Set your sights on Costa Rica's southern Caribbean coast, where you'll find coral reefs, white-sand beaches, rainforests, and agricultural lands. From active excursions to cultural experiences, you can snorkel in the sea, hike through jungles, spot wildlife, trek to waterfalls, explore the history of cacao, and learn how to surf at one of the world's most legendary wave breaks, all in one compact area.

Getting Oriented

The colorful streets of Puerto Viejo.

Set on the country's southern Caribbean coast in one of the most scenic regions in Costa Rica, is the colorful town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. Our ultimate guide to Puerto Viejo elaborates on how this coveted area is popular for its diversity of outdoor experiences. All in one compact region, you can spot wildlife in the jungles and coral reefs, kayak and hike through national parks, discover the history of Costa Rican chocolate, ride horses on the beach, learn how to surf, and so much more.

Although it appeals to adult travelers, Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is one of the country's prime areas that makes Costa Rica an excellent place for families. Our ultimate guide to Puerto Viejo beaches will help you pick the best stretch of sand for you and your kids, and you can also enjoy exploring wildlife refuges, kayaking on the sea and in rivers, and learning how to surf in a protected area suitable for beginners. Plus, despite being a small town, you'll have plenty of delicious choices when trying to decide where to eat in Puerto Viejo!

Cultural Adventures

To truly get to know Costa Rica's southern Caribbean coast, start with a few cultural experiences: discover the region's chocolate history, visit a wildlife refuge dedicated to protecting the endangered Great Green Macaw, and ride horses in the surf.

Visit a Wildlife Rescue Center, Chocolate Farm & Waterfall

Discover the chocolate-making process, from bean to bar

On this diverse tour, you'll learn about Costa Rica's wildlife and culinary traditions—and finish the day with a refreshing swim in a waterfall pool! Start at the Jaguar Animal Rescue Center, which offers shelter, treatment, rehabilitation, and protection to ill or wounded wild animals in the area. Then spend some time with a local indigenous family that grows cacao trees on their land, learning about the chocolate-making process from bean to bar. Enjoy a dip in natural pools at the base of a nearby waterfall to finish the excursion. Learn more

Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge Hike & Great Green Macaw Tour

Visit the Ara Project, where locals strive to protect the endangered Great Green Macaws.

Get to know the region's wildlife with a hike in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Refuge, an expanse of white-sand beaches, coral reefs, and untouched rainforest. You'll have the opportunity to view turtles, manatees, crocodiles, caimans, dolphins, and tarpons, among other species. Enjoy the views at Manzanillo Viewpoint before heading to the nearby Ara Project, an endeavor dedicated to the protection of the very endangered Great Green Macaw. Read More 

Horseback Riding on the Beach

Ride horses on the sand or in the surf along the beach in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Enjoy a unique experience while riding horses through the jungles and along the beaches of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. As you ride, your guide will point out some of the area wildlife, including howler monkeys, two-toed and three-toed sloths, and many tropical birds. Read More

Active Exploration

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is perfect for outdoor excursions. You can hike through the jungle, kayak on the sea or through the rainforest, snorkel among the coral reefs, and learn how to surf.

Rainforest Hike & Kayak Adventure in Punta Uva

Paddle in the ocean and on the river through jungles.

Explore one of the most beautiful areas on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, Punta Uva. With calm waters protected by reefs and white-sand beaches, this stretch of coastline is perfect for kayaking. After paddling in the sea, transition to the Rio Punta Uva for a leisurely kayak through the jungle. Upon returning to the beach, relax with snacks or opt for a hike into the rainforest. Read More

Snorkeling & Hiking in Cahuita National Park

Explore the beauty of Cahuita National Park by land and sea.

Cahuita National Park is one of Costa Rica's most scenic places to enjoy the country's famed nature and wildlife. Hiking and snorkeling are especially popular sports in the park. Start with a boat ride offshore and explore the coral reefs by snorkeling in the ocean. After lunch, head inland and enjoy a hike through the rainforest, where you might spot wildlife such as monkeys, tropical birds, sloths, iguanas, poisonous dart frogs, and more. Read More

Surf Lesson at Salsa Brava

Learn how to surf at Costa Rica's best wave break.

If you're going to learn how to surf anywhere in the world, let it be at Salsa Brava, considered Costa Rica's best wave break and one of the world's most legendary surfing areas. Professional instructors will help you build a foundation of skills, whether it's your first or one-hundredth time surfing. Afterward, continue practicing on your own or relax on the beach. Read More

How to Craft the Perfect Talamanca Itinerary

Enjoy the beauty of Costa Rica's southern Caribbean coast.

If you want to visit the country's southern Caribbean coast, then deciding how many days to spend in Costa Rica gets a little tricky. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca isn't as well connected as other areas of the country, so a little planning goes a long way, but you'll find plenty of lodgings, including boutique hotels, for a comfortable stay once you arrive. It's best to reserve one week in Costa Rica if you'd like to explore the Caribbean coast, especially the southern portions, as well as other regions of the country.

Tack on more days (up to two weeks or more) if you'd like to combine some regions with Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. A few popular combos include Tortuguero and Talmanca; Talamanca, Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio; and Talamanca, San José, Monteverde, and Tortugeuero.

Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that include experiences in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca: