If you're currently in Nicaragua wishing to get to Costa Rica, read Carefully. You will need to show an exit ticket in order to get your passport stamped. The policy is the same for everyone, if you do not have an exit ticket showing you will leave Costa Rica within 90 days (tourist visa) you will not go through. If you do not have an exit ticket, you have two options.
- Option 1 (needs to be done in advance since you will not have wifi at the border): rent a ticket from FlyOnward - Option 2: (last minute option when already at the border) buy a ticket San Jose-Managua with Tica Bus at the border's office for $25 (the cheapest and not refundable unfortunately)
From San Jose, Costa Rica
Take the Mepe bus to Puerto Viejo for $10. The journey is about 4h and stops at the “Parada de Autobus” (bus station in Spanish) of Puerto Viejo.
Owned by a Spanish couple from Barcelona, Chelo & Jordi and their son Unai will give you a warm welcome as soon as you enter the Hostel. Book one night, Stay one week! Yes this is very common at Kalunai Hostel . Simply because their smile, humour and kindness will make you feel like home! Private or Shared rooms, hammocks, bicycles for rent, lockers, hot showers, laundry, free wifi and coffee - this is all you need to enjoy Puerto Viejo to the fullest. All the people staying at Kalunai Hostel are “buena onda” (good vibes in Spanish), super friendly, laid back and sharing. The big tables in the kitchen area make it easier to make friends and plan some future travels together.
From Puerto Viejo, take the bus to Cahuita Centro from the bus station. Buses run every half an hour and cost 715 colones one way and takes about 30 minutes. Buy tickets from the ticket office across the bus station. When you get to Cahuita Centro bus station, open your app maps.me to see where the National Park entrance is. If you still haven't downloaded this FREE app , I don't know what you're waiting for! Get to the kiosk where you can register and donate whatever you want. The trek is about 3 to 4 hours, make sure to come in the morning because around 2pm they do close half way through the trail so you may not be able to do the entire park. Best thing is to leave Puerto Viejo at 8:30 am and you should end the trail at Puerto Vargas around 1 pm. The bus station for Puerto Viejo is right in front of you so you just have to wait for the Mepe Bus going towards Manzanillo. The park is very pretty, it is a mix of jungle and desert beaches so bring your swimsuit! Snakes, spiders, raccoons, howler monkeys and more…discover the wilderness of this beautiful park.
Surf Lessons at Playa Cocles
Playa Cocles is the first beach after Puerto Viejo, 2kms away. You can get there walking or biking. 1h30 surf lesson costs $50 and includes an extra 2-hour free time to practice whenever you want. Stop at the second Surf Rental stand by the beach and ask for Elmer. Best surf teacher in town! Super patient, speaks English & Spanish and also good at cheering you up! You will be standing on the board even if you've never surfed before! Plus the scenery and the waves cannot be better on a sunny day when learning how to surf for the first time! Look at this...
Rent a bike
The best way to explore the most beautiful Caribbean beaches of Puerto Viejo is by bike! By staying at Kalunai Hostel , Chelo & Jordi will explain you everything about the beaches around with the map drawn on one of the dorms. You can also rent the bike from them for $6 a day. The itinerary should take you the whole day (14 kms in total) especially when you stop at every beautiful beach for snorkelling, swimming or surfing!
Puerto Viejo center has a lot to offer when it comes to bars & restaurants. "Soda" is another way to say Comedor (local cuisine). Lots of quirky bars with happy hours and reggae music, french bakery, Italian food restaurants and many more! You have plenty of choices, amongst which we've tried Bread & Chocolate for breakfast, Tasty Waves Cantina for 2x1 Tacos Tuesday, Outback Jack's for 1pm-7:30pm Happy Hour!