Exploring Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

I certainly can’t write extensively about Puerto Viejo, as we only stayed there on two separate nights, before, and after our trip to Panama.

That being said…During our stay I pretty much had the coolest looking coffee I’ve had in all of Costa Rica, and to not write about that would be a crime!

Kids playing on a rope swing, off a tree on an abandoned boat.

Kids playing on a rope swing, off a tree on an abandoned boat.

Every thing we read about the Caribbean Coast said that we would be in for a culture shock. The laid back surfer beaches of the Pacific, would be replaced by a Jamaican inspired rasta vibe. Although we did hear our fair share of Bob Marley during our two days there, I think we were expecting something more drastic. It certainly still felt like Costa Rica, but maybe with a few more dreadlocks.

The surf competition.

The surf competition.

Pretty much all of Puerto Viejo is laid out on an 13km road. Although once one of Costa Rica’s secret destinations, it’s now a pretty busy little surfer town.

The first day that we were there, there was actually a surf competition going on. It was pretty neat to be able to see some pretty high calibre surfers catching some waves.

Shaun checking out the waves (as usual!)

Shaun checking out the waves (as usual!)

While we were there, the weather was gorgeous, but we had heard from many people that Puerto Viejo, as well as much of the Caribbean Coast is prone to tons of rain. We felt pretty lucky that we saw none of that during our visit.

The one thing that did put us on edge a little was all the talk about Puerto Viejo’s reputation for crime.

Some gorgeous beach views

Some gorgeous beach views

Every guidebook we read had tips about how to stay safe. There is a forest trail that runs along the beach, and it was recommended that tourists don’t walk on it at night. Our hotel had multiple signs that asked their guests not to bring their valuables with them at night, and to always take a cab back to the hotel instead of walking.

We were there for such a short period of time, and never actually went out in the evening, so we certainly didn’t feel any sort of danger. Nevertheless, it was a good reminder to keep your wits about you when travelling in general.

Behold! A thing of beauty!

Behold! A thing of beauty!

So now that you’ve read my ramblings, I know you want me to get to this coffee! The afternoon that we came back from Panama, we popped into a coffee shop called Sel et Sucre. There was such a lack of good coffee shops in Panama, that I was dying for a delicious Cappuccino. Let me tell you, I got what I was looking for, and more.

Just check that out! Isn’t it gorgeous! I wanted to just stare at this masterpiece forever, but eventually, after a lengthy photo op, I gave it a stir, and dove in. It was delicious. If you are in Puerto Viejo, check out Sel et Sucre, if only to behold such a masterpiece yourself!

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Our Favourite Places in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

During our travels here in Santa Teresa, we’ve come across from pretty cool places.

Today’s post is all about some of our favourites!

A Health Food Store! I think I'm in love!

A Health Food Store! I think I’m in love!

Green World Store: Oh yes my friends, Santa Teresa has a health food store. Although I’m not sure that Shaun every actually went inside, I think I was there about every other day. In Canada I can spend so much time cruising up and down the aisles of health food stores, looking at all the goodies. Turns out, I can spend even more time cruising them when everything is written in Spanish!

Can you see the hidden Mickey's??

Can you see the hidden Mickey’s??

Cafe Zaza: Air conditioning and coffee..What more could a girl ask for??This cute little cafe is closer to Santa Teresa side of the strip, and is in the same complex as a couple little shops. It’s a pretty hostel central area, and while we were there, there was a lot of talk about things being stolen. Just keep you wits about you as you sip your latte!

Check this place out!

Check this place out!

Bajo del Mar: We ended up here for dinner on their opening night. We had planned on going somewhere else for dinner, but after a couple glasses of boxed wine in plastic cups, our fellow hostel mates convinced us to join them here. It turned out that the owner used to work at our hostel, so they were all heading there to support him. We were keeping an open mind, as we knew it was their opening night, and we were a pretty big group, but the meal was amazing! We had a Margarita pizza. Shaun, and I order these all the time, so we are pretty critical of them, but I gotta say, this one was amazing! The crust was so crispy, and the ingredients so fresh. A must visit if you’re in the area!

photo 2 (3)

my view on many days here in Santa Teresa

Zwart Art Cafe: So this place wins the prize. I spent soo many afternoons at Zwart, sketching, and drinking coffee. This place is a coffee shop/ bookstore/diner/art studio. A one stop shop! The owner even offered to have me come use her paints (unfortunately, I ran out of time). If you are looking for a place to relax, eat great food, and feel inspired, I would highly recommend Zwart.

Many days were spent like this!

Many days were spent like this!

Banana Beach: This is one of few bars that is right on the beach, but let me tell you, it’s a winner. Hammocks, beds, lounge chairs, tables. However you want to relax, they have it. Shaun and I spent many afternoons buying the occasional cervasa and coke light, just so we could use their beach chairs.We spent most of our time here during the day, and at sunset, but they have something different going on every night, plus some great (but pricey) food.

Such a great atmosphere

Such a great atmosphere

So those are just a couple of the many great places we’ve encountered while we were here, and most are pretty close to our hostel. Like I mentioned before, the Mal Pais/Santa Teresa road is 10km long, so there are lots of places we didn’t spend much time at. We will be staying in Mal Pais in the new year, so I’m sure we will have all sorts of new places from this area to share!

What has the been the best place local business you’ve every found while travelling?

Pura Vida!

Kate

Follow me on Twitter: @caketress

Cafe Tico, Tamarindo Costa Rica

I’m a gal who loves a good coffee shop, and luckily, Tamarindo has quite a few!

Cafe Tico, consistently shows up on Trip Advisor as one of the highest rated food establishments in Tamarindo, and after visiting it on several occasions, I can see why!

Cafe Tico

Cafe Tico

Located just past the Super 2001 grocery store on your way to Langosta, Cafe Tico seems pretty unassuming. The small store front is tucked back, away from the road. If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll miss it.

Although I tried out a couple other shops in town, Cafe Tico, in my humbled opinon, has the best Coffee in town. Which is tough, because I find all Costa Rican coffee to be truly delicious!

The menu, and bar

The menu, and bar

The shop is small, and offers a limited number of outdoor seats to its patrons. Inside, you will find bar that sells your typical coffee shop drinks, small sandwiches and various pastries.

Another awesome thing about Cafe Tico is all the products they sell. They carry a whole line of chutney’s, salsas, jams and jelly’s with a whole line up of items for you to sample while you wait for your drink. I’ll be picking some up for our Christmas dinner for sure!

nut butters!!!!

nut butters!!!!

They also sell other food related items such as coffee, dried fruit, and most importantly NUT BUTTER! I almost died when I saw them!

I have never successfully found natural nut butter of any kind in Costa Rica. It’s Jif or Nil! Here at Cafe Tico, they have a wide variety including peanut, almond, walnut and cashew! My excitement was momentary squashed when  I realized that many of them included additional sugar and oil, but the almond butter just has honey in it. That works for me, it’s nice to be able to have a product available that has a short ingredient list that you can pronounce!

All in all, I’ve loved every experience I have had at Cafe Tico. Their staff are all extremely pleasant, their coffee is delicious and their products are unique and local. If you are in the Tamarindo area, and looking for a nice quiet place for a delicious brew, this is your spot!

Have you ever found a coffee shop while travelling that you just loved?

Pura Vida

Kate
Follow me on Twitter: @caketress
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