You will be surprised to discover that on the Caribbean the food can be amazing and we have shared below a few of our favourite spots with you.
At night, if you feel tired after a long day at the beach and you just want to grab a pizza to eat at home, try Pizza Cahuita. They have the best pizza in the area. The pasta is also very good as well as the fresh fish.
Puerto Viejo has our favourite go to places whatever the mood. We absolutely love Bread and Chocolate for breakfast and lunch. Their cocoa delights are made from their very own plantations and the food is a taste of home which one holiday can be a very welcome confort. If you are craving vegan dishes, you cannot get better than Como en mi Casa who's delicious wraps and fresh ginger lemonades take us back again and again. And last but by no means least, to enjoy a nice drink and dinner in a great atmosphere, you cannot miss Koki Beach at Puerto Viejo. You may even be lucky enough to spot the resident sloth who likes to pop in from time to time. The novelty of the moment is the Soca Restaurant, a magnificent place right next the Koki Beach.
Otherwise, if you're a meat lover through and through, on way to Punta Uva or Manzanillo, you can also stop at El Refugio Grill. Fernando, the Argentinian Chef, will prepare by far the best burgers and steaks.
Of course, there are many more restaurants we could recommend but we will let you discover some of them for yourself.
If you decide to come to the Caribbean Coast it is probably because you heard about its amazing beaches and if that is what you're looking for you won't be disappointed. The Caribbean South Coast of Costa Rica has definitely the most beautiful beaches in the country. We have listed here the ones that you cannot miss during your visit.
> Playa Negra is beautiful for its black sand (Volcanic Sand). It's the best spot to surf in Cahuita,
> Playa Blanca, The Beach of Cahuita National Park (White Sand Beach) is absolutely stunning particularly for long walks on its palm tree lined sand banks,
> Punta Cahuita inside the National Park. Best spot for snorkeling. Remember that you will need a guide to snorkel inside the Park; and
> Punta Vargas inside the National Park (our favorite beach - the photos you can check out on the homepage of our website).
On the way to Manzanillo, you have to stop at:
> Cocles, a white sand beach which is great for surfing. Be careful with the dangerous currents,
> Playa Chiquita. A little difficult to access but a nice spot for snorkeling,
> Punta Uva, where the forest edge meets the sea; and
> Arecife. Beautiful beach perfect for experienced snorkelers.
It's hard to list all the things you will be able to see when you visit Cahuita. The hot and humid climate of the Caribbean is an incubator for exotic and diverse species. The most emblematic animal of the region is the sloth, which is often found in the strangest of places. But it's far from stealing the show with a myriad of birdlife, butterflies, monkeys, lizards, insects, frogs presenting strong competition. The flora is also spectacular. The tropical plants have an amazing variety of colors and shapes. All this magnificent nature can be discovered just whilst taking a walk in the gardens of Lilan Nature, or at the beach, by visiting the National Park or even during lunch at a local restaurant.
To discover more about the wildlife, here is a selection of things to do :
> Cahuita National Park. The park is one of the most beautiful and easy parks to do as a family in Costa Rica. If you enter by Cahuita, the entrance fee is a donation. If it's your first time in a Park, we recommend you go with a guide whose expert eye will help you spot the animals in their natural habitat.
> Tortuguero canal : Take a boat and discover the wild beauty of the nature. It's our own little Amazonian river. A unique experience. Depending on your budget, this activity can be organised directly in Moín (North of Limon) or by a tour operator in Cahuita.
> Gandoca Manzanillo National Park. At the most Southern point of the Caribbean coast, this park is known for his winding natural creeks. There have even been films shot here that depicting prehistoric Dinosaurs. If you do it by boat, you might even be lucky enough to see dolphins.
Even if we prefer to see animals in the wild and not in captivity, there are the 2 animals sanctuaries that we recommend for their dedication to saving injured animals:
The Caribbean is not only rich in nature and divers beaches but also in afro Caribbean culture, omnipresent in the area; you can feel and smell it everywhere you go. Calypso and reggae are played in all the local beach side bars. The father of the calypso, Walter Ferguson, stills live in Cahuita at the age of XX and his music has become the backbone of the local culture.
The mix of culture between afro Caribbean, Talamanca indigenous, European and American gives a unique feel to the East coast unlike any other in Costa Rica.
Here are a few things we recommend to give you a flavour of local culture:
> Talamanca Indigenous Reserve. A good way to approach and see how the pre Columbian indigenous people of Talamanca live; their traditions, natural medicines and beliefs.
> Cocoa Tour. The cocoa farmers in Costa Rica spent a good many years enjoyed the fruits of their plantations before the Monilia desease (a fungus) wiped out the industry in the '70s. For the past 10 years, many passionate people like us at Lilan Nature try to reinvigorate old plantations and bring back the culture of cocoa in Talamanca. One of the most successful in their efforts has been Daniel, the Pastry Chef of Bread and Chocolate (Puerto Viejo). We loved to discover his farm and his passion.
> The traditional indigenous medicine in Hone Creek (Finca Inti). If you are looking to learn more about the power of the local plant species, this is the place to stop. The knowledge of this traditional Shaman is just impressive. We remember having been there with one of our guest suffering for many years of skin problems on her hands. All the Western treatments she had tried seemed to fail. The Shaman prepared a cream with plants that our Guest informed us had worked (one month after returning home).