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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!

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…

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.

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