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  • Writer's pictureCosta Rica Luxury Travel Magazine

Embrace the laid-back vibes of Costa Rica's Caribbean coast.

Things to do, where to stay, and basic travel tips to help you make the most of your Caribbean barefoot luxury adventure - where music, food, and culture blend for a unique sensorial experience.

Author's photo at Almonds and Corals.

Costa Rica's Caribbean coast is a place of vibrant colors, unique culture, and laid-back vibes. The region, best-known as Limón province, is home to lush tropical rainforests, stunning beaches, and colorful towns that exude a distinct Caribbean flair. Whether you're looking for a barefoot luxury adventure, relaxation, or a taste of local culture, this place has it all.

Limón has a unique Afro-Caribbean culture that is reflected in the local music, cuisine, and architecture. Its cuisine is a fusion of Caribbean and Latin American flavors, with dishes such as rice and beans, jerk chicken, coconut milk, tropical fruits, and fresh seafood. Its music, which can be heard at local bars, streets and restaurants, is a mix of reggae, calypso, and salsa. The town of Puerto Viejo, located on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, is a great place to experience the local culture, with its colorful buildings, live music, and delicious food and drinks.

Author's photo at Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel.

One of the biggest draws of this piece of paradise is its beaches. Limón boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, with white sand, crystal-clear waters, and a relaxed atmosphere. There are plenty of beaches to choose from.

Playa Cocles: This long and wide beach is located just south of Puerto Viejo and is popular for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing, as well as for its beach bars and restaurants.

Punta Uva: This picturesque beach, located about 4 miles south of Puerto Viejo, is known for its calm waters, making it ideal for swimming and snorkeling, as well as for its lush vegetation, giving it a peaceful feel.

Playa Chiquita: This small and secluded beach is located about 3 miles south of Puerto Viejo and is surrounded by palm trees and tropical forest. It is a popular spot for swimming and relaxing, and there are also several beach bars and restaurants nearby.

Playa Manzanillo: This remote and unspoiled beach is located about 7 miles south of Puerto Viejo and is surrounded by a protected wildlife refuge. It's a great spot for swimming and snorkeling, and visitors can also take guided tours of the nearby rainforest.

Playa Negra: This black sand beach is located just north of Puerto Viejo and is popular for surfing and sunbathing, as well as for its beach bars and restaurants.

Gandoca Manzanillo Puerto Viejo beautiful white-sand beach
Author's photo at Playa Cocles.

Costa Rica's Caribbean coast is home to national parks and wildlife reserves, including the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge and the Cahuita National Park. Visitors can observe a variety of wildlife, like howler monkeys, sloths, toucans, and sea turtles. The Jaguar Rescue Center, located near Puerto Viejo, is also a great place to visit and watch rescued and rehabilitated animals up close. It is a temporary or permanent home for ill, injured and orphaned animals that would otherwise be unable to survive in the wild. Guided tours of the rainforest and wildlife reserves are available from reliable tour operators and offer a chance to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat.

Photo courtesy of Jaguar Rescue Center.

For those seeking adventure, there’s plenty to offer - from guided tours of the rainforest, to zip-lining, or kayaking. The region is also a popular spot for surfing, with various beaches offering world-class waves. Limón is home to indigenous communities, such as the Bribri and Kekoldi, and visitors can learn about the culture and traditions of these communities by visiting local reserves and participating in guided cultural activities.


Despite its laid-back atmosphere, Puerto Viejo offers several upscale accommodations and amenities that cater to luxury travelers. Visitors can stay in eco-lodges, boutique hotels, or private villas that offer luxurious amenities such as private pools, beach access, and spa treatments. Some accommodations even offer exclusive experiences such as yoga sessions and cooking classes. Here is a list of our preferred places to stay in Puerto Viejo.

Hotel Aguas Claras

Hotel Aguas Claras

Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel

Le Cameleon Boutique Hotel

Almonds and Corals

Almonds and Corals

AwA Beach Hotel

AWA Beach Hotel

Umami Hotel Garden Spa – adults only

Umami Hotel Garden Spa – adults only

Gigi Brown Villa Paparazzi Beachfront

Gigi Brown Villa Paparazzi Beachfront

If you're planning a trip to Puerto Viejo, here are some tips to help you make the most of your experience.

  1. Embrace the laid-back vibes: The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica has a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, so be sure to take your time and enjoy the slower pace of life.

  2. Pack for the weather: It can be hot and humid, so be sure to pack lightweight and breathable clothing. Also, don't forget your swimsuit!

  3. Take guided tours: The area is full of natural wonders and adventure activities, and taking guided tours can be a great way to learn more about the local culture and environment.

  4. Don't leave valuables unattended: Keep your valuables, including passports, wallets, and phones in a safe place and don't leave them unattended in public places. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings, especially when walking alone or at night.

  5. Use common sense: Avoid risky behavior, such as excessive drinking or drug use, and trust your instincts if something doesn't feel right.

  6. Follow guidelines in natural areas: If you're visiting natural areas, such as national parks or beaches, follow the safety guidelines provided by park rangers and guides. Don't approach or feed wild animals, and be aware of any potential dangers, such as rip currents.

  7. Use official taxis or transportation services: Use official taxi services or arrange transportation through your hotel or a reputable tour operator to avoid scams or unsafe situations.

Original content by Costa Rica Luxury Travel Magazine.


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