The twelve-kilometre coastal stretch between the languorous village of PUERTO VIEJO DE TALAMANCA, 18km southeast of Cahuita, and Manzanillo is among the loveliest in Costa Rica. Though not great for swimming, its beaches – Playa Chiquita, Playa Cocles, Punta Uva and Manzanillo – are some of the most picturesque on the Caribbean coast. Puerto Viejo itself is one of the most popular backpacker towns in Central America, with plenty of accommodation, plus a lively social scene, and the entire place sells out at weekends, so prepare accordingly.

It’s surfing, however, that really pulls in the crowds; the stretch south of Stanford’s restaurant at the southern end of Puerto Viejo offers some of the most challenging waves in the country and certainly the best on the Caribbean coast. Puerto Viejo’s famous twenty-foot wave “La Salsa Brava” crashes ashore between December and March and from June to July; September and October, when La Salsa Brava disappears, are the quietest months of the year. Then there’s the South Caribbean Music and Arts Festival (t 2750-0062, [email protected]) held every year for the four weekends leading up to Easter, and featuring Costa Rican musicians playing a variety of music including ska, jazz, reggae, calypso and more.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Costa Rica features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

9 tips for travelling in Costa Rica

9 tips for travelling in Costa Rica

Inspired by pictures of Costa Rica’s primordial-looking shores, rainforests bristling with exotic creatures and steaming volcanoes that tower above the clouds…

25 Oct 2016 • Chloe Cann insert_drive_file Article
14 magical sunrises that prove it's worth getting up early

14 magical sunrises that prove it's worth getting up early

Looking through the Rough Guides photography archive, one kind of shot stands out again and again: pictures captured at sunrise. Sure, there's nothing more temp…

16 Apr 2015 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
A Rough Guide to spotting wildlife in Costa Rica

A Rough Guide to spotting wildlife in Costa Rica

From world-famous national parks to little-known private reserves, Alex Robinson picks out six of the best places for wildlife-spotting in Costa Rica. Few cou…

19 Jan 2015 • Alex Robinson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month