If you are planning a trip to Puerto Viejo any time soon, I highly recommend that you buy tickets to the correct Puerto Viejo. Puerto Viejo de Limon is right on the coast, whereas Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui is quite a bit further inland. On Saturday morning around 5:57 am my friend Jennifer and I put two and two together and realized that we had purchased tickets to the wrong Puerto Viejo.
We hopped into a taxi and raced to a different bus station where we quickly bought tickets for the first bus to Puerto Viejo de Limon, at 6:00 am. By our good graces we made it on the bus and departed at 6:08 on the dot. Thank goodness for tico time, right? We thought the bus ride would be about three and a half hours, but it turned out to be more like four and a half. I was tired, sweaty, and hungry when we rolled through Puerto Viejo.
Jennifer was in charge of the guidebook and insisted that we stay on until the last stop in Playa Manzanillo because it was known for its snorkeling. Ten, twenty, thirty minutes went by and there was no beach to be found. We asked our neighbors on the bus where they were headed and much to our surprise they said Panama—the country!
There was nothing to do but wait; however, there was no bus station or taxi awaiting us when we arrived to the border town. Jen and I grimaced and started walking. I tried hitchhiking for the first time. Lots of rejection. I think a hundred cars passed us before one finally stopped. We got a ride to the next bus stop and waited another hour for the bus ride back. Finally, another two an a half hour bus ride later, we made it to Puerto Viejo.
Long story short, next time you want to go somewhere on your own, plan for it ahead! Hitchhiking is not recommended, especially when you are in a place you don’t know! Plus, you will save a lot of time and energy by not getting lost, like Jen and I did. Ask the Veritas staff and your host family for directions and recommendations on how to get to your destination. Stay safe and have fun!