Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is usually called Puerto Viejo. It shouldn't be confused with Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui in northern Costa Rica in the province of Heredia.
Puerto Viejo is the party town of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Before the tourists discovered this wonderful place the people in Puerto Viejo earned a living fishing. The fishermen here have small boats that they pull onto the beach. A few farmers grow cacao and coconuts. When the sun goes down several bars and discos on the beach and in town open their doors. Jam sessions are common and everyone that knows how to play an instrument can join the band. Tourists as well as Costa Ricans from the surrounding villages come to Puerto Viejo to party at night.
Reggae is the music of Puerto Viejo and is the Caribbean of Costa Rica.
At market stands on the streets necklaces and earrings made of shells and handbags made of coconuts are sold. Besides the black population here there are a small number of people that are relatives of the Bribri Indians.
Surfers come to Puerto Viejo to surf Salsa Brava, especially from December until April. This town is the surf capital of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Salsa Brava is only for experienced surfers, it has very powerful waves. Often smaller waves can be surfed in near by Playa Cocles. One can get there form Puerto Viejo by bicycle or car.
People who are worried about the party noise on the weekends should consider a hotel along Playa Negra or somewhere not in the center of town.