had a unique vibe, and they had a private room available. We scooped it up and after our bus left us behind and they showed us to our room. To be honest, it had many of the characteristics of your typical hostel, like the door that looked like it had been kicked in, and the teeny, outdated bathroom. We decided to make the best of it though, and went back downstairs to rent bikes that La Ruka has right on site.
We spent the late afternoon cycling around Puerto Viejo and hanging out on the beautiful beaches.
We went to KOKi beach for supper later that night. It’s funky decor and ambiance had immediately attracted me to the place, and the food and drinks made us love it even more! This would be a great spot for a beachside meal anytime of day, or a cool place to hang out in either the afternoon or evenings for drinks or coffee.
The next morning we woke up with a plan. We were heading to Jaguar Rescue Center. We got up early and went to a nearby Soda for a quick breakfast, and then made the ten minute bike ride to the Rescue Center. We were there a little before it’s 9:00 opening and there was already a crowd. We waited near the back of the bunch, and when they opened the gates at 9:00 we got to…wait in line behind everyone else to pay the $20 per person. Once everyone had paid, they split us into two tour groups, and away we went.
I loved the Jaguar Rescue Center. It was so worth the $40 because you know your touristy-money is going right to the animals. Almost all of the people “working” at the Center are volunteers, so you are surrounded by these kind-hearted people who care so much about the animals. Admittedly, I am a huge softy, but the compassion and commitment to the animals of some of the volunteers brought tears to my eyes. Here’s a few of the animals who were being rehabilitated during our visit:
After we went to the Rescue Center we continued on down the narrow highway and had a wonderful afternoon hopping from beach to beach to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea.
When we pulled into one beach area we saw a group of monkeys up in the trees above us. It was such a great afternoon and is one of our favourite memories from our whole trip.
The fun and easiness of this day was exactly what we had hoped for on our holiday, and made us fall in love with Puerto Viejo.
Puerto Viejo has a lot of cool shops that we spent a lot of time browsing in and out of. It is a small and well laid out city and if you rent bikes it is so easy to get around. There are also lots of cool bars and restaurants that you can stop in for a drink or two or a bite to eat. It is so easy to see why people love it here. It was one of the highlights of our trip and a stop we would recommend to anyone traveling to Costa Rica.