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Hola from Puerto Viejo!

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San Francisco...
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Hola from Puerto Viejo!

I've been in PV for the past week and am having a great time!

It was long trip to get here - took a midnight flight with a layover in Houston and arrived at SJO at 1pm. Interbus shuttle took us to the Dunn Inn where we had a snack and Pilsens before crashing out hard (Dunn Inn is great). Interbus picked us in the morning and dropped us off at the house we are renting for the next 2 weeks just east of town near Rockin J's.

Puerto Viejo has had a few changes since our last visit - the Argentinean Steak place and Chili Rojo have moved to the east side of town and El Loco Natural is gone but is supposedly moving to a new location set to open later this year. A new mall is supposed to be built where Chili Rojo's old location next to El Dorado.

We noticed a large police presence on the main road at night and also saw some of the Tourist Police riding a motorcycle around town. We didn't see as many shady characters as on our last visit.

The weather has been a mixture of overcast and gorgeous sunny days. Only had one day where it rained a bit. The water at the beaches have been a bit rough (probably from the storm over the Carribean).

We're mostly getting around on foot but yesterday we rented bicycles and rode to Punta Uva

A few cullinary highlights:

We checked out the Sunset bar but it seems to be more of a less friendly, locals place.

El Dorado is top on our list of favorite places for beers, cocktails and people watching.

Dubliner Irish Bar (next to Rockin' J's) doesnt really live up to it's name (nothing Irish about it since it's owned by a Rasta). I was foolishly looking forward to a black and tan but they were out of Guinness and never heard of Harp or Bass ale :(

Cafe Rico has the BEST coffee I've had anywhwhere! It attracts some unusual people based on the sign out from that advertises "conspiracy consultations". Good breakfasts too!

Restaurante Punta Uva - limited menu but we were hungry so we ordered some chicken "fajitas" which in reality were deep fried chicken strips covered with thousand island dressing(!).

Stanfords. We were promptly brought our drinks along with gucamole and chips. The guacamole was good but the chips were pretty soggy with the oil used to fry them. We then waited for a really long time for our arroz con pollo. It was alomost as if they had to wait for the rice to grow and the chicken to hatch and mature so they could make our meal. I dont know if the cook forgot or was taking a long break, smoking crack or what. We saw other dinners waiting quite some time as well. I guess when the tips are included in the bill there isn;t much incentive for fast service. We wont be going back to Stanfords.

Bread and Chocolate - fantastic sandwiches and even better chocolates (YUM!)

De Paso - sand floored cafe on the beach good food and great atemosphere

Lizard King - We ordered chips and guacamole, tacos, and enchiladas. The chips and guacamole took a loooong time to arrive (30 minutes) and then we didn't get our main courses for another 20 minutes after that. The food was all really tasty but I wouldn't recommend it based on the slow service.

More to come!

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1. Re: Hola from Puerto Viejo!

Thanks for the update on PV. I'll be down there in Feb. staying at the Lizard King. I agree the coffee at Cafe Rico great, in fact I'm spoiled on the coffee down there and I won't drink "american" coffee anymore. Keep the updates coming.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Hola from Puerto Viejo!

I forgot to mention that Salsa Brava is a good place for a dinner where you can see the ocean. There is also a shaded path that leads form there along the beach all the way to Playa Cocoles

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Hola from Puerto Viejo!

Hola Sean -- You're making me sooooo hungry! Sorry to hear Loco Natural is gone...but hopefully it will be back when we're there next March!

Sounds like you're having an awesome time!

Puerto Viejo, Costa...
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4. Re: Hola from Puerto Viejo!

Loco Natural is supposed to be open by Dec 1st. There is a place called Wild Ginger going in their old location.

Make sure you also try out The Cutback just across the street from Argentinian Steak house. It is our favourite for cheap and cheerful.

Cheers, Colin.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Hola from Puerto Viejo!

The restaurant at Cut Bak - Restaurante De Paso is really good. One of our favorites here in Puerto Viejo. It's almost right on the beach with a sand floor - somewhat romantic at night. The tacos are really good!

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Hola from Puerto Viejo!

Yesterday we took the public bus to Chauita. It was 500 colones each way, purchase tickets at building across from bus stop in town. The bus ride was interesting - there is a driver who also collects fares and another guy who checks people's tickets. It seems somewhat redundant but I guess having another guy there keeps the driver from pocketing any $$ and creates another job.

Chauita itself was pretty dead, most restaurants were closed (as was on our visit there last year). We ended up eating some lunch at Restaurante National Park.

Entering the park visitors are asked to sign a guest book and make a contrubtion. Looking at the guest book it seemed that the average contribution was 1000 colones ($2) per person. We gave them a $5 bill and were given a receipt. We walked about 300 meters up the beach and found a nice spot under a tree on Playa Blanca which is a picture perfect stretch of beach. The water was gentle and warm - the best swimming we've had so far! Unfortunately, after about 1.5 hours we heard thunder in the distance and some dark clouds moving in. We walked back to the bus station to get tickets back to PV. Just as we walked in the door to our house it started to rain. The pwer was going on and off for a while. Fortunately we had some candles. Since it was raining we decided to stay in for the night and give our livers a rest from all the drinking weve been doing

San Francisco...
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7. Re: Hola from Puerto Viejo!

We ended up staying home last night and making sandwiches as we were pretty tired and wanted to give our livers a rest form all the booze we've been drinking. The power was off for about an hour but fortunately we had some candles for light.

Today we rented bicycles ($3/day seems to be the going rate) and rode all the way to Manzanillo. When we got there is was super windy with sand blowing all over. We wanted to get something to eat at maxi's but the music was being blasted so loudly with distortion is was unbearable so we got back on our bikes and robe back, stopping at Punta Uva for a beer and to rest a bit. After returning the bikes we headed to Rockin' J's for some of the BEST margaritas I've had so far (wish we knew about them earlier). We also had some chicken skewers with a really good peanut dipping sauce. The tacos al pastor were also good but needed some salsa or something as they were a bit dry. We then headed to Playa Cocles where we almost had the entire beach to ourselves. The water was warm and more gentle than of previous days making for good swimming. We then headed back to the house to clean up and rest for a bit before going out for dinner.

We went to our usual pre-dinner hang out at El Dorado and got to watch a parade of school children playing drums and in costume slowly march down the main street. One guy was even dressed up as Santa Claus! We had dinner at Amimodo - yummy pizza!

Woodbury MN
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8. Re: Hola from Puerto Viejo!

Sean

We'll be where you are at the end of Nov.

As I read your posts I cut and paste into my "to do/where to eat" list that I will take with me.

Are you familiar with any of the tours that are offered for the area? Any you can recommend?

I was wondering if the house you are renting is right in town and what's your thought on staying in town versus out a little south? House versus hotel (Azania Bungalows)?

Thanks for letting me butt into your vacation.

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Hola from Puerto Viejo!

Azania Bungalows is at Playa Cocles about a 20 minute walk from town. A good alternative to walking on the dusty road is to take a ocean side trail that leads from the northern end of Playa Cocles and takes you to Puerto Viejo. If you don't have a car, bicycles are a good way to get around and you can take a taxi at night. Our house is just a 7 minute walk from the east side of town along the road that leads towards Cocles

Woodbury MN
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10. Re: Hola from Puerto Viejo!

What's parking like in town if we decide to rent a car?