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A Puerto Viejo Christmas is not your traditional Christmas! If Christmas to you is a roaring log fire, snowy landscapes and mainly indoor activities then Puerto Viejo Christmas is going to feel very different — but in a good way!

Palm Christmas Tree

Palm Christmas Tree

Puerto Viejo Christmas is of course tropical and so your Christmas tree may be a decorated palm tree, your Christmas dinner may be Lobster or Caribbean Costa Rican specialities and festivities take place in open restaurants or bars or on the beach.

Christmas Sun at Playa Grande

Christmas Sun at Playa Grande

So how would you celebrate a Puerto Viejo Christmas? People love this coast at Christmas for its warm seas, great restaurants and holiday atmosphere.  You can celebrate Christmas here with a luxury picnic on the beach, or indulge in any number of special menus offered by numerous restaurants, some with live music and dancing.

Fresh Lobster for Christmas lunch with a good bottle of wine: Just the job!

Fresh Lobster for Christmas lunch with a good bottle of wine: Just the job!

Why not begin your Christmas with a dip in the warm ocean, followed by a super Caribbean Christmas lunch, fit in a siesta and finish your Christmas day with dancing to the Calypso beat… and perhaps a last glass of bubbles by your pool? Not a bad plan right?

Christmas plunge pool at Geckoes Lodge: Barefoot Luxury!

Christmas plunge pool at Geckoes Lodge: Barefoot Luxury!

Puerto Viejo really gets into the Christmas atmosphere and a Puerto Viejo Christmas goes on for several days so you don’t have to cram everything into 24 hours…
Take your time, chill out in the Caribbean warmth and then, when you need some action, take advantage of a smorgasbord of activities available.

Relax and spot wildlife on serene Gandoca Lagoon

Relax and spot wildlife on serene Gandoca Lagoon

Whether it’s a Chocolate Tour that grabs you, learning how to surf, horse-riding along the beach or through the rainforest, visiting the orphaned animals at Jaguar Rescue Centre, a relaxing wildlife spotting boat trip on the Gandoca lagoon, white-water rafting on the Pacuare river, fishing for your dinner from a panga or ziplining through the rainforest canopy, Puerto Viejo Christmas has got you covered!

Ziplining through the rainforest canopy: it's a thrill you will not forget!

Ziplining through the rainforest canopy: it’s a thrill you will not forget!

A Puerto Viejo Christmas is warm, colourful, tropical and unforgettable! So this Christmas or next, perhaps it’s time for some Barefoot Luxury in Puerto Viejo: A place to make memories.

Feliz Navidad, Puerto Viejo Christmas, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Happy Christmas!

Puerto Viejo is not ‘just’ Puerto Viejo. The region commonly known as Puerto Viejo is actually made up of 6 different neighbourhoods, set along a 16 kilometre (10 mile) stretch of coast. Each neighbourhood has its own character but all have beautiful rainforest backed beaches, so the question could be Puerto Viejo: Where to Stay? Which neighbourhood will suit you?

Well, in general, the further away from Puerto Viejo town you are, the more wildlife you will see and the quieter your surroundings will be. That doesn’t mean though that all restaurants are in Puerto Viejo town: far from it. Some wonderful restaurants are scattered along the entire coast.

So, here’s a brief description of each neighbourhood to help you find just which one suits you.

Playa Negra: 1-2 kilometres (0.6 – 1.25 miles)

The Old Barge at Playa Negra

The Old Barge at Playa Negra

Playa Negra is North of Puerto Viejo and famous for its Black Beach. The distance from town will depend where in Playa Negra you choose to stay. Accommodation options include a couple of beach hotels and various vacation rentals, so if you would like to be out of town and enjoy black sand this may be your spot. With only one bar and one restaurant in Playa Negra, be aware that you’ll probably want to go to town some evenings. Taxis are easily arranged. The photos of it on enjoymexico.net/rentals/cabo-san-lucas/villa-turquesa/ are really something to look at, just don’t do that to your self in the middle of your work year.

Puerto Viejo town:

Shop and Dive Operator in Puerto Viejo

Shop and Dive Operator in Puerto Viejo

If you like plenty of nightlife then choose Puerto Viejo town. Most of the bars, music venues and parties happen here. So, with plenty of cheap accommodation options you can easily walk or bike between ‘happenings’ and use your budget to party! Accommodations can be noisy but this won’t matter if you’re out most nights. Of course most of the shops are also in Puerto Viejo town and there’s a large selection of restaurants. The ATM’s and pharmacies are also only in town plus the majority of tour operators .

Cocles: 2 – 4 kilometres from town. (1.25 – 2.5 miles)

Beach Break & The Island at Cocles Beach

Beach Break & The Island at Cocles Beach

If you’re looking for tranquillity but want to be near Puerto Viejo town, Cocles is the place for you.  The distance again depends on where you choose to stay as Cocles stretches along the coast. Playa Cocles is a long beach and Beach Break is a popular surfing spot, whilst the other end of Playa Cocles has pretty natural tide pools to laze in. There are plenty of accommodation options from hotels to lodges to vacation rentals and some seriously good restaurants. The supermarket in Cocles has all the basics, plus imported goods and an extensive selection of wine and spirits so you can stock up without going to town.

Playa Chiquita: 4 – 6 kilometres from town. (2.5 – 3.75 miles)

 

Late afternoon at Playa Chiquita

Late afternoon at Playa Chiquita

Playa Chiquita is like a little world of its own. Full of expats from every corner of the world, if you need your palm reading, want to know what your tarot cards say, do some reiki or take a yoga retreat, this is your place. Accommodation options are various ranging from small hotels to cabinas to vacation rentals. The supermarket El Duende Gourmet has lots of interesting speciality items and there are a few cute cafes and places to eat.

Punta Uva: 6 – 10 kilometres from town. (3.75 – 6.25 miles)

Arrecife Beach at Punta Uva

Arrecife Beach at Punta Uva

The beaches of Punta Uva are famous and justly so — some would even say that they are amongst the most beautiful in Costa Rica. Swimming and snorkelling are sublime here so if you don’t mind being further from town and want to spend most of your time on the beach, this could be your neighbourhood. It is a quiet jungle neighbourhood with few amenities. Accommodations are mainly vacation rentals and Bed & Breakfasts. With only one or two restaurants or cafes, you may need some transport to visit Playa Chiquita and/or Cocles.

Manzanillo: 16 kilometres from town. (10 miles)

Beach to escape to at Manzanillo

Beach to escape to at Manzanillo

If you want to get way off the beaten track Manzanillo is the place for you. It’s a quiet village although at weekends it becomes full of local families enjoying beach barbecues. The beaches at Manzanillo become prettier and wilder the further you go into the wildlife refuge. Accommodation options are mostly vacation rentals or a few cabinas and there’s a couple of simple places to eat.

So there you have it: Puerto Viejo: Where to Stay. You’ll know by now which neighbourhood appeals to you and they all have their charms. See you soon!

Barefoot Luxury Arrecife beach, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

 

If you’re thinking of Costa Rica in September, you could have the most glorious weather or be in for a deluge of rain — it just depends WHERE you go and on what: kayak, yacht or just on top rated inflatable to feel more free.
The Pacific side in September is Rainy with a capital R.
But here on the Caribbean coast September is DRY and Sunny with calm seas and absolutely gorgeous.

Golden Arrecife beach, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

 

 

 

 
Take a look at the weather patterns in Costa Rica:
http://www.entercostarica.com/travel-guide/when-to-visit-costa-rica/september
As they say:
“The Caribbean side is experiencing the best weather of the year in September. Daytime temperatures are usually in the lower 90s. Rain can occur, but is rare and usually only at night when it does happen.”

Arrecife lunch spot, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

 

 

 

 

 

So if you love to snorkel, dive, sunbathe, swim or all of those, September is THE month to come to the Caribbean coast. With the ocean as calm as a lake, snorkelling and diving come into their own. You can float over ravishing reefs stuffed with tropical fish or dive coral walls and become part of the underwater world.

It’s more beautiful than I can describe — if you’ve never done it you are in for a treat and if you’re an old hand … well you know what I’m talking about. Here on the Caribbean coast you can walk right off the beach and snorkel a coral reef and this is what the beach looks like in September:

 

 

 

 

Apart from wonderful weather you also have the added plus that the school holidays are over…. that means no crowds, just more beach and rainforest to yourself.
And let’s not forget the rainforest: because September is dry and sunny trekking is easy going and there are more chances of great wildlife encounters. So if you’ve never got up close and personal with an agouti or anteater or coati or howler monkey, this could be your chance.
Of course you could also spot wildlife with a zipline through the rainforest canopy or a horseback ride through the jungle and along the beach.

Howler taking a Siesta

Howler taking a Siesta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many fun things to do on this coast and in September the dry weather makes them all easily accessible: what about a Chocolate Tour (with tasting of course) through the rainforest, kayaking through the jungle, dolphin spotting and fishing, a trip into the Talamancan mountains or a leisurely float on Gandoca Lagoon?

Feel the peace of Gandoca lagoon and watch the birds and monkeys in the trees.

Feel the peace of Gandoca lagoon and watch the birds and monkeys in the trees.

Geckoes Lodge is offering Special Discounts beginning 1st September — so just contact us for some super Barefoot Luxury for much less: Time for a some Pura Vida!

Gorgeous Arrecife beach.

Gorgeous Arrecife beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve ever wanted to visit Costa Rica then think September on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica: Dry and Divine!

Golden Arrecife beach, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Golden Arrecife beach at sunset, just minutes from Geckoes Lodge.

So you’re dreaming of getting off the beaten path and forgetting all the trivialities of daily life… it’s time to leave the alarm clock at home along with your shoes, appointments and obligations.

Indoor Outdoor Living at Casa del Bosque, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

Indoor Outdoor Living at Casa del Bosque, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

You’re searching for a place where you can truly relax, leave your watch behind and call time your own. You need some natural beauty and wildlife, perhaps an adventure or two and you don’t want it manicured and presented on a plate.

Take to the saddle and feel the freedom.

Take to the saddle and feel the freedom.

Zipline through the rainforest canopy and spot wildlife.

Zipline through the rainforest canopy and spot wildlife.

Of course there are myriad places to choose, with far too many websites promising you Paradise at a reasonable or even discounted price and you haven’t got the energy to trawl through and what’s more, are they selling what you’re looking for?

Is Puerto Viejo and its sister settlements of Cocles, Playa Chiquita, Punta Uva and Manzanillo on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica the place for you?

Perhaps…

But if a golf course, pool aerobics, room service, shopping malls, theatre, or an all inclusive resort is your idea of the perfect holiday then read no further.

Pareos for sale in Puerto Viejo.

Pareos for sale in Puerto Viejo.

But if you’re looking for a small eclectic beach town laid out along a strip of coast where the rainforest meets the ocean, with an atmosphere so laid back you have no option but to relax and where there’s loads to see and do but also a string of beautiful beaches to do absolutely nothing on, this may be the place for you.

Gorgeous Arrecife beach.

Gorgeous Arrecife beach.

Fosh Tacos delivered to your hammock: Barefoot Luxury!

Fosh Tacos delivered to your hammock: Barefoot Luxury!

Puerto Viejo is not for everyone… there’s a lot of things that it doesn’t have… like the ubiquitous chain restaurants and shops, theatre, cinema, ancient sites and all inclusive resorts.

You may have seen the traditional description of this area with photos of picture postcard beaches of white sand and leaning palm trees, houses in rainbow colours, Afro Caribbean cuisine, restaurants catering to every taste, howler monkeys hanging around in the trees and a sloth casually crossing the road.

Monkey Party at Geckoes Lodge

Monkey Party at Geckoes Lodge

Traditional house in Caribbean colours

Traditional house in Caribbean colours

And possibly you’ve checked out the smorgasbord of activities and trips on offer from the popular zip-lining through the rainforest canopy to surfing, white water rafting, diving, snorkelling, fishing and dolphin watching to organic chocolate tours, Caribbean cooking classes, jungle or beach horseback riding to indigenous tribal visits and so the list goes on.

Surfing at Cocles Beach: Ride those waves!

Surfing at Cocles Beach: Ride those waves!

Barefoot Luxury: Caribeans Chocolate Tour, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Organic Chocolate Tasting is a delicious part of Caribeans Chocolate Tour.

All in all it paints a pretty attractive picture especially when you add the wonderful wildlife spotting of laying leather-back turtles, huge iridescent blue Morpho butterflies, disguised iguanas, technicolour toucans, neon dart frogs, speedy agoutis and fishing pelicans alongside the famous smiling sloths and swinging monkeys.

The ever Smiley Sloth

The ever Smiley Sloth

Pelicans fishing at Gandoca.

Pelicans fishing at Gandoca.

Toucan eating Palm fruit at Geckoes Lodge.

Toucan eating Palm fruit at Geckoes Lodge.

So is it ‘just’ this Caribbean menu that brings visitors back again and again, even those that have sworn to never revisit the same place twice because their Bucket List awaits?

Dart Frog in Geckoes gardens.

Dart Frog in Geckoes gardens.

Maybe…

But maybe it’s all of the above plus something less tangible. After all there are other places in the world that also offer the visitor a menu of entertaining diversions, a glimpse into another way of life and a chance to indulge a Caribbean fantasy.

Puerto Viejo and the surrounding area offer something more that resonates not only with locals and the 46 nationalities that call here home, but also with the most casual of visitors.

Perhaps we could call that ‘extra something’ the sophistication of simplicity.

Less is more: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Less is more: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Imagine a place where many of the superficial pretentious trappings of modern life are stripped away: Where the type of car you drive, the fancy clothing, the type of phone, the size of your house or TV screen or the title you hold at work becomes totally irrelevant.

Where you are simply You.

Rainforest and Ocean at Punta Uva Beach

Rainforest and Ocean at Punta Uva Beach

Where nature is not something you go and visit, but something you live within and are part of. Remember looking up at a sky full of stars and feeling infinitesimal in comparison? In that moment we are aware of the power of nature and our place within it.

Emperadora with Green Tree Frog at Geckoes Lodge

Emperadora with Green Tree Frog at Geckoes Lodge

But the 24/7 world dampens that perception by assigning a place for nature and controlling it, which is probably why so many of us take every chance to escape the frenetic complications of modern life to something simpler, something natural, something that isn’t man made but real.

Feel the peace of Gandoca lagoon and watch the birds and monkeys in the trees.

Feel the peace of Gandoca lagoon and watch the birds and monkeys in the trees.

So is Puerto Viejo all about getting back to nature and relinquishing all your worldly goods?

No, it’s about remembering what it is to derive pleasure from simplicity which affects us all on a deeper level than the often superficial, fleeting pleasure of packaged entertainment. It’s the difference between the thrill of surprise at coming across a troupe of Howler Monkeys as you walk along the beach as opposed to seeing them in a zoo. It’s going to sleep to the sound of cicadas rather than traffic. It’s lying on pale sand with a fish taco whilst watching pelicans swooping and diving for their fish lunch.

Howler taking a Siesta

Howler taking a Siesta

It’s sometimes not being able to get everything you want but having to make do and in so doing finding satisfaction in the same.

We are creative creatures: the more we have delivered without effort, the more entitled we feel and the more bored and demanding we can become. We derive satisfaction from effort and the more developed our world becomes the more we seek the simple pleasures and the rewards they bring.

In that simplicity is the sophistication of perspective. It’s simple wisdom that Puerto Viejo and its sister settlements have in spades: essentially that those quasi sophisticated possessions and preoccupations are nigh meaningless in a natural habitat.

That Less is More.

Someone who has never been here recently asked me,

So, I’m confused, is Puerto Viejo developed or under-developed?”
The answer is, both.
Under-developed in gaudy consumerism, pretensions, entitlement and predictability.
Highly Developed in simple pleasures, which I would argue is the ultimate in sophistication.

Hanging Heliconia in Geckoes gardens.

Hanging Heliconia in Geckoes gardens.

Less is More: Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

Barefoot Luxury at Puerto Viejo beach.

Barefoot Luxury at Puerto Viejo beach.

But don’t take my word for it: Come and see for yourself.

Great news! Soon you can start using cool service Imbrex, that is specialized on real estate data, so you will be able to find anything you interested in. Stay tuned!

Indoor / Outdoor Living has become a hot item in recent years. When I first came to Costa Rica I was entranced by the Indoor / Outdoor living concept.

While we were building Geckoes Lodge, we rented a house nearby and our living and eating space was a large open veranda. I loved feeling as if I was outside with all the comforts of inside! The residential paving surrounding the building gave the impression of a winding forest path which brings you into the comforts of your very own nest. Hummingbirds passed over the table at breakfast and instead of looking out of a window I could touch the bougainvillea and smell the jasmine nearby. It gives a great sense of freedom and your house seems larger and brighter.

So of course once we started designing and building Geckoes Lodge, Indoor / Outdoor Living spaces were a priority. Here’s our living area and yes, the hummingbirds do regular fly throughs!

Casa Geckoe Owners Residence 5

One of the major pluses of Indoor / Outdoor Living is the connection with what’s around you. At Geckoes Lodge we are lucky to be surrounded by a mass of nature and beautiful gardens. With an Indoor / Outdoor living situation the difference between Indoor and Outdoor becomes blurred and so you feel as if you’re part of the whole rather than shut away from it.

Indoor Outdoor Living at Casa Bromelia, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica   Casa Bromelia Dining & Living, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

We chose to enclose the bedrooms and bathrooms for privacy reasons. But we are lucky enough to have lots of space between our houses so when guests are in their open living rooms they still have plenty of privacy.

Some guests are initially concerned about an Indoor / Outdoor living space with regard to bugs, mosquitoes or even a random rainforest critter!

But the reality of Indoor / Outdoor living is that because there is so much openness bugs do not get stuck inside. We have far less problems with mosquitoes here in the rainforest than we did in our house in Holland!

Living area Casa del Bosque Sept 2013

Animals entering the houses has never been an issue. The only culprits are the odd Opossum who may steal a banana in the night. So we just put the fruit away so the Opossums can’t smell it and stay in their own houses.

In this climate Indoor / Outdoor living is sublime… you have shade, breeze and an uninterrupted view of wildlife in stunning rainforest surroundings.

Hammocks & Living area Casa del Bosque Sept 2013

I cannot imagine going back to four walls and windows now. Wherever we end up it will be sure to include a large Indoor / Outdoor living space and I know that will be my favourite space!