Beaches Nearby Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica
On our last day in Puerto Viejo we decided to rent some bikes to explore the several beaches along the 7.5 miles of coastal road stretching from Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo. There are four well known beaches dotted along route 256, each offering something a little different from one another. Playa Cocles is the first beach you come to and is known as the spot for surfing, but you can also swim here and the beach is plenty wide enough for everyone to enjoy! Playa Chiquita is the birthplace of Chiquita bananas and is where all of the Chiquita bananas are grown. It's like a banana forest right on the beach! Just kidding :) we didn't get a chance to visit this beach so that is just how I pictured it. Playa Chiquita is a beach that is known as a secluded spot great for relaxing and soaking up the sun. Punta Uva is located close to the point that is along the road and offers the calmest waters of all the beaches perfect for swimming. Lastly, Playa Grande is quite obviously the largest beach of the bunch and is also a quiet beach being at the end of the road where not many venture. One thing all of the beaches have in common is a tropical tree lined backdrop, soft blond sand, and incredibly clear water.
We chose to ride all the way to Playa Grande at the end of the road, by Manzanillo, so we could take our time soaking up the sun at each beach on the way back. The road is very flat and easy ride up to around Punta Uva (third beach) which is about a 4.5 mile ride. Beyond Punta Uva there are a few hills that will get your heart pumping before arriving at Playa Grande in Manzanillo. We have listed the beaches below in the order that you would pass them biking from Puerto Viejo to Manzillo.
These pictures make me look like a pro........ watch the video for the real story
The first beach you encounter setting out from Puerto Viejo is Playa Cocles which is known as the surfer beach, but you can also swim here and boogie board (bodyboard). They have surfboard and boogie board rentals right on the beach for a fair price (about $6 an hour). After our surfing lessons in Hawaii Bryan has been itching to get another chance to go surfing. Lauren decided after surfing in Hawaii that boogie boarding was her sport. In Hawaii we were on constant alert for the strong rip tide, shallow coral, and rocks which would all equally ruin your day if you lost control of your board. Unlike Hawaii, the only danger when surfing here are the waves punishing you. We rented a surfboard and a boogie board for an hour and both had a blast! We even got some video of our surfing and boogie boarding adventure with our GoPro. At the end of this post we have also gratuitously provided you with embarrassing blooper reel footage from our mishaps at the beaches, we hope your enjoy :).
The second beach you come across does not jump out to you because the only way to Playa Chiquita is to eat a banana and slip and slide your way to the beach on the peel. No but really you do have to find one of the several narrow trails leading from route 256 towards the beach. We cannot say where exactly to find one of the trails or how long of a walk it is because we did not have the time to visit this beach, but it appears to be only a five to ten minute walk. This beach is known as a nice quiet beach for soaking up the sun and is also good for swimming as it is a series of several small bays. We skipped this beach only because we wanted to get back to Cocles for some surfing before it got too late, but from what we heard it sounded like it is worth checking out of you have the time.
Playa Punta Uva
The third beach, and perhaps our favorite for swimming is Punta Uva which is a short ride or walk down a gravel road from route 256. We also noticed several people standing at the end of the gravel road apparently waiting for the bus so that is another option for getting to and from these beaches if you do not wish to bike. However, we do recommend to check the bus schedule because while biking we did not see hardly any buses pass by so it did not appear to us that they run very frequently.
Punta Uva has some of the calmest water we found and also had some small areas of reef where we saw others snorkeling. While we were enjoying ourselves floating in the placid water a coconut floated on up to us. How great is that? You don't even need to bring a football or frisbee to the beaches here, nature will provide. So we had a rousing game of toss the floating coconut before relaxing on the beach.
Playa Grande - Manzanillo
It took us about an hour on the bikes to arrived at the furthest beach, Playa Grande in Manzanillo, aptly named as it is the largest beach in the area stretching over 2 miles in length. We chose not to stay very long at th section of the beach by Manzanillo only because the water did not look very inviting for a swim and we could see what looked to be clearer and calmer water about a mile down the beach towards the point by Punta Uva. The section of Playa Grande along Manzanillo was a very tranquil beach with some restaurants nearby in the town. However, in all honesty this section of Playa Grande we could have skipped as the prior beaches mentioned have clearer water and prettier shorelines.
If you are determined to check out Playa Grande we recommend the northern end of the beach towards Punta Uva which is where we headed in search of the clearer and calmer waters we saw on the horizon. There is a gravel road leading from route 256 that takes you to the northern end of the beach which is very secluded and offers shallow and clear water to soak it all in. We only saw a few people at this end of the beach and saw way too much of one person, it must have been her birthday or something...
When you are done soaking in the sun at this spot don't turn back down the gravel road to route 256 there is no need! You can continue to Punta Uva just around the corner along a sandy and narrow road that parallels the coast line. By going this route to Punta Uva you get to see some of the coral reef through the crystal clear waters while walking around the point to the beach and swimming areas.