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If your traditional Christmas is cold and grey and wrapped up in wool, have you ever thought about splashing out and taking a Caribbean Christmas with your toes in the ocean instead of socks?

Caribbean Christmas starts here

Caribbean Christmas starts here

Here on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, Caribbean Christmas is anything but traditional and that’s the fun of it. Sure, if you absolutely must have turkey and all the trimmings you can find it but you might choose a sea fresh lobster instead for your Caribbean Christmas Dinner.  And you may put yourself under a decorated Christmas palm tree with a mojito — no wool clothing required.

Christmas at Casa Bromelia at Caribbean Christmas at Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Barefoot Luxury Christmas at Casa Bromelia, Geckoes Lodge

I’ve always loved the Caribbean Christmas — what’s not to like about strolling through Puerto Viejo decorated for the festivities stopping for a pina colada and watching the pelicans diving for fish, instead of having to rush home to warm your freezing feet?

Pelicans diving at Caribbean Christmas, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Pelicans fishing in Caribbean Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo really lives up at Christmas with live music adding atmosphere to beach bars selling Christmas Caribbean cocktails and restaurants offering special tropical menus to happy (warm!) visitors.

Happy Warm Christmas!

Happy Warm Christmas!

Costa Rica loves Christmas and Ticos begin by preparing their festive tamales whilst swathing their Caribbean coloured houses in lights and decorations.

Making tamales for Christmas in Costa Rica

Making tamales for Christmas in Costa Rica

Tamales completed for Christmas eve in Costa Rica

Tamales completed for Christmas eve in Costa Rica

House in Puerto Viejo well and truly decorated

House in Puerto Viejo well and truly decorated

There’s also many Nativity scenes throughout the country, both at private houses and public buildings and enactments of the Nativity.

Nativity Scene, Costa Rica

Nativity Scene, Costa Rica

Live Nativity Scene, Costa Rica

Live Nativity Scene, Costa Rica

Christmas in Costa Rica is a vibrant celebration with music, dance festivals, street fairs and parades. One of the most famous parades is El Tope, a horseback parade with magnificent horses and riders dressed in their finest: a gorgeous sight!

Detail of El Tope

Detail of El Tope

So if you’re feeling like a change this year, need to escape the stress, get off the beaten path and immerse yourself in Barefoot Luxury, your Caribbean Christmas awaits!

Caribbean Costa Rica coast line

Caribbean Costa Rica coast line

Just add a mojito...

Just add a mojito…

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

 

So it’s September and one of the best things to do this month is Snorkeling in Puerto Viejo. In September, the seas are calm, the weather is dry and it’s the perfect time to strap on that snorkel and glide over those coral reefs!

Put yourself in another world!

Put yourself in another world!

Puerto Viejo and Cahuita have some great snorkeling spots and whether you choose to take a boat trip to an outer reef or simply snorkel from the beach, in the calm ocean of September you’ll be rewarded with good visibility and plenty to look at.

Snorkeling at Cahuita National Park

Snorkeling at Cahuita National Park

You don’t need to bring your own snorkel, mask or fins as they are readily available for rent right here in Puerto Viejo. Plenty of the tour agencies offer great tours and even if you’ve never snorkeled before, don’t worry, they’ll have you snorkeling like a professional within minutes! Have a look at the end of this post to see a list of places that offer snorkeling tours.

Snorkeling in Puerto Viejo is usually pretty and often really exciting because who knows when you’re going to spot a great big starfish, a lion fish or see a turtle glide past?

Gorgeous Starfish

Gorgeous Starfish

The spectacular Lionfish

The spectacular Lionfish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to get a little practice in first and just snorkel off the beach, head down to Arrecife beach in Punta Uva, which apart from having a good reef not far offshore is also one of the most beautiful beaches on this coast.

Snorkeling off Arrecife Beach

Snorkeling off Arrecife Beach

So if you’re around this coast in September or October and thinking of things to do, snorkeling in Puerto Viejo should be high on your list!

Snorkel gear for rent: Things to Do: Snorkeling in Puerto Viejo

Snorkel Tours:
http://www.puertoviejosatellite.com/tour-detail.php?tid=expcahhttp://www.wahoofishingtours.com/our-tours/dolphin-snorkeling-sightseeing-tours/
http://geckotrail.com/en/tours/dolphin-watching-and-snorkeling/
http://www.spanishatlocations.com/spanish-school-locations/costa-rica/our-spanish-school-in-puerto-viejo/excursions/  (Learn Spanish too!)
http://tourspuertoviejo.com/snorkeling_tour_cahuita_national_park.html
http://terraventuras.com/tours/
http://www.exploradoresoutdoors.com/caribean-tours.html
http://www.reefrunnerdivers.com/dolphintours.htm

 

So, here you are in Puerto Viejo and for a change it’s a cloudy day… you feel like getting out and about… but where’s an interesting and scenic place to go? One of my favourite things to do is to take a drive into the Talamancan mountains.

A creek in the Talamancan mountains

A creek in the Talamancan mountains

Suddenly you are in a different world. Towering tracts of rainforest with waterfalls tumbling between the greenery, rivers flowing over massive stones, indigenous Costa Ricans tending their fincas, children playing with a balloon and stacks of bananas along the road awaiting collection.

The pleasure of a red balloon: Children in Talamancan mountain village

The pleasure of a red balloon: Children in Talamancan mountain village

Bananas awaiting collection, Talamancan Mountains.

Bananas awaiting collection, Talamancan Mountains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Depending on the route you take (don’t worry, we’ll make sure you don’t get lost: Tom is an ace map maker!) you may follow the road along the Sixaola river and see the mountains of Panama on the other bank.

Sixaola River bordering Panama.

Sixaola River bordering Panama.

The Talamancan Mountain range is the highest and wildest mountain range in the whole of Central America. It extends along the border between Panama and Costa Rica and is one of the region’s most important conservation areas. It’s of global significance apart from being beautiful! Read more about it here: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/205 Things to Do: Drive into the Talamancan Mountains

On your way along the Sixaola river you’re sure to see the banana transport before you climb into the foothills of the Talamancan mountain range. If you’re lucky you may happen on a fair taking place in one of the indigenous settlements.

Transporting Bananas

Transporting Bananas

 

 

On their way to your supermarkets!

On their way to your supermarkets!

Local Fair in Suretka in the Talamancan mountains.

Local Fair in Suretka in the Talamancan mountains.

But whatever day it is you can be assured of beautiful views, wonderful photographic opportunities and of course the fun adventure of getting off the beaten track.

Small Finca in the Talamancan Mountains

Small Finca in the Talamancan Mountains

On the way to Bribri

On the way to Bribri

When I’m travelling I am often just as fascinated by all the daily activities going on around me as by the ‘must see’ famous sights. If you also enjoy the simple pleasure of experiencing a culture completely different from your own, then don’t miss a trip to Bribri when you’re next in this area.

Bribri Children

Bribri Children

Bribri is the name of an important indigenous tribe of Talamanca (one of the six counties of Limon province) and also the name of a town. Although Bribri is officially a city due to it’s status as a municipality, complete with Mayor, when you visit you’ll feel as if you’re in a small village.

Traditional House on the way to Bribri

Traditional House on the way to Bribri

So what’s so special about Bribri? Well to me, it’s fascinating because it is the complete opposite of Puerto Viejo. Completely lacking in any ‘touristy feel’ Bribri is always humming with lots of indigenous people doing their weekly shopping, going to computer classes, getting things done at the municipality, having a haircut, meeting up with friends and perhaps buying a dress for a special occasion.

Barber Shop in Bribri

Barber Shop in Bribri

Fruit Snack Stall, Bribri

Fruit Snack Stall, Bribri

 

 

Computer School, Bribri

Computer School, Bribri

 

 

Farmer shopping in Bribri

Farmer shopping in Bribri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Party Dresses in Bribri

Party Dresses in Bribri

To get to Bribri you can take the bus from Puerto Viejo (takes about 30 minutes) or, if you’re driving choose the more scenic route along the Sixaola river which borders Panama. So pretty! Whichever route you take, along the way you’ll see traditional houses and Bribri children playing. It’s off the beaten track certainly and that’s something I always find interesting. It is the other face of Talamanca and as much a part of life in Caribbean Costa Rica as Puerto Viejo and the entire coast.

Shop front in Bribri

Shop front in Bribri

 

Football kit wash day on the way to Bribri

Football kit wash day on the way to Bribri

So when you’re on the Caribbean coast, if you want to see the other side of life here, take a trip to Bribri for the morning or afternoon, eat a great lunch of fried chicken at El Refugio, wander around and watch daily Talamancan life unfolding. It’s not on everyone’s Things to Do list —  maybe that’s why a Trip to Bribri has a charm of its own.

The place to buy your Alka Seltzer, on the way to Bribri.

The place to buy your Alka Seltzer, on the way to Bribri.

 

 

OK, you’re right — maybe I cannot really title such a blog Things to Do: Swimming with Pelicans. But then actually why not? It’s free, no organisation needed but fun and wonder guaranteed.

Of course there is no guarantee that you will find a pelican or two to swim with — but you might. Over our years here I’ve often found myself in very close proximity with these gorgeous and impressive birds. Usually I don’t have a camera with me… but the close up shots I got below were taken standing knee deep in the sea and yes you guessed it: swimming with pelicans.

Swimming with Pelicans at Punta Uva beach

Swimming with Pelicans at Punta Uva beach

They are not very scared of people and after fishing they land with a splash in the sea close to shore where they relax, bobbing up and down. When I see that, I take my chance and slowly swim or wade towards them. They eye me up a little suspiciously but stay put in their bobbing position and only if I get within a metre of them do they take off and land a few metres further away.

Pelican resting after fishing

Pelican resting after fishing

Have you seen pelicans fishing? When I’m not swimming with them I sit on the beach and watch them swooping and diving: they are so elegant! They can skim a wave with only millimetres between them and the breaking wave: ace flyers they certainly are. Look at these two doing just that:

Skimming the waves

Skimming the waves

Pelicans fishing at Gandoca

Pelicans fishing at Gandoca

I know there are loads of ‘official’ things to do on this coast and you could fill several weeks of being engrossed with one activity or another on daily basis without finishing ‘the list’ but some of my favourite things to do here are those rather more unorthodox fun things… and swimming with pelicans is a thrill.

Pelican Flyover at Playa Grande

Pelican Flyover at Playa Grande

So when you’re thinking of Things to Do in this area don’t forget to go down to Punta Uva, one of the best beaches for swimming with pelicans. If like me, you enjoy some of the simpler and more unorthodox things in life, you may find getting up close and personal with a pelican may be just as thrilling as I think it is!

Apart from enjoying the spectacular beaches and ravishing rainforest and all the wildlife, did you know there are loads of Things to Do on this coast?

Sized ziplining 1 Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Ziplining is the number 1 activity / Trip / Tour in Puerto Viejo — so don’t miss it!

Terraventuras run this successful tour in Puerto Viejo with a good deal of professionalism and a whole lot of fun. Just call them or drop into their office in Puerto Viejo and you could be ziplining through the canopy the following day.

Take a look here:

Is it for You?

If, like me, you don’t really enjoy heights and feel drawn to the edge of anything elevated, you might be thinking ‘well that’s one activity that’s really not for me’. But don’t decide against it just yet…

Sized Ziplining 2 Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

The Terraventuras  team ( www.terraventuras.com ) are not only very good at what they do, they’re reassuring too! If you are initially scared (because after a zipline or two you’ll be having a great time) one of the team will zipline with you until you feel confident enough to go it alone.

The first time I went with my nieces and nephew I had a LOT of misgivings. Standing on the first platform after the instructions and safety briefing, I thought to myself ?I must be crazy — what the hell am I doing here?’ By the end of the tour I wanted to go and do it all over again — it was such a thrill.

Sized Ziplining 3 Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

So what’s it like?

Apart from being fun and more thrilling than the best fairground ride, I thought Ziplining was also incredibly beautiful. To be high up in the canopy is to have a birds-eye view and that is simply gorgeous. Suddenly you have a different perspective and see the rainforest up close and from above. It’s stunning.

Also you never know what bird or animal life you’re going to see from either the platform or as you zip along the wire. Sightings of sloths, monkeys, toucans, iguanas and agoutis are not unusual.

Sized Ziplining 5 Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Walking between the platforms is also lovely and something that is rarely mentioned in reviews or articles about ziplining. Those brief walks between platforms are a great plus because there you are, immersed in the rainforest — it’s a botanical treat.

So if you want to get up close and personal with the rainforest try it : Go Ziplining!

Sized Ziplining 6 Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica geckoeslodge.com

On my Things to Do list in Puerto Viejo ziplining would certainly be very close to the top.

Pura Vida!

Barefoot Luxury for Much Less in May & June 2015!

Barefoot Luxury for Much Less in May & June 2015

If you’re looking for Costa Rica Vacation Deals 2015 you’re reading the right blog…
Out of season there are plenty of Costa Rica Vacation deals. Hotels, Cabinas, Vacation rentals and Lodges often lower their prices in May & June before the summer high season.

Catch some Caribbean sun with Costa Rica Vacation Deals 2015.

Catch some Caribbean sun with Costa Rica Vacation Deals 2015.

So why not take advantage of all that Costa Rica has to offer and grab yourself a holiday/ vacation for much less?
At Geckoes Lodge we’re offering Casa Bromelia in May and June 2015 for US$226 per night instead of US$335 — so you save US$109 per Night.
That’s a bargain Costa Rica Vacation Deal 2015 when you think that Casa Bromelia at Geckoes sleeps 4 guests: so each guest is only paying US$56.50 per night.
And for your US$56.50 per person you get an entire fully equipped luxury villa with private plunge pool, housekeeping and taxes all included.
It’s Barefoot Luxury for MUCH less.

Cocktails by your private plunge pool while the barbecue cooks dinner.

Cocktails by your private plunge pool while the barbecue cooks dinner.

If you’re in the mood for Romance in May and June 2015 think about Casa del Bosque for just 2 guests at Geckoes Lodge. Instead of US$285 per night, catch a bargain with a Costa Rica Vacation Deal 2015 at US$170 — save US$115 per Night.
Yes, you could vacation in Barefoot Luxury at Casa del Bosque for 7 nights for US$1100, a saving of US$610 — You’re welcome.
Casa del Bosque is wonderfully romantic: a fully equipped luxury villa with private plunge pool, set against a beautiful rainforest backdrop, secluded yet close to all the beaches and loads of restaurants.

Romantic Barefoot Luxury at Casa del Bosque, Geckoes Lodge.

Romantic Barefoot Luxury at Casa del Bosque, Geckoes Lodge.

Indulge in romantic luxury for less with Costa Rica Vacation Deals 2015!

Indulge in romantic luxury for less with Costa Rica Vacation Deals 2015

The Caribbean coast in May and June is quiet and that means that you have more beach to yourself, less crowded trips/tours and plenty of opportunity to sample any restaurant you choose.

Gorgeous Arrecife beach. Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

And not only that… rental car companies and tour operators are also quieter so you can probably make a better deal than in busier seasons.

Going for a Vacation Rental Deal in Costa Rica could be one of the better decisions you make this year!

Toucan in the garden May 2014 crop
Time to get back to the Jungle: Time for a Wildlife Week

Time to get back to the Jungle: Time for a Wildlife Week

Need to put some Wild in your Life?
When you’re planning your next holiday or vacation have a think about a Wildlife Week or two at Geckoes Lodge!

When we first arrived in Puerto Viejo, one of the greatest pleasures was the variety and amount of wildlife around us. That remains a daily joy and every morning I breakfast with the toucans in Geckoes garden. I laugh at the Howler monkeys who pelt me with miniature figs and Agnes, our resident Agouti hangs around near the kitchen eating fruit scraps.

Monkey Party at Geckoes Lodge

Monkey Party at Geckoes Lodge

Caribbean Costa Rica is not only famous for spectacular beaches and great tracts of rainforest but also for loads of wildlife. Think Howler Monkeys, Sloths, Agoutis, Night Monkeys, Armadillos and of course a plethora of birds and butterflies.

Agnes, Geckoes Lodge resident Agouti

Agnes, Geckoes Lodge resident Agouti

The Caribbean coast is simply the best place in Costa Rica to see a variety of wildlife without giving up comfortable places to stay, great restaurants and jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches.

Gorgeous Arrecife beach. Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Imagine a week or two where you can live a different Caribbean wildlife adventure each day and every day see something new and fascinating. We’ve put together a Wildlife Week Menu with choices to suit every age and inclination. There’s more than enough to see and do on this coast — if you want a different wildlife experience per day, no problem! In fact a Wildlife Week may not be long enough — you could fill a couple of weeks and still not see it all.

Toucan eating Palm fruit, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Have a look at our Wildlife Week Menu:

http://www.geckoeslodge.com/wildlife-week/

Of course anyone even thinking of coming to this coast are wildlife enthusiasts but kids universally love it! In today’s world where daily life is full of technology, a Family Wildlife Week gives you all the chance to unplug and have fun together in amazing rainforest and on incredible beaches.

Ziplining through the canopy Puerto Viejo, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Staying a Geckoes Lodge you are surrounded by wildlife and our rainforest villas are designed to make viewing easy and luxurious… you can simply wildlife spot from your plunge pool, hammocks, living area, kitchen and even your bathroom or bed!

Casa Bromelia 2 bedroom house Plunge pool, terrace & Outdoor dining

A Wildlife Week can be just the antidote to the concrete jungle and you’ll return home with not only thousands of photos but great memories. Make your life a little more Wild today — plan a Wildlife Week at Geckoes Lodge and get back to nature 🙂

Pelicans fishing at Gandoca

Here's looking at you Senor Howler

Here’s looking at you Senor Howler

Most of us equate the Caribbean with breathtaking beaches, tropical cocktails at sunset and dinner on a balmy veranda with a hibiscus tucked behind one ear. It’s a glamorous destination and who hasn’t dreamed of being there? But most of us think we can’t afford it and carry on dreaming.

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

However, here is the good news. There is a Caribbean which has it all without the hefty price tag. The east coast of Costa Rica, or the ‘rich coast’ as coined by Columbus, is The Affordable Caribbean Vacation.

The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, with Puerto Viejo village as its centre, remains untouched by the larger developers, a bonus if you value originality and personal service. While the tourist majority flock to the resorts on the west coast, small scale development on this coast means more beach to yourself and more rainforest.

Toucan in the garden May 2014 crop  He looks comfy! at Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

And oh, what rainforest… this is the Caribbean experience gone wild. Imagine the archetypal image of the Garden of Eden and you’re coming close. We’re not talking a few tropical plants and trees with manicured lawns. This is a cornucopia of botany with metre-long flowers and trees that drip Tarzan vines, running parallel to the coast and at points even dipping into the ocean. A stunning backdrop to any beach even without adding the inhabitants. But there they are to complete your picture… the howler monkeys, sloths, toucans, parrots and the magnificent Blue Morpho butterfly are just a few frequently seen from a beach towel.

3 Wise Monkeys at Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica  Great Egret at Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

A strip of coastline stretching to the border of Panama, Costa Rica’s east coast also has everything you expect from the traditional Caribbean experience: palm-fringed white sandy beaches with azure seas to snorkel, dive or just laze around in, restaurants with a variety of cuisines for seaside dining and eclectic villages to stroll around, each with their own characters and tropical colours.

Barefoot luxury, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica   A Caribbean picture at Arrecife beach,  Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

If such hedonism begins to pall there is an array of activities on offer … horseback riding along rainforest trails or the ocean, dolphin watching followed by a Snapper fish supper, a canopy tour to view the rainforest at monkey level, white-water rafting the Rio Pacuare for an adrenaline rush, or learning to surf the world-famous Salsa Brava … and that’s all just for starters.

Ziplining through the canopy Puerto Viejo, Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica  Pura Vida Arrecife beach, Geckoes Lodge Puerto Viejo Costa Rica

If you’re feeling less energetic try the Sloth rescue sanctuary, a Chocolate tour (with tasting of course), getting up close and personal with spectacular butterflies at the Mariposario, being dazzled with tropical flowers at the Botanical garden, or being pampered completely at the ‘Pure Jungle’ spa. And of course there’s always the option of just lying in your hammock watching the toucans over the top of your book.

Hanging Heliconia at Geckoes Lodge, Cocles, Puerto Viejo, Limon, Costa Rica Huge Old Fig tree at Geckoes LodgeWhatever you choose to do on whatever day of the year you can be sure that you won’t be one of the masses. What you won’t find on this coast are crowds, tour buses and large groups. Even many renowned guidebooks and websites concentrate exclusively on the other coast so that most have no idea that the Caribbean coast has its own micro climate. With no distinct dry or wet season and hurricane-free, this coast has an average temperature of 27 degrees C and the sun shines most days of the year. Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is still a secret to many and maybe that’s the best news of all.

Surfing at Cocles Beach, Geckoes Lodge, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica  Gandoca Lagoon Talamanca

Puerto Viejo and the hamlets of Cocles, Playa Chiquita, Punta Uva and Manzanillo are dotted within a few minutes of each other along this coast and offer numerous accommodation options. Whether you fancy a hammock at Rocking J’s, a thatched cabana at Costa de Papito, a wood house at Finca Chica, a beach suite at Tree House or a luxurious villa with your own private plunge pool at Geckoes Lodge, there are choices to suit your style and budget.

So the next time you dream Caribbean, Dream Costa Rica Caribbean.