Getting There & Departing
By Car: To reach Puerto Viejo, continue south from Cahuita on CR36 for another 16km (10 miles). Watch for a prominent and well-marked fork in the highway. The right-hand fork continues on to Bribri, Sixaola, and the Panamanian border. The left-hand fork (it actually appears to be a straight shot) takes you into Puerto Viejo on 5km (3 miles) of sporadically paved road.
By Bus: Mepe express buses ((tel) 2257-8129 in San José, or 2750-0023 in Puerto Viejo; www.mepecr.com) to Puerto Viejo leave San José daily at 6 and 10am, noon, and 2 and 4pm from the Caribbean terminal (Gran Terminal del Caribe) on Calle Central, Avenida 13. The trip’s duration is 4 1/2 to 5 hours; the fare is C5,450. During peak periods, extra buses are sometimes added. Always ask if the bus is continuing on to Manzanillo (especially helpful if you’re staying in a hotel south of town).
Interbus ((tel) 2283-5573; www.interbusonline.com) has a daily bus that leaves San José for Puerto Viejo at 7:45am. The fare is $47. Interbus buses leave Puerto Viejo daily at 6:30am and 2pm. Interbus will pick you up at most hotels in both San José and Puerto Viejo, and offers connections to various other destinations around Costa Rica.
Alternatively, you can catch a bus to Limón and then transfer to a Puerto Viejo–bound bus in Limón. These latter buses ((tel) 2758-1572) leave roughly every hour between 7am and 4:30pm from the main terminal in Limón. Buses from Limón to Manzanillo also stop in Puerto Viejo and leave daily roughly every two hours between 6:30am and 6:30pm. The trip takes 1 1/2 hours; the fare is C1,800 to Puerto Viejo, and C2,420 to Manzanillo.
If you arrive in Puerto Viejo by bus, be leery of hucksters and touts offering you hotel rooms. In most cases, they work on a small commission from whatever hotel or cabina is hiring, and, in some cases, they’ll steer you away from one of my recommended hotels or falsely claim that it is full.
Express buses leave Puerto Viejo for San José daily at 9 and 11am and 4pm. Buses for Limón leave daily roughly every two hours between 9:30am and 6:30pm. However, this schedule is subject to change, so it’s always best to check with your hotel. Buses to Punta Uva and Manzanillo leave Puerto Viejo about a half-dozen times throughout the day.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.