Puerto Viejo is one of the largest tourist destinations on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, and yet it still manages to feel like a small community. By my third day, I was recognizing locals. Seriously. It's also one of the most laid back places I've ever independently visited. Case in point, our hostel of choice: Rocking J's:
The entire hostel is decorated in mosaics, murals, and graffiti. They offer tents and hammocks as lodging, in addition to the expected bedrooms. The crowd includes backpackers of the hippie, stoner, and surfer variety as well as the standard eclectic like me. Sounds super cool, am I right?Well, it is, but unfortunately I arrived there in a bad mood. We had to walk about a 1/2 mile in the pouring rain to get to it, and that may have thrown off the rest of the dismal weather day. The next morning, we woke up to the same scene. And I was ravenous.
As such, I braved the elements with my trusty raincoat to retrieve breakfast at a cafe in town. I went traditional: un café con leche, gallo pinto y huevos revueltos. Delish. It was just what I needed to perk me up for my walk back and enjoy the company of new faces we'd made the night before.
It's surprising how well you can get to know a few strangers when all there is to do is sit around and talk. Despite the undesirable weather, I had a great day.
Followed by a great evening too. The hostel had a Mexican asado so I shared a plate before a thorough introduction to Puerto Viejo bar culture.
It's all about the research ;). Fun times.
The next morning, Matt and I actually did switch hostels for research purposes. The second one wasn't nearly as awesome as the first, but it was right around the corner from Bread & Chocolate. The air was hot, I was hungry, and so I ordered a large iced tea and a bowl of plain yogurt, fresh fruit, and homemade granola.
It was just enough to prepare me for a Sunday of perfect weather.
We walked around, and then, hit the beach as fast as our legs would take us.A week and a half in and I'm finally getting a true start to my tan. I could get used to this, I thought...and to be honest, in the past few days, I have. (Don't hate me.)
That night, we celebrated our prosperous day with a seafood dinner. I had a glass of wine, a plate of grilled red snapper, and the company of a few entertaining Americans and Canadians that had become my friends. The next morning was an early one of border-crossing to meet up with two of them in Bocas del Toro, Panama, but I'll save those stories for another day :). Off to yoga class!