I cannot leave this town. Puerto Viejo has sucked me in and become my new home away from home.
My parents and Rebeca visited me over Christmas and this was our final spot together…two weeks later, I’m still here. Normally I’m on the move every few days, so this is a big change of pace for me. There’s something about Puerto that has drawn me in and won’t let me go. I feel inspired to read, write, swim, bike, run, yoga, detox, and relax here.
It’s hard to explain what makes this Caribbean town so magical, but I’m going to try. You should know that I am not the first, nor will I be the last, person to get “stuck” here. People tell me it happens all the time.
Jungle meets beach in this tiny coastal town.
The Rasta vibe makes it impossible not to relax and look at life with a new perspective.
Bicycles are the preferred method of transportation.
On the main road you will find beach after beach after beach – each one unique.
Howler monkeys become a wake-up call, jungle birds chirp all day long, and sloths hang out in trees along the street.
There is a strong sense of community and friendships come easy.
Fresh seafood abounds. So do vegan pastries. Food is local and delicious.
Yoga studios and yogis are everywhere. So are surfers, runners, and nature lovers.
There is a major hippy vibe around town.
There are shiny happy people all around!
I remember driving in and thinking that this was MY spot. How could I not fall in love?
Of course like any place, Puerto Viejo isn’t without its challenges. Prices are high relative to the rest of Central America (think $7 breakfast sandwiches and $16 seafood dinners), and locals are having a harder and harder time affording to stay, getting forced out into neighboring towns. Consequently there are robberies towards tourists, so I’m extra cautious about what I take out with me, especially at night. That said, I believe that the “scary parts” of living here are magnified since it is such a small community. I started hearing about robberies the day I landed in Quito so this isn’t unique to Puerto Viejo. I just wish we could all get along.
Since this place is obviously so magical, I’m also choosing to stay here for a while to relax and reflect. I need some “me” time, and it’s hard to do that when I’m constantly on the move or tagging along with other travelers. I’m trying to look inside and think about what I want in this next chapter of life. While it isn’t easy, yoga, meditation, time in the jungle, and surrounding myself with good people have all helped me focus. I’m still on the road to discovery, but each day I have a new finding and it feels really, really good.
The only reasons I haven’t gotten a part-time job or started volunteering down here are a) I thought I was leaving for Panama again (I’m not!) and b) Nicole is visiting me in La Fortuna next week! With this visit, I officially have an end date for my love affair with Puerto Viejo. Will I return? Only time will tell.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
Have you been to Puerto Viejo yet?