Puerto Viejo de Limon

The village of Puerto Viejo de Limon is to the Caribbean what Montezuma is to the Pacific side. Laid back, it has its own slow and sultry beat. The village is a mecca for surfers; it is also home to ATEC, the Talamanca Association for Ecotourism and Conservation, an orgzanization that works from Cahuita south to Gandoca. Puerto Viejo is about five hours from San Jose, 40 miles (65 km) southeast of Limon.

Puerto Viejo's pace is slow and relaxed. It's built around a lovely bay with calm water for swimming in front of town. You'll find helpful, genial blacks who speak English, Talamanca Indians, Costa Ricans of Spanish descent, and foreigners who've intermarried or moved here for farming or tourism. Long-time residents worry about their town's future with increased traffic. Puerto Viejo is still a wonderful place to enjoy the ocean, walk, bike or ride horses on quiet paths and roads, visit with English-speaking local people, watch birds and monkeys, and not hurry about anything.

The Salsa Brava wave breaking on the reef at Puerto Viejo's bay entrance is the big attraction for surfers. Waves are challenging there, even for experts. The peak seasons are December through April and June-July. The sea is calmer in September and October when the rest of Costa Rica has its rainiest season and possibly the "temporal", a rain that lasts for days.

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