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The Caribbean Coast
The video above highlights the beauty of Puerto Viejo and the Caribbean Coast.
Below are photos from a 2009 surf contest held on Westfalia Beach.
The Caribbean coast is known for having a rasta-mentality, but it also has a strong native culture. The air is hot all year round, the water warm, and the best time for waves is January to April. All the beaches are popular with the locals on the weekends.
The mural below shows the history of the Carribean coast. From proud fisherman who helped build the Panama Canal - the locals were then forced to sell their lands to large banana growers and exporters. With little rights, they had to then work their own farms for little in payment.
From the airport, it's a drive through downtown and then another 2-3 hours to Limon through mountainous terrian for the first hour and then a straight shot to the coast. Add another hour to get to Cahuita or PuertoViejo, 70 km. south on the coast (if a bridge is not washed out). From there it's only 50 km. to Panama. Or travel north from Limon 5 km. to Playa Bonita and find a boat to take you farther to Tortuguero.
If you need transportation to Puerto Viejo or Cahuita, use this link.
2/22 - ATEC and greencoast.com have started a Twitter feed at 'gcpuertoviejo', with a “green tip” posted every day to remind folks in Talamanca and all over the globe of the little things you can do to keep Talamanca green.
ATEC, the Talamancan Association of Ecotourism and Conservation, based in Puerto Viejo, was able to raise money to purchase school supplies for all 20 kids at the Kekoldi School. It has also purchased four sets of schoolbooks for students at the Patino School, and is still raising funds to get books for all 50 students. A set of books costs just 6,000 colones ($12) per student. Donations to ATEC can be made through PayPal, or email them for more information.
Caribeseguro.com is a new website dedicated to the security of the Caribean coast for local residents and tourists. If you need help in filing a crime report, or want to know what is taking place to improve the safety of the area, visit this website.
Courtesy of the folks over at Greencoast, here is the new schedule for recycling pickup:
The Recycling Alliance has expanded the types of solid waste that it is collecting on the Caribbean Coast. Nearly everything can now be recycled. Recycle for a safer community and environment!
The following clean and separated items are now accepted:
Glass bottles (topless)
Aluminum and clean metal cans
Plastic Bottles Pet (#1)
and all other plastics; separated and CLEAN: jugs,gallons, food containers, bags from the super markets,
Tetrapak! AKA Wine boxes or juice boxes and that metal-plastic bags examples: bags from coffee, powered milk, cookie and potato chip wrappers if they are that shiny metal!
Tuesdays: From Manzanillo to Rockin’ Jay’s on the edge of Puerto Viejo
Wednesdays: Puerto Viejo to Black Beach
Thursdays: Collections from Banana Farms
Fridays: 1st and 3rd of the month: BriBri, 2nd of the month: Gandoca, 4th of the month: to the Indigenous Territory including Volio, Rancho Grande, Shiroles, Suretka, Bambu, Chase
Businesses and individuals can bring their recyclable materials to the Solid Waste Transfer Center in Patiño any time. The Center is open during normal business hours.
ReciCaribe provides a valuable service and cannot survive without community support.
Please Support Recycling in Talamanca by making a donation:
Asociación de Reciclaje del Caribe Ced. Jur. 3-002-356594
Banco Costa Rica colones AHORRO (Savings): 399-638-6
This pretty beach is where the Limon locals go on the weekend to enjoy the waves. The beachbreak out front can get big and closes out on almost every wave over chest high. There is a reef on the left that breaks very far off and is very shallow with fast, hollow sections. Needs a big swell to work. The beach is better at high tide, the reef at midtide.
Playa Bonita - Los Tumbos
Los Tumbos 'The Tumbles' is on the far south side of Playa Bonita. It gets its name from the large rocks that the wave smashes into on every set. It is a short, powerful, hollow right that is mostly surfed by bodyboarders with no fear. It breaks better at lower tides. Not recommend for surfing except by the pros, who have plenty of boards to break.
Isla Uvita "Island of Small Grapes" was the first place that Columbus landed on in 1506. He did not come to surf, but if he had he would have enjoyed seeing the lefts that peel off the island when there is a strong East swell. Waves can get over triple overhead and not close out, but there is no room for mistakes as the mainland is a 40 minute boat ride away. It breaks over shallow reef. The island is totally undeveloped.
The entire stretch of the coast from Limon to Cahuita CAN be surfed, but should it? Lots of rivermouths running from the banana plantations mean polluted water and plenty of crocs. The beachbreak is best at higher tides, and anything over head high tends to close out. Best bet is to keep driving south to Cahuita and Puerto Viejo.
Cahuita - Black Beach
Cahuita's Playa Negra is a small, dark sand beach about an hour drive south of Limon. There is parking along the beach, but be careful not to leave anything in the car. The waves break on sand, and generally are small and easy for beginners. When there is swell it can get hollow and break far outside. There is also a rock ledge that starts throwing out lefts when it is overhead or bigger. The best tide is around high tide. Watch out for sea urchins and sharp reef at the south end of the beach.
Cahuita - Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca is next to the entrance of the Cahuita National Park. The wave starts to break at chest high or bigger off a shallow reef and into a tiny bay, closing out after a short fun left. The best tide is midtide coming in. A lot of locals like this spot and it will get crowded with surfers and bodyboarders sharing the two main peaks. The beachbreak to the south tends to close out when it's big.
Playa Vargas is about a kilometer walk inside the Cahuita National Park. When the rest of the Caribbean is tiny, this spot tends to be a foot or two bigger. Its remoteness keeps the crowds away. Be careful of the reef at lower tides.
Puerto Viejo - Salsa Brava
Salsa Brava is a right hand reef break that is know for big barrels from January to March. The reality is it is hit and miss, the swells are not consistent and the waves one day will be double overhead and the next chest high and choppy. When it's on, there is a heavy local contingent out there on surfboards and bodyboards. Different tides work better depending on the swell size and angle. It breaks bigger than it looks from the beach, and there is a thin channel to paddle through. Find it or you'll get caught on some dry reef with sea urchins.
Puerto Viejo - El Barco
Around the bend from Salsa Brava there is an old barge that ran ashore some time ago. Right next to it a small peak will come in, perfect for groms and beginners. Farther to the north, the stretch of beach is also better for beginners when it is small and at higher tides. Anything bigger than waist high will make the wave close out.
Playa Cocles is a kilometer past Puerto Viejo and even more laid back. The beach is beautiful and the waves are most fun when it's chest to head high. Any bigger surf gets really hollow, but closes out. It breaks better at high tide. There is a strong current so it is not for beginners when it's big. It can get crowded on the best peaks, but there are plenty of others to choose from. On the north end is an island about 300 meters offshore. When the swell is huge, a nice left forms off the island and breaks almost all the way through to the beach.
Punta Uva is a reef break that takes a big East swell to make it work. It breaks best when it's headhigh to overhead. Bigger sets shut down. The reef is sharp and beware of sea urchins. Since it is remote and doesn't break often, there is rarely anyone surfing here.
Manzanillo is a beach better suited for snorkeling since most of the time it is flat and there is live reef less than 30 meters from the sand. When there are waves here they are diminished by the reef, making this a good spot for beginners. However, there are reef breaks to the north and south of this spot that light up when it's double overhead or bigger. Some are accessible only by boat.
Surf For Life is committed to helping volunteers participate in meaningful social and economic development projects designed to benefit the Bri Bri and the community of Puerto Viejo.
Be part of this awesome opportunity to make a hands-on difference in the community of Puerto Viejo. Join us in the construction and remodeling of schools & community facilities, building bridges, maintaining trails and helping out with social services such as the local soup kitchen. This camp only happens once a year, so sign up today.
Description: 12 standard rooms have a queen size bed in bamboo, private bathroom with hot water, telephone, ceiling fan and a fabulous view of the tropical garden. Also offered are 2 Jr Suites and 6 big Suites beach front, with private pool and an incomparable view of the ocean. The suites rooms include a separate living room with bamboo chairs, loveseat and a glass coffee table, all have various services, like: TV cable, coffee maker and mini refrigerator. Rates include breakfast. Surf Shop on site for board rentals, surf accessories, and ding repair.
Description: Cashew Hill Jungle Cottages are a short walk from downtown, on a hillside, overlooking Puerto Viejo. Well-appointed one, two and three bedroom rental cottages are available with secure parking. Each cottage features a kitchen, complete with refrigerator, stove, coffee maker, microwave, toaster oven and all the utensils necessary to create gourmet meals or just a snack. Orthopedic mattresses guarantee an easy and restful night's sleep. Towels, bedding, mosquito nets, screens, reading lamps, hot water showers and friendly, on-site hosts. Maid service is included and laundry service is available. Book 5 nights, get 2 nights free!
Description: ATEC was started to help preserve and promote the cultural heritage of the Talamancan region, from Cahuita to Sixaola. They provide walks and tours of the area and are very knowledgable of the community.
Description: Glass bottom boat rides, full day hike w/lunch, Kikoldi and Bri-Bri Indian Reservation tour, Horseback ride to Cocles Waterfalls, Boat tour of Gandoca Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, Punta Uva Kayak Tour, plus overnight trips to Bocas del Toro - Panama
5/2 - Waves have been growing a little the last few days. With a little rain in the morning to sun later on the day waves are glassy with a little breezy hitting the waters.
The best spot to surf this week will be at Cocles beach break. With waves breaking knee till head high the waves are a little fast and shallow. A lot better are the waves breaking a little more out close to the Island. A reef break that's a little slow, but with perfect rights and lefts. Perfect for longboarding, shortboarding or even paddleboarding.
At our tourdesk in Rocking J's we have special surf lessons for beginners! Come and enjoy the Caribbean with us!