The national Parks around Puerto Viejo
Where do you still have white beaches all for yourself? In Costa Rica. While the Pacific coast is already very crowded, you still find lonely bays on the eastern side of the country. Moreover, the nature there is also a part of various national parks. Near the border to Panama are two of them around Puerto Viejo, the biggest city in that region. One in the north of it starting in Cahuita and one in the south in Manzanillo. Both do not have regular fees and require a donation, which was surprisingly because most of the parks have high ticket prices for foreign tourists. My recommendation are 10 Dollars per person. We firstly visited the Cahuita National park and did a 10 kilometres hike from Cahuita to the exit in Puerto Vargas. We went along the beach for 2 kilometres, where a local guide joined us, who we met in the park. His tour was about 90 minutes and costed 20 000 Colons for the entire group. He spoke a mix of Spanish; English and German with us and showed us some slots, reptiles and birds, which we would have never seen. After these 2 kilometres we had to cross the first river. The whole trail went along the beach and there was one more river to cross. From the rangers´ station in Puerto Vargas we walked on wooden crates for two kilometres back to the main street from where a bus goes to Cahuita or sometimes there are taxis. During our visit in Manzanillo it was super rainy so we were not able to hike a lot but the small part we saw was already amazing. After one kilometre there was a viewing platform up on a cliff and some great rock formations in the sea. Technically the beaches there would be great for swimming or at least bathing but the weather did not make it possible for us to try it. If you are looking for a restaurant, I highly recommend a place called Tamara. They have typical food like rice and beans, which is made with coconut milk in the province Limón. To see more sides of Costa Rica you also have to visit the Caribbean coast, even if a lot of people tell you not to. Moreover, this part is still not very touristic and especially in the rainy season it might be possible to enjoy some places alone.