Puerto Viejo is the Rasta of Costa Rica. This town is a popular spot for nomadic backpackers, surfers and wildlife fans. At first glance, it looks like some other towns in Costa Rica, but after a deepr look, this town is very unique. There is a heavy Rasta, Afro Caribbean influence here, mixed with locals and Ex-pats.
Shopping - Stroll along the main street and you will find an assortment of shopping. You will not find any high end stores here, but there is plenty to keep you busy.
Where to Eat - Close your eyes and point. All along the main road is a plethora of restaraunts. If you do go south to Manzanillo, there are a few restaurants at the edge of the park as well.
Bars / Entertainment - Reggae and beach parties are what the nightlife is like in this Afro Caribbean destination. There's even an Irish Pub!!! Although a pretty sleepy town during the week, the town is a blast on popular nights. Wander to center of town, and you will find live music, dancing, and people partying out on the sand. "Rasta mon!" You can even catch movies at Cafe Hot Rocks or Cine Playa Cocles.
Where to Stay - There is a wide variety of places to stay in and around Puerto Viejo. Depending on your budget or your liking, there are a couple of very cheap hostels in town, which are very popular with the younger crowd. Many offer private rooms and private baths for a little extra. Drive around on the back roads and you'll run into several hotels that are quaint and relatively cheap. Only a few have pools, but nature has provide you with a huge pool...the ocean. As you drive south, you will find even more lodging. This tends to be a bit more expensive, but you may like the amenities of some of these hotels/cabinas.
Getting Around - Your legs are the best means of transportation in Puerto Viejo. Also many hotels rent bikes, and you can even rent scooters. If you choose to venture further, and don't have a car, catching the bus is easy as well.