Part 13: Exploring Puerto Viejo


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The Trip

We stayed at a pretty nice place south of Puerto Viejo called Cocles.  We had dinner at the hotel, and it was just OK.  Next day we decided to drive around the area and see what was there.  At the beach bar the previous night, we saw an expedition camper head south on the road toward Manzanillo so we set out to find it.  I actually pulled over a police car to ask if they had seen the truck, but no luck.  The police directed us to an area around Punta Uvas.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

The road from Cocles to Manzanillo was narrow, but in good shape.  There were tons of folks on foot and bicycle so 30 kph was maximum speed on the road.  The shot above is just outside of Manzanillo.

We stopped on the roadside and I walked to the beach to see what was up.  The beach was quite deserted, but very beautiful.

I am sure that this is the scene most days of the year -- right out of a postcard.

Unlike what we saw on the Pacific side, the jungle came right down to the beach.

Several folks told us that this was the best beach in all of Costa Rica.  It would be hard to argue with that claim.

Kathleen read that bare breasts were illegal in CR.  These gals did not get that memo.  Oddly, the police were through this area just a few minutes before us (we saw them stop and look) and they said nothing.  So, in Costa Rica like the rest of the world, it goes like this: MEN: "No shirt, no service".  WOMEN: "No shirt, free drinks".

The beach here was as nice as anything we have seen anywhere.

After asking the police about the expedition camper, we investigated every possible camping area.  At one point, I scouted the horizon of the beach with our binoculars and saw something that looked promising, so we headed to that point and found this.  While this was not the truck that we saw, it was interesting.  This is a Mercedes 1114 bus that has been converted into a camper.  The sign on the back says: "We are from Patagonia (Argentina) and want to go to Alaska.  Can you help us with 5 liters of diesel or a plate of food".  I nosed around for the owners but did not see them.

The beach where they camped was off the chart.

Yet another lovely beach.

While we were shooting photos, these tourists on horseback came by.

The guide is the 3rd horse closest to the water.

I went back to the bus to have a closer look.

I saw a couple on the beach so I approached them to ask if this was their vehicle.  I asked in Spanish and he responded in heavily accented English "no".  As we were talking I asked him where he was from and he responded Moscow.  He and his wife were in CR for a month and then they head back to Russia.

We headed north into Puerto Viejo and had lunch at a roadside cafe.

Across the street folks were in the surf.  Bikes are the preferred method of travel here as the roads are narrow.

There were plenty of younger folks on the beach.  Note the sailboat; it was not there when we came through this area the previous day.

We saw all kinds of odd folks come past but this fellow got the prize.

We were sitting at the roadside cafe and another expedition camper passed us.  Not the same as what we saw the previous day.  I was not fast enough to get a photo.  But, as we were returning to the hotel, we passed it on the side of the road, so we stopped.  I got out and searched for the owner, but never found them.

This truck is about the same size as a 416 Unimog.

We gave up looking for the owner and headed back to our hotel.

The beaches around Puerto Viejo are insanely beautiful.  Most folks stay on the Pacific side of the country, and because of some information we got about "personal safety" we almost did not make the trip.  But so far we were glad that we did.

Tomorrow we will leave Cocles, but we do not yet have a plan.  We have 3 nights left, with the 3rd night in proximity to the airport to allow us to meet our 0700 departure time.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2014, all rights reserved.
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