- The Best of Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Top Spots for WIldlife
- Costa Rica’s Most Beautiful Beaches
- Costa Rica’s Best Beaches for Wildlife
- Best Surfing Beaches in Costa Rica
- Costa Rica’s Unique Retreats & Resorts
- Surf’s Up in Costa Rica
- Off-The-Beaten-Path Eco-Adventures
- Costa Rica Family-Friendly Adventures
- Adrenaline Rush
Puerto Viejo’s local community organization ATEC (tel. 506/2750-0398, www.ateccr.org, 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.) offers hiking and nature excursions, including into the Kèköldi reserve.
Hiking and horseback trips into Kèköldi are also offered by Mauricio Salazar from Chimuri Beach Retreat (tel./fax 506/2750-0119, www.retreat.chimuribeach.com, 7 hours, $25 pp, including box lunch and a contribution to the Indian Association). Three-day trips cost $140, including overnight stays with the locals.
Terraventuras (tel. 506/2750-0750, www.terraventuras.com) and Exploradores Outdoors (tel. 506/2750-2020, www.exploradoresoutdoors.com), in Centro Comercial Puerto Viejo, offer a range of tours from local jungle hikes to canopy zip lines and ocean kayaking.
Bad Monkey (tel. 506/2756-8017) and Gecko Trail Adventures (tel. 506/2750-0738, www.geckotrail.com) offer similar trips.
For horseback-riding adventures, call Caribe Horse Riding Club (tel. 506/8329-2272, www.caribehorse.com) at Playa Negra.
Puerto Viejo is legendary among the surfing crowd. November through April, especially, the village is crowded with surfers, who come for a killer six-meter storm-generated wave called La Salsa Brava. Beach Break, at Playa Cocles, about three kilometers south of Puerto Viejo, is good for novices and intermediates. Snorkelers should use extreme caution in these waters, and never snorkel during rough weather.
Reef Runner Divers (tel. 506/2750-0480, www.reefrunnerdivers.com) offers guided dive tours ($50 one tank, $80 two tanks, $60 night dive), PADI certification ($325), and dolphin ($75) and snorkeling ($35) tours.
Juppy & Tino Adventures (tel. 506/2750-0621) has kayak tours to Gandoca and also rents kayaks, boogie boards, and snorkeling and surfing gear, as does Caribbean Surfing (tel. 506/8357-7703), which also offers lessons, and Salsa Brava Surf Shop (tel. 506/2750-0689).
Johnny Tours offers a five-hour sailing trip aboard the 36-foot Catalina ($60), which can also be chartered ($500).
The grassroots Asociación Talamanca de Ecoturismo y Conservación (ATEC, tel. 506/2750-0398, www.ateccr.org, 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.), in Puerto Viejo, trains locals as approved guides and sponsors environmental and cultural tours of the Talamanca coast ($75 full day). Options include African-Caribbean Culture and Nature Walks, trips to the Kèköldi and other indigenous reserves, rainforest hikes, snorkeling and fishing, bird and night walks, overnight “adventure treks” into the Gandoca-Manzanillo reserve, kayaking, dancing, and cooking classes ($25), and an arduous 6- to 16-day trek over the Talamancas ($250 pp, minimum four people). All trips are limited to six people.
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition