Discover the waterfalls in Portland, Jamaica

Discover the waterfalls in Portland, Jamaica

Waterfalls in Portland

JAMAICA

7 magnificent waterfalls in Jamaica

Portland, one of my top picks among Jamaica’s parishes, stands out for its gorgeous beaches and abundant array of mesmerizing waterfalls. What sets Portland’s waterfalls apart? Here, you’ll discover some of the most captivating waterfalls in all of Jamaica, with the added thrill of being able to hike and uncover hidden gems off the beaten path.

I usually come to Portland after spending some weeks in Kingston. Unlike Negril or Montego Bay,  you will find plenty of extremely charming and beautiful locally-owned accommodations. Many of them are set amidst nature, allowing you to immerse yourself completely in nature. 

Somerset Falls

Somerset Falls in Portland Parish, Jamaica, offers a unique experience with its bamboo rafts and hidden caves. It’s a magical place to unwind and embrace the island’s beauty.

The hike to the falls is relatively short and manageable, taking you through lush vegetation and serene surroundings. Wear comfortable walking shoes with good grip, as some sections of the trail can be slippery. The hike’s highlight is exploring a hidden cave behind the cascading waterfalls, so be prepared to get a little wet. The natural beauty of the falls and the cool mist that envelops you make the hike entirely worth it. Remember to bring your swimsuit, as you can take a refreshing dip in the clear blue pools at the base of the falls. 

Last time, I visited Jamaica, Somerset Falls have been dreid up. Make sure to check before or come during rainy season from october to March!

Facilities at Somerset Falls

You’ll find changing facilities, a restaurant, and guided tours to enhance your visit. 

Entrance fees for Somerset Falls

Entrance fees are $15 USD per person. 

How to get to Summerset Falls?

To reach Somerset Falls, head east from Port Antonio and follow the signs. It was quite busy during the afternoon and almost deserted during the early morning. 

Natural Pools at Reach Falls, jamaica

Reach Falls

Reach Falls grace the picturesque Driver’s River with a series of enchanting cascades. What makes Reach Falls truly special is its underwater cave system. Dive into emerald pools and feel the soothing rush of the falls. There are actually two Falls, and most tours only visit the first one. Hiking up to the second one is totally worth the hike! The views are beautiful! The park is home to over 23 different kinds of fern and various birds.

 Along the way from Port Antonio, you’ll come to a fork in the road, where a local guide may approach you and inquire about your preference between visiting the government-owned section of Reach Falls or the locally-owned portion of the falls. Opting for the local tour means you won’t have access to the government-owned side of the falls, where the tallest waterfall is situated. However, rest assured that you’ll still be able to glimpse it. Not only to you support the local community, but you will also get access to a much less crowded part of the park. 

Like many other waterfalls in Jamaica, Reach Falls was initially stumbled upon centuries ago by courageous runaway enslaved seeking sanctuary. 

Amenities at Reach Falls

Reach Falls is a must-visit with amenities like picnic areas, guides to navigate the caves, and a gift shop to take home a piece of the magic. Entrance fees typically range from $10 to $15 USD per person, depending on your age and residency status. To get here, head east from Port Antonio and follow the signs.

How to get to Reach Falls?

Take your own driver or join a tour from anywhere in Portland. Reach Falls is located approximately an hour’s drive from Port Antonio’s city center.

Frenchman’s Cove is a little paradise in Port Antonio, Jamaica. Frenchman’s Cove is a small beach with pristine sand and the bluest water breaks. The area mixes fresh and salt to make an enticing natural pool on one side with beautiful colors ranging from Blue to Green! Pay attention: as you walk from the entrance to the beach, you’ll notice that the trees have little signs. Frenchman’s Cove is the perfect place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. The entrance fee is only $10, and a restaurant is on site. However, the food is only so-so.

Nanny Falls

Similar to other waterfalls in Jamaica, Nanny Falls bore a deep significance in the area of enslavement. 

Named in honor of Nanny of the Maroons, a legendary Jamaican national heroine, this waterfall serves as a reminder of her indomitable spirit and the enduring legacy she left behind. Nanny was a fearless leader of the Maroons, a group of escaped slaves who fought against British oppression in the 18th century. She sought refuge in the lush, rugged terrain of the Rio Grande Valley, where Nanny Falls now stands as a testament to her bravery and the Maroon community’s resilience. 

Moore Town

I highly recommend visiting Moore Town to learn more about the Maroon culture in Jamaica. Founded by Nanny of the Maroons and her followers in the 18th century, Moore Town is one of Jamaica’s last remaining Maroon communities. While Moore Town may be off the beaten path, the journey to this cultural enclave is worth the effort. 

Immerse yourself in the rich Maroon culture, which includes learning about their traditional music, dance, and cuisine. The town’s residents are warm and welcoming, often sharing stories and insights into their ancestors’ struggles and triumphs. 

A must-visit attraction is the Moore Town Maroon Museum, where artifacts and exhibits vividly depict the Maroons’ history and their unique way of life. It allows you to connect with Jamaica’s past, experience its vibrant present, and appreciate the stunning natural landscapes that make Portland a true paradise for those seeking authenticity and adventure.

Amnesties at Nanny Falls

There are no amnesties at Nanny Falls. Make sure to bring snacks and drinks!

Nanny Falls Entrance Fees

You have to take a local guide with you. The costs are $2000 JA

How to get there to Nanny Falls?

It’s best to take a driver from Port Antonio to Moore Town.

San San Beach is a beautiful, private beach near Frenchman’s Cove. You can enjoy this gorgeous stretch of white sand and turquoise water for a small entrance fee. If you’re ready for a challenge, you can swim to Pellew Island, about 200 meters from the shore. San San Beach is also one of the best beaches for snorkeling. Several reefs off the coast have legally enforceable fishing restrictions to swim and explore without worry.

Secret waterfalls in Portland, Jamaica

McKenzie and Scatter Falls

To visit Scatter Falls, you’ll have to raft down the White River in Berrydale. It’s a beautiful day trip. Your adventure starts with a bamboo raft voyage across the Rio Grande, starting at Berridale and concluding with a brief hike leading you to the Falls. Just a short, albeit steep, trek from there, you’ll discover the intriguing Fox Caves waiting to be explored. Berrydise Island offers some of the most beautiful accommodations in the midst of the jungle and also offers jungle and waterfall tours. 

How to get to McKenzie and Scatter Falls

Leaving Port Antonio, it will take you about 45 45-minute drive to reach Berrdayle. From there, you can start your rafting adventure. 

Amnesties McKenzie and Scatter Falls

You find food and bathrooms along the way. However, bring your own snacks and drinks. 

Cascade Falls

These over 100 ft tall falls are also called One-Drop Falls and can even seen from the side of the road. To get up close, I recommend going with a guide. It’s not a waterfall to swim in, but it’s still super beautiful to look at. 

Coffee Tours in Jamaica

While Cascade Falls is beautiful, you should take the time to explore the surrounding Cascade District. It is a captivating destination offering a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural experiences. This picturesque region is renowned for its lush coffee farms, with Old Tavern Coffee Estate standing out as a must-visit. Here, you can immerse yourself in the rich history and aroma of Jamaica’s world-famous Blue Mountain coffee. Guided tours of the coffee estate provide insight into the meticulous process of growing and harvesting coffee beans.

Amnesties at Cascade Falls

None! Bring your own food and drink. Make sure to leave nothing behind!

Entrance Fee for Cascade Falls

Free!

How to get there to Cascade Falls?

It’s an easy 90-minute drive from Kingston. 

IMG 5871

Fish Dunns Falls

To get to Fish Dunns Falls, you will take a hike through the pristine forest, you’ll encounter a series of natural jacuzzis carved into the rocks, inviting you to take a refreshing plunge. Fish Dunn’s Falls are hidden in plain sight and the perfect stopover for traveling the John Crow Mountains. 

The tranquil surroundings and the opportunity to soak in these cool, crystal-clear waters make Fish Dunn Falls a hidden gem for those seeking a more secluded, serene waterfall experience in Jamaica.

Amenities at Fish Dunns Falls

None!

Entrance Fees at Fish Dunns Falls

Currently, it is still free. However, there is a new fence close by, which means that commercialization or privatization may be on its way. 

How to get to Fish Dunn’s Falls?

The journey from Port Antonio should take approximately 15 to 20 minutes by car. However, remember that this estimate is for the driving portion of the trip and does not account for any additional time required for parking and the short hike to reach the falls. Be sure to allow some extra time for these factors, as well as any potential detours or stops along the way

Milbank Falls

Tucked away in the heart of lush rainforests, this waterfall offers a tranquil and picturesque setting. Several tour companies offer to take you on a guided hike to explore the falls. 

The journey to Millbank Falls involves a short (but exhausting!) hike through dense vegetation, which adds to the sense of adventure. You will reach the first waterfall in about an hour, and if you are up to it, hike to a second waterfall. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by the sight and sound of cascading water, inviting you to take a refreshing swim in the cool, clear pools. 

How to get to Milbank Falls?

It’s about 30 minutes South of Port Antonio. 

Entrance Fees for Milbank Falls

None, but you should hire a local tour guide as the hikes are challenging. 

Amnesties at Millbank Falls

None, but if you are going on a guided tour, you will be provided with fruits and drinks. 

Practical travel tips for Portland & Jamaica

Which language is spoken in Jamaica?

P

The official language is English and Jamaican Patois spoken throughout the country. It's a colorful and vibrant mix of English, West African languages, and Spanish influences. Don't be afraid to interact with locals and try out some basic phrases in Patois - they'll appreciate the effort and you may even learn a thing or two.

What is the offical currency in Jamaica?

P

The Jamaican dollar is the official currency and is accepted everywhere on the island. However, US dollars are widely accepted as well, so it's always a good idea to have some cash in both currencies. You can easily exchange your money at banks or ATMs throughout the city. Just be aware that the exchange rate may vary, so it's best to check before making a transaction. Also, don't forget to tip - it's customary in Jamaica and greatly appreciated by service industry workers. So make sure you have some small bills on hand for tipping at restaurants, bars, and hotels.

What is the best time to visit Kingston?

P

The climate stays pleasant all year round. It might rain a bit more during hurricane season from June to September, but you still won't get bored on rainy days!

Kingston is home to many festival and events, so if you want to check them out, plan your dates accordingly.

Is Portland safe for travelers?

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As a female traveler, I felt safe. Portland is very quiet at night and there is not so much going on. Downtown Port Antonio gets somewhat sketchy in the late hours.

Is there an ATM in Portland?

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In Portland, getting Jamaican dollars from ATMs or exchanges is not always possible, especially in the villages. Get money in Port Antonio.

Public Transport in Portland, Jamaica

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Route Taxis go around the Port Antonio area and even down to Fairy Hill and Boston Bay. The further South you go, the fewer Route Taxis on the roads.

Public Bus: The bus stop is downtown Port Antonio and Anotto Bay. I couldn't find a schedule. They seem to go more frequently than the Knutsford.

Be aware that the time stated refers to calculated driving time, not the actual time to reach a destination. Adding to the driving time are stops and bus switches which are not apparent when buying the ticket. Due to Covid, there are fewer buses than usual, and it is better to buy the ticket online.

Can I drink tap water in Jamaica?

P

Even though Jamaica is considered a third-world country, it provides the best water quality in the region. You are, therefore, safe to drink tap water. This is especially true in the cities. However, if it makes you feel uneasy, bring a water purifier.

What's the biggest challenge for the conscious traveler?

P

Tourism leakage: Jamaica is a tropical paradise that's adored by tourists worldwide, but it has a problem that's hidden from sight - tourism leakage. This phenomenon refers to the loss of revenue that occurs when international hotel chains capture a large chunk of tourist dollars, leaving very little money behind to benefit the local economy. If you're among the millions of visitors who flock to Jamaica every year, there's a simple way to help mitigate the effects of tourism leakage: support Jamaican-owned hotels, shops, and restaurants. By doing so, you can put your money where your heart is - and give the people of Jamaica a chance to thrive. So don't be shy about seeking out local businesses on your next vacation. Your decision to keep tourism dollars within Jamaica could make a world of difference.

Beach access

While Jamaica is known for its beautiful beaches, there have been some issues with access to these public spaces. In recent years, many resorts and private properties have restricted access to certain parts of the beach, making it incredibly difficult for locals to maintain their life and right to the sea. Support public beaches and say no to all-inclusive tourism!

Trash

Make sure to bring a foldable food container and cutlery with you! The amount of waste caused by food sold on the street is incredible.

Sunscreen

Make sure to protect Jamaica's marine life and bring reef-friendly sunscreen!

tanzania travel Zanzibar beaches

Packing List Jamaica

As you see, there are plenty of things to experience in Jamaica. To come fully prepared, check out my packing list for Jamaica, which includes everything from eco-friendly toiletries to sustainable fashion and even the coolest travel gadgets!

Traveling Jamaica?

Jamaica Itinerary

Places to visit in Jamaica

I’ll be going back to Jamaica for the fourth time this April. I promise you: no matter how many times you’ll return, you’ll always discover something new in Jamaica!

Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers

Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers

I’m excited to share with you some invaluable safety tips garnered from my own experiences, aiming to equip fellow wanderlust-driven women with the confidence and know-how to explore the world on their own terms, safely and securely.

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Beaches in El Salvador | Central America’s hidden germs

Beaches in El Salvador | Central America’s hidden germs

Beaches in El Salvador

Full guide

After a memorable journey through Nicaragua and a beautiful border crossing via Golfo de Fonseca, we arrived in El Salvador, where warm hospitality awaited us. El Salvador quickly become one of our favorite countries to visit for its welcoming people, stunning volcanos and beautiful beaches.

We’ve talked a lot about why El Salvador should absolutely be on your travel list, and today, we’re focusing on one of its absolute gems: the stunning beaches.

Things to do on El Salvador beaches:

Observe Torturtle nesting

Each year, from July to December, El Salvador’s beaches become a haven for nesting sea turtles. After approximately 50 days of incubation, these precious turtle eggs hatch, and the young ones are joyfully released into the Pacific Ocean along the coast.

Watch Stunning sunsets

 The sunsets on El Salvador’s beaches are nothing short of breathtaking.

Catch world-class waves

 El Salvador is a well-known surfing haven with incredibly challenging waves. In El Salvador, you get to enjoy those legendary waves without the crowds.

Enjoy truly pristine beaches off-the-beaten-path

While many of El Salvador’s western beaches are well developed. You’ll still find plenty of pristine beaches that offer a serene escape, especially in the East.

Party the night away with El Salvadorians:

Beach parties in El Salvador are legendary, where lively music, dancing, and the warmth of Salvadorian hospitality combine for unforgettable nights by the ocean. El Tunco is the place to be for proper beach party vibes.

Beaches inEl Salvador

Beaches in El Salvador’s West 

– La Libertad

– El Tunco

– Playa San Blas

– Playa Sunzenal

– Playa El Zonte

– Playa Mizata

– Los Cóbanos

– Barra de Santiago

Beaches in El Salvador’s East

– Costa del Sol

Isla Montecristo

– Bahia Jiquilisco

– Beaches around El Cuco

– Golfo de Fonseca

Beaches in El Salvador's West

The Western beaches in El Salvador have a much better-developed tourisic infrastructure and serve as a getaway for many San Salvadorians and tourists alike.

For surf enthusiasts, western El Salvador is a dream come true. Renowned surf spots like Playa El Tunco and Playa El Sunzal attract wave riders from around the world. The consistent swells and warm waters make these beaches the perfect place to catch some epic waves or to try surfing for the first time.

But it’s not just about surfing; western El Salvador also offers opportunities for relaxation and exploration. You can stroll along the serene beaches of Playa El Zonte, where time seems to stand still, or take a dip in the tranquil waters of Playa San Blas. The friendly coastal communities in this region provide a warm welcome and a chance to immerse yourself in local culture and cuisine.

beaches in el salvador: la libertad

La Libertad

La Libertad is one of the busiest beaches in El Salvador. It’s super popular with locals and tourists alike and gets very busy on the weekends. 

Things to do in La Liberatad:

  • Feast on great, cheap seafood
  • Surf Punta Roca
  • Hike Parque National Walter Thilo Deininger

How to get to La Libertad?

Where to stay in la Libertad?

Mandala Eco Villas is a beautiful, family-owned surf and yoga haven. The family also operates a permaculture farm.

Playa El Tunco

Haven is for the international surfing scene and is much busier than El Cuco. El Tunco is the most popular beach on the West Coast.

Things to do in El Tunco:

  • Party & Surfing 
  • Surfing
  • Shopping
  • Hiking Tamanique Waterfalls
  • Yoga

How to get to El Tunco?

There are frequent buses from La Libertad to El Tunco. The ride takes about 30 minutes.

Where to stay in El Tunco?

Zen Hotel is usper beautiful and located right in the Center of El Tunco. The rooms were propably the prettiest during all our travels in El Salvador. The rooms have a balcony from which you can see Sunzenal waves break and marvel the magificient sunsets.

beaches in El Salvador: el tunco
Mercado Central in San Jose, Costa Rica

Playa San Blas

Playa San Blas is small, charming, and very close to El Tunco’s nightlife but much quieter. 

Things to do in Playa San Blas:

  • Surfing
  • Take in sunsets
  • Relax

How to get to Playa San Blas?

How to get to Playa San Blas: There are frequent buses from La Libertad to El Tunco. The ride takes about 30 minutes. Get off in San Blas.

Where to stay in Playa San Blas?

Zen Hotel is usper beautiful and located right in the Center of El Tunco. The rooms were propably the prettiest during all our travels in El Salvador. The rooms have a balcony from which you can see Sunzenal waves break and marvel the magificient sunsets.

Playa Sunzal

Is just a 7 km walk from Playa El Tunco and home to one of El Salvador’s most powerful waves. 

Things to do in Playa Sunzenal

  • Surfing
  • Visit a cacao farm in the indigenous town of Izalco

How to get to Playa Sunzal?

There are frequent buses from La Libertad to El Tunco, so just continue on. The ride takes about 40 minutes. During the daytime, you can walk from El Tunco

Where to stay in Sunzal?

Casa de Mar Hotel And Villas has a cute outdoor pool with ocean view and modern rooms.

street art in San Jose, Costa Rica
beaches in el salvador: el zonte

Playa El Zonte

Playa El Zonte is much quieter and more relaxed than El Tunco. It has good surf and a beach, which is nice for non-surfers.

Things to do in El Zonte:

  • Good for swimming
  • Surfing
  • Relaxing
  • Yoga
  • Take Spanish classes 
  • Daytrip to Cerro Verde

How to get to Playa El Zonte?

There are frequent buses from La Libertad to El Tunco. The ride takes about 50 minutes.

Where to stay in El Zonte?

El Xalli is relatively new and has beautiful and comfortable rooms and an infinity pool right by the beach! Sunsets are spectacular!

Playa Mizata

The views on the way to the last surfing village on El Salvador’s West Coast are stunning and totally worth the ride. Playa Mizita is much more secluded an chill than the other Western beaches:

Things to do in Playa Mizata:

  • Surf the infamous right-point wave
  • Chill and relax 

How to get to Playa Mizata?

There are no direct buses from La Libertad to Playa Mizata, and you must switch several times. To fully enjoy the impressive drive, take a private taxi.

Where to stay in Mizata?

Casaola Mizata offers beautiful rooms, a pool, delicious food, and surf equipment rental at fair prices.

street art in San Jose, Costa Rica
beaches in El Salvador: Los Cobanos

Los Cóbanos

The shores of the small fishing are home to Central America’s biggest Coral Reef and a protected marine area.

Things to do in Los Cóbanos

  • Watch Humpback whales during migration from November to December
  • Diving
  • Go on a Marine Life Boat Tour with NGO Fundarecife
  • Join turtle releases (September-December)

How to get to Los Cóbanos?

By bus from Sensonate in 45 minutes or by car from San Salvador (80 km)

Where to stay in Los Cóbanos?

Accomendation options are limited and pricey. Check out Rancho AlMar!

Barra de Santiago

My favorite by far! “La Barra,” as the locals call it, is a sandbar flanked by the Pacific Ocean and mangroves. Its beauty is truly surreal! It is super hard to get to, making it a unique off-the-beaten-path destination on your El Salvador itinerary. 

Things to do in Barra De Santiago:

  • Enjoy breathtaking sunsets
  • Take beginners surfer lessons
  • Go birdwatching

How to get there Barra De Santiago?

From San Salvador by bus to Sonsonate, from there, one of the two daily buses to Barra Santiago.

Where to stay in Barra de Santiago?

Ocean Paradise has modern rooms right by the beach.

beaches in el salvador: barra<br />

Beaches in El Salvador's East

The beaches of eastern El Salvador are a well-kept secret, offering an unspoiled and enchanting coastal experience for those seeking a more tranquil and authentic escape. Nestled along the Pacific Ocean, these shores are a testament to the natural beauty of the region, with their pristine sands, towering palm trees, and the soothing sound of the waves.

Montezuma 7
beaches in El Salvador

Costa Del Sol

Costa del Sol is the longest stretch of beach in El Salvador, and most of it is privately owned, making it a getaway for San Salvador’s upper class. Not my favorite beach in San Salvador, but it is definitely worth a visit especially for a short break from San Salvador. 

Things to do in Costa del Sol

  • People Watching
  • Spend a day in a beach cafe or club

 

How to get to Costa del Sol?

It’s only a 45-minute car ride from San Salvador but takes 2.5 hours by bus.

Where to stay in la Libertad?

I always felt very safe in Cahuita. Just make sure to not walk nearby beaches at night.

Isla Montecristo

Is a haven for sustainable travel lovers. The peninsula (half-island) is located where the Río Lempa meets the Pacific Ocean. You can walk the island, which is home to a friendly community in about 30 minutes. Isla Montecristo feels like you are way off any civilization and best visited on an overnight trip. 

Things to do on Isla Montecristo:

  • Go on a boat trip
  • Walk the island on a tour
  • Visit the beach 

How to get to Isla Monte Christo?

Getting to Isla Montecristo is a bit challenging.

  1. Take the bus from San Salvador to San Nicolas Lempa (2.5 hours)
  2. Take the bus from San Nicolas Lempa to La Pita ( 45 minutes)
  3. From La Pita, take a 10-minute boat ride to Isla Montecristo

Alternatively, contact Hostal Montecristo for transport.

Where to stay in on Isla Montecristo?

I always felt very safe in Cahuita. Just make sure to not walk nearby beaches at night.

Bahia Jiquilisco

Bahia Jiquilisco, located on the southeastern coast of El Salvador, is a hidden diamond waiting to be explored. “The Bay of Stars,” as the local ingenious people call the Bay, is perhaps the most mesmerizing beach destination in El Salvador. This stunning coastal area is nestled within the larger UNESCO-designated Jiquilisco Bay Biosphere Reserve. Bahia Jiquilisco consists of 27 islands that are teeming with biodiversity and are one of Central America’s most important nesting grounds for turtles. 

Aside from its natural splendor, Bahia Jiquilisco is also home to small fishing communities, offering visitors the chance to experience authentic Salvadoran coastal life. You can interact with local fishermen, taste fresh seafood, and immerse yourself in the laid-back, friendly atmosphere of the area.

The bay itself is a vast expanse of calm, brackish waters framed by lush mangrove forests and bordered by serene beaches. As you explore the bay, you’ll encounter a rich ecosystem teeming with diverse bird species, aquatic life, and thriving mangrove ecosystems that provide vital habitat for numerous wildlife species.

 

sunset in Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica

Things to do in Bahia Jiquilisco – Support community tourism

  • Go on boat tours through the mangroves
  • Go Birdwatching
  • Watch the turtles during nesting time
  • Explore the villages Isla Méndez and Corral de Mulas

How to get to Bahia Jiquilisco?

  1. From San Salvador, take the bus to Usulután (2.5 hours)
  2. From Usulután to Puerto El Tarifuno (1 hour): The bus terminal is kinda non-existent and a small shack.
  3. From Puerto El Tarifuno take a boat to Isla la Mendéz

Where to stay in Bahia Jiquilisco?

Puerto Barillas is surrounded by nature and is a wonderful place to start exploring the area.

Beaches around El Cuco

El Cuco is a charming, small fishing village with basically three beaches. The beach in El Cuco itself is more of a stretch of beach with several small beach shacks. The nearby beaches are much more beautiful and charming. 

Playa Esteron

Playa Esteron seems to be endless! The vast grey beach is tranquil and perfect for enjoying a pristine beach without crowds.

Things to do in Playa Esteron

  • Relax & Swim
  • Watch sunsets
  • See turtles come to shore ( September – December)
    horsecarriage on the beach of El Cuco, El Salvador

    Playa Maculis

    The beautiful, unspoiled beach of Playa Maculis is very unknown and perfect if you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path beach in El Salvador. 

    Things to do in Playa Maculis:

    • Kick back and relax!
    • Swimming and Sunbathing

    How to get to Playa Maculis?

    Getting to Playa Maculis by public transport takes a lot of work. Contact Los Caracoles (the only place to stay in Playa Maculis) to arrange transport if you plan on visiting.

    Where to stay in Playa Maculis?

    Rancho los Caracoles is a beautiful new porperty on the beach.

    Golfo de Fonseca

    We arrived from Nicaragua via Golfo de Fonseca, and it was a beautiful journey!

    Shared by El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua, this gulf is renowned for its stunning landscapes and rich biodiversity.

    The gulf is framed by picturesque volcanic mountain ranges, creating a dramatic backdrop for its serene waters. The combination of mangrove forests, estuaries, and a diverse array of marine life makes Golfo de Fonseca an ecological hotspot and a vital area for conservation efforts. Birdwatchers, in particular, are drawn to the region for the opportunity to spot various bird species in their natural habitat.

      How to get to Golfo de Fonseca?

      Boats to Nicaragua via Golfo de Fonseca leave via La Union. You can also arrange tours to the Golf from here.

      Where to stay in La Union?

      Hostal Santa Marta is abasic, but clean and welcoming hostal.

      Golfo de Fonseca

      Practical travel tips for Osa Peninsula

      What is the best time to visit Costa Rica

      Always!

      The best time to visit Costa Rica largely depends on your preferences and the experiences you seek. The country has two primary seasons: the dry season (December to April) and the wet season (May to November). The dry season is ideal for outdoor adventures, with plenty of sunshine, less rainfall, and lush green landscapes. This is the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. On the other hand, the wet season offers a unique charm, with fewer tourists, vibrant rainforests, and occasional afternoon showers. It's a great time for wildlife enthusiasts and budget-conscious travelers. Ultimately, the best time to visit Costa Rica depends on whether you prefer dry, sunny days or don't mind a bit of rain while enjoying the country's natural beauty and diverse ecosystems

      Is Costa Rica safe for travelers?

      Costa Rica is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. The country has a stable political environment, a strong rule of law, and a relatively low crime rate compared to some of its Central American neighbors. However, like any other destination, it's essential for travelers to exercise common-sense precautions. This includes safeguarding personal belongings, avoiding poorly lit or deserted areas at night, and staying vigilant in tourist areas where petty theft can occasionally occur.

      How to get to Costa Rica?

      Most travelers arrive by flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José or Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia. These airports serve as the main entry points for international flights. From there, you can access various domestic airports, like Juan Santamaría Airport in San José or Tamarindo Airport in Guanacaste, if you plan to visit different regions of the country. Additionally, Costa Rica offers excellent bus services that connect major cities and towns, making it possible to arrive by land from neighboring countries such as Nicaragua and Panama.

      How can I protect myself from sandflies?

      P

      Buy some handmade coconut oil to protect yourself from sandfly bites! They are especially active during morning and evening hours.

      Can I drink tap water in Costa Rica?

      P

      In Costa Rica, 92.5% of the population, has access to drinking water. The quality of tap water is safe to drink. If you still feel uneasy, bring your self-cleaning bottle. The bottles will keep your water fresh and cool, too!

      What's the biggest challenge for the conscious traveler?

      P

      Trash: bring your collapsable food container & Lifestraw Pro with you to avoid causing plastic pollution.


      Sunscreen: Protect Costa Rica's marine life and wear reef-save sunscreen.

      tanzania travel Zanzibar beaches

      Packing Central America

      Central America is super diverse and offers plenty of things to do. Check out our packing list, and get ready for an incredible adventure!

      Find everything from eco-friendly toiletries to the only travel shoes you’ll ever want to exciting travel gadgets!

      Practical travel tips for El Salvador

      Public transport in El Salvador

      P

      You can easily explore the country by bus.

      What is the best time to visit El Salvador?

      P

      The dry season lasts from November to April and the best time to visit the beaches in El Salvador.

      Is San Salvador safe for travelers?

      P

      Yet, El Salvador felt a lot safer than one would have expected. We felt comfortably secure and welcomed. You have to note that until today, El Salvador is ruled by fear and brutal memories. Therefore, many locals take extreme precautions and will advise you against many things. As a visitor, you must be aware of that and know that you are NOT the target.

      Can I drink tap water in El Salvador?

      P

      Do not drink tap water in El Salvador; bring your self-cleaning bottle instead! While water from the National Water Company (ANDA) is generally safe, you never know the water source the restaurant, hotels, and so on may use.

      What's the biggest challenge for the conscious traveler?

      P

      Trash: Often, you'll find food vendors selling typical Nicaraguan dishes on the go. It's not just delicious but cheap. To avoid plastic wrapping, choose to buy your food at the bus stations and have them put it in your collapsible container. Bring your water filter or UV bottle to avoid having to buy bottled water.

      Sunscreen: Protect Marine life and wear reef-friendly sunscreen!

      tanzania travel Zanzibar beaches

      Packing List El Salvador

      El Salvador is super diverse and offers plenty of things to do. Check out our packing list, and get ready for an incredible adventure!

      Find everything from eco-friendly toiletries to the only travel shoes you’ll ever want to exciting travel gadgets!

      Places to visit in El Salvador

      San Salvador | a resilient capital, rich in history, scars and hope

      San Salvador | a resilient capital, rich in history, scars and hope

      San Salvador, El Salvador’s resilient heart. The capital bears deeps scares, many of them still visible at Centro Histórico and in the hearts and memories of its inhabitants. Its heartache was omnipresent, yet the city’s fierce determination for a better future, its hopes and aspirations are infectious and the reason why San Salvador is our favorite capital in Central America.

      read more

      The Caribbean side of Costa Rica | A comprehensive guide to paradise

      The Caribbean side of Costa Rica | A comprehensive guide to paradise

      Caribbean side of Costa Rica

      Off-the-beaten path

      Itinerary duration: 2-3 weeks

      Itinerary budget: $ 105 per day

      Itinerary start & end:  San José

      Up until today, Costa Rica’s Caribbean side is my favorite area to explore in Costa Rica. Why?

      As the Caribbean side is far less touristically developed than its counterpart in the Pacific, you can enjoy miles of the most beautiful Caribbean sea seamed by lush rainforest, stunning National Parks, and cute towns without the crowds. 

      As soon as you start driving down from Cahuita towards Manzanillo, everything seems to come straight from a Caribbean movie. Colorful houses nestled in lush greenery with the Caribbean Sea at its backdrop. However, each town maintains its own charm: Cahuita is casual and slightly bohemian, Puerto Viejo is the liveliest, Punta Uva is pretty chic, Playa Chiquita has a laid-back surfer crowd, and last but not least, the sleepy and picturesque village of Manzanillo.

      What I love about the Caribbean Coast

      – Listening to the sounds of the jungle while hearing the ocean, too

      – Some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful accommodations are here

      – Fewer crowds

      Food and entertainment options are abundant

      Tortuguero

      This is the remotest location on Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast, which is definitely part of its appeal. Tortuguero Village is a charming and remote gem that exudes an authentic and laid-back Caribbean atmosphere. Surrounded by lush rainforests and tranquil waterways, this small village is a gateway to the wonders of Tortuguero National Park. As you explore its sandy streets, you’ll encounter colorful wooden houses, reggae beats filling the air, and friendly locals who are proud of their Afro-Caribbean heritage. The village offers a glimpse into the local way of life, with small shops, restaurants serving delectable seafood dishes, and a warm, welcoming vibe. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day of wildlife adventures and turtle nesting excursions, allowing you to soak in Tortuguero’s genuine and tranquil ambiance.

      Caribbean side of Costa Rica1

      How to get to Tortuguero?

      Getting to Tortuguero is a challenge, but the journey is beautiful and worth it!

      1. To get there from San Jose, you can take a 2-hour bus journey to Cariari. The buses depart from the Terminal Gran Caribe (or Terminal Caribeños) in San José. You have to leave San Jose before noon to make it in time for your connection from:
      2. Cariari to La Pavona: The ride takes about 1 hour
      3. In La Pavona, you have to catch a boat to Tortuguero. The trip takes 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the water levels.

      Where to stay in Tortuguero?

      I loved staying at Cabinas Tortuguero. It's a super beautiful, cute little guesthouse.

      Is San José safe?

      Whether you're flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport or taking a scenic bus ride from other parts of Costa Rica, you'll find that San José serves as a convenient hub for exploring the country.

      If you reach San José’s international airport, you can simply call an Uber to take you to your destination.

      Things to do in Tortuguero, Costa Rica

      Caribbean side of Costa Rica: Tortoguero

      Turtle Nesting in Tortuguero

      Witness the incredible nesting process of sea turtles, particularly green sea turtles (seasonal activity).

      Hike Tortuguero National Park

      Explore this protected area on guided tours to spot wildlife such as howler monkeys, sloths, toucans, and caimans.

      Boat Tours

      Take boat tours through the extensive network of canals and rivers to observe the lush rainforest and its inhabitants.

      Kayaking and Canoeing in Tortuguero

      Paddle through the waterways for a closer look at the unique flora and fauna.

      Birdwatching in Tortuguero

      Tortuguero is a paradise for bird enthusiasts, with many species to spot, including colorful toucans and herons.

      Hiking in Tortuguero

      Explore the well-maintained trails within Tortuguero National Park to connect with the rainforest.

      Visit the Turtle Conservation Center

      Learn about turtle conservation efforts and the important work being done to protect these endangered species.

      Tortuguero Village

      Immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting the quaint village, sampling Caribbean cuisine, and interacting with the friendly residents.

      Canal Tours

      Opt for smaller boat tours or kayaking expeditions to navigate the narrow canals and get up close to wildlife and vegetation.

      Relax on the Beach

      Enjoy the serene and remote beaches of Tortuguero for sunbathing and beachcombing

      Caribbean side of Costa  Rica: Tortuguero

      Cahuita

      Cahuita is a captivating and culturally diverse coastal town that beckons travelers with its unique blend of Afro-Caribbean charm and natural beauty. The highlight of Cahuita is its eponymous national park, Cahuita National Park, which boasts pristine white-sand beaches and vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life. Beyond the park, Cahuita offers a laid-back, bohemian atmosphere, with reggae rhythms filling the air, open-air seafood shacks serving mouthwatering dishes, and a welcoming community that celebrates its rich Afro-Caribbean heritage.

      Cahuita1

      How to get to Cahuita?

      From San José MEPE bus station, you can easily take a bus to Cahuita. While the ride starts and ends quite picturesquely, but it can become quite long, especially when traffic is heavy on the weekends or holidays. Book your tickets in advance when traveling during the high season. Expect to travel for at least 4 hours.

      Where to stay in San José?

      Whether you're flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport or taking a scenic bus ride from other parts of Costa Rica, you'll find that San José serves as a convenient hub for exploring the country.

      If you reach San José’s international airport, you can simply call an Uber to take you to your destination.

      Is Cahuita safe?

      I always felt very safe in Cahuita. Just make sure to not walk nearby beaches at night.

      Things to do in Cahuita, Costa Rica

      Mercado Central in San Jose, Costa Rica

      Cahuita National Park

      Explore the beautiful national park’s trails and pristine beaches, perfect for hiking and snorkeling to discover coral reefs and marine life.

      Snorkeling in Cahuita

      Dive into the crystal-clear waters to witness vibrant coral formations and swim alongside tropical fish, rays, and sea turtles. 

      Horseback Riding in Cahuita

      Take a guided horseback ride through the jungle or the beach to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.

      Kayaking in Cahuita

      Paddle through the calm waters of Cahuita’s canals and rivers to spot wildlife and lush vegetation.

      Visit Cahuita Village

      Stroll through the laid-back village to explore its colorful Caribbean architecture, boutique shops, and vibrant street art.

      Birdwatching

      Cahuita is a haven for bird enthusiasts, with numerous species to spot in the surrounding rainforest and mangroves.

      Cultural Tours

      Experience the rich Afro-Caribbean culture of Cahuita through guided tours, music, and local cuisine.

      Jaguar Rescue Center

      Visit this wildlife rehabilitation center to get up close to rescued animals and learn about conservation efforts.

      Playa Negra

      Relax on the black sand beach, known for its unique beauty and great waves for surfers.

      Surfing 

      Catch some waves at nearby surf spots like Playa Negra or Salsa Brava for those seeking more challenging breaks.

      Beachcombing

      Walk along the beaches, particularly Playa Blanca, to collect seashells and enjoy the serene coastal scenery.

      street art in San Jose, Costa Rica

      Puerto Viejo

      Puerto Viejo is the liveliest town with lots of hip cafés, bars, restaurants, and shops. The nearby beaches are fun while nearby National Parks offer a catch of clean hair.

      Puerto Viejo

      How to get to Puerto Viejo?

      From San José MEPE bus station, you can easily take a bus to Cahuita. While the ride starts and ends quite picturesquely, but it can become quite long, especially when traffic is heavy on the weekends or holidays. Book your tickets in advance when traveling during the high season. Expect to travel for at least 4 hours.

      Where to stay in San José?

      Whether you're flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport or taking a scenic bus ride from other parts of Costa Rica, you'll find that San José serves as a convenient hub for exploring the country.

      If you reach San José’s international airport, you can simply call an Uber to take you to your destination.

      Is Puerto Viejo safe?

      Yes, but take certain precautions such as watching out for your belongings and not walking on the beach at night.

      Things to do in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

      Mercado Central in San Jose, Costa Rica

      Beach Hopping

      Explore the beautiful beaches in and around Puerto Viejo, such as Playa Cocles, Playa Chiquita, and Playa Punta Uva, ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing.

      Snorkeling and Diving

      Discover the underwater world by snorkeling or scuba diving in the vibrant coral reefs, where you can encounter colorful fish and marine life.

      Jaguar Rescue Center

      Visit this animal rehabilitation center to get up close to rescued wildlife, including jaguars, sloths, and monkeys.

      Biking

      Rent a bicycle to explore the town and its surroundings, including the picturesque Manzanillo Gandoca Wildlife Refuge.

      Surfing

      Catch some waves at Salsa Brava, one of the most renowned surf spots in Central America, or take surf lessons for beginners.

      Nightlife in Puerto Viejo

      Evenings in Puerto Viejo come alive with reggae rhythms and a relaxed, bohemian vibe. Explore the town’s bars, lounges, and reggae clubs, where you can dance the night away to the sounds of the Caribbean. The nightlife here is far from the hectic party scene you might find elsewhere, making it perfect for those looking to unwind and mingle with locals.

      Cahuita National Park

      Take a day trip to Cahuita National Park for hiking, wildlife spotting, and snorkeling along the coastal trail.

      Chocolate Tours

      Join a chocolate-making tour to learn about the cacao bean’s journey from tree to delicious treat.

       

       

      street art in San Jose, Costa Rica

      Punta Uva

      Punta Uva offers an idyllic setting for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling, with a coral reef just offshore teeming with vibrant marine life. It is the chicest and most fancy village along the coastal road. You’ll find more upscale dining options, cafés, yoga and wellness retreats. The nearby beach is as beautiful as anywhere in the area.

      Caribbean side of Costa Rica5

      How to get to Peninsula de Osa?

      Your journey typically starts with a flight to the nearby town of Puerto Jiménez. From there, you can embark on a scenic drive or take a boat ride to reach the Peninsula. The journey itself is an adventure, offering glimpses of the lush, untamed beauty that awaits. It will take you a day to get there.

      Where to stay in San José?

      Whether you're flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport or taking a scenic bus ride from other parts of Costa Rica, you'll find that San José serves as a convenient hub for exploring the country.

      If you reach San José’s international airport, you can simply call an Uber to take you to your destination.

      Is Peninsula de Osa safe?

      Yes, it's a very safe area.

      Playa Chiquita

      Aptly named “Little Beach” in Spanish, it welcomes surfers from all over the world. The surrounding community is jip, cool, and laid back.

      Caribbean side of Costa Rica6

      How to get to Peninsula de Osa?

      Your journey typically starts with a flight to the nearby town of Puerto Jiménez. From there, you can embark on a scenic drive or take a boat ride to reach the Peninsula. The journey itself is an adventure, offering glimpses of the lush, untamed beauty that awaits. It will take you a day to get there.

      Where to stay in San José?

      Whether you're flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport or taking a scenic bus ride from other parts of Costa Rica, you'll find that San José serves as a convenient hub for exploring the country.

      If you reach San José’s international airport, you can simply call an Uber to take you to your destination.

      Is Peninsula de Osa safe?

      Yes, it's a very safe area.

      Manzanillo

      Manzanillo effortlessly secures a spot in my top 5 most beautiful places I’ve ever been. This unassuming Caribbean town retains its authenticity while offering an ideal setting to relax. A lengthy beach spans from the Gandoca Wildlife Reserve to Puerto Viejo, bordered by pristine primary rainforest.

      Puerto Viejo4

      How to get to Manzanillo?

      Buses to and from Puerto Viejo run regularly. It takes about 40 minutes to reach.

      Where to stay in San José?

      Whether you're flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport or taking a scenic bus ride from other parts of Costa Rica, you'll find that San José serves as a convenient hub for exploring the country.

      If you reach San José’s international airport, you can simply call an Uber to take you to your destination.

      Is Manzanillo safe?

      Yes, but take certain precautions such as not walking on the beach at night.

      Things to do in Manzanillo, Costa Rica

      Wild caribbean beach of Manzanillo at Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

      Visit the Manzanillo-Gandoca Wildlife Refuge

      Explore this protected area for birdwatching, hiking, and experiencing the unspoiled natural beauty.

      Beach Relaxation

      Enjoy the laid-back atmosphere on Manzanillo Beach, with its soft sands and inviting Caribbean waters.

      Snorkeling and Diving

      Explore the vibrant coral reefs and underwater life in the nearby marine reserves, such as the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge.

      Kayaking

      Paddle through the calm waters of the mangroves and estuaries, observing local wildlife along the way.

      Wildlife Watching

      Keep an eye out for howler monkeys, sloths, toucans, and other exotic animals in the surrounding rainforest.

      Hiking

      Discover the lush nature trails and hikes in the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge.

      Visit a Wildlife Rescue Center

      Learn about local conservation efforts and get up close to rescued animals like sloths, toucans, and more.

      Horseback Riding

      Explore the area’s scenic beauty on a guided horseback ride through the jungle and along the beach.

      street art in San Jose, Costa Rica

      Bribri

      Bribri, located in the heart of Costa Rica’s lush southern Caribbean region, is a culturally rich and indigenous village that invites you to immerse yourself in the traditions and heritage of the Bribri people. Surrounded by dense rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and meandering rivers, Bribri offers you a unique opportunity to explore the region’s natural wonders while experiencing the indigenous community’s customs and way of life. 

      I enjoyed the guided tours to learn about Bribri traditions, the cacao ceremonies, learning about medicinal plants, and appreciating the intricate artistry of indigenous crafts. 

      Recently, there has been an increasing effort to preserve and protect the Bribri culture and their ancestral lands. Tourism initiatives allow you to learn about their traditions, participate in cultural exchanges, and support the community through sustainable tourism practices.

      Caribbean side of Costa Rica4

      How to get to Bribri?

      To get to Bribri, you must take a bus labeled "Bribrí" or "Sixaola," as they are en route to the border with Panama. The ride takes about 45 minutes. Buses leave regularly and frequently.

      What are the Bribi know for?

      The Bribri are known for their deep connection to the natural world, as their culture revolves around sustainable living in harmony with the rainforest that surrounds them.

      The Bribri people have their own language, also called Bribri, which is a Chibchan language spoken within their community. Their oral traditions and storytelling play a significant role in passing down their history and knowledge through generations.

      One of the notable aspects of Bribri culture is their traditional knowledge of medicinal plants. They have a profound understanding of the healing properties of various plants found in the rainforest, which they use for both physical and spiritual healing.

      The Bribri also have a strong connection to cacao, which they consider sacred. They use cacao not only for making chocolate but also for spiritual ceremonies that are an essential part of their cultural practices.

      Where to stay in Uvita?

      Whether you're flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport or taking a scenic bus ride from other parts of Costa Rica, you'll find that San José serves as a convenient hub for exploring the country.

      If you reach San José’s international airport, you can simply call an Uber to take you to your destination.

      Is Bribri safe?

      Yes, it's a very safe area for travelers as long as you take certain precautions such as not walking at night.

      Practical travel tips for Osa Peninsula

      What is the best time to visit Costa Rica

      Always!

      The best time to visit Costa Rica largely depends on your preferences and the experiences you seek. The country has two primary seasons: the dry season (December to April) and the wet season (May to November). The dry season is ideal for outdoor adventures, with plenty of sunshine, less rainfall, and lush green landscapes. This is the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. On the other hand, the wet season offers a unique charm, with fewer tourists, vibrant rainforests, and occasional afternoon showers. It's a great time for wildlife enthusiasts and budget-conscious travelers. Ultimately, the best time to visit Costa Rica depends on whether you prefer dry, sunny days or don't mind a bit of rain while enjoying the country's natural beauty and diverse ecosystems

      Is Costa Rica safe for travelers?

      Costa Rica is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. The country has a stable political environment, a strong rule of law, and a relatively low crime rate compared to some of its Central American neighbors. However, like any other destination, it's essential for travelers to exercise common-sense precautions. This includes safeguarding personal belongings, avoiding poorly lit or deserted areas at night, and staying vigilant in tourist areas where petty theft can occasionally occur.

      How to get to Costa Rica?

      Most travelers arrive by flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José or Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia. These airports serve as the main entry points for international flights. From there, you can access various domestic airports, like Juan Santamaría Airport in San José or Tamarindo Airport in Guanacaste, if you plan to visit different regions of the country. Additionally, Costa Rica offers excellent bus services that connect major cities and towns, making it possible to arrive by land from neighboring countries such as Nicaragua and Panama.

      How can I protect myself from sandflies?

      P

      Buy some handmade coconut oil to protect yourself from sandfly bites! They are especially active during morning and evening hours.

      Can I drink tap water in Costa Rica?

      P

      In Costa Rica, 92.5% of the population, has access to drinking water. The quality of tap water is safe to drink. If you still feel uneasy, bring your self-cleaning bottle. The bottles will keep your water fresh and cool, too!

      What's the biggest challenge for the conscious traveler?

      P

      Trash: bring your collapsable food container & Lifestraw Pro with you to avoid causing plastic pollution.


      Sunscreen: Protect Costa Rica's marine life and wear reef-save sunscreen.

      tanzania travel Zanzibar beaches

      Packing Central America

      Central America is super diverse and offers plenty of things to do. Check out our packing list, and get ready for an incredible adventure!

      Find everything from eco-friendly toiletries to the only travel shoes you’ll ever want to exciting travel gadgets!

      Places to visit in Costa Rica

      Pura vida!

      Costa Rica Itinerary | Off the beaten-path without the masses

      Costa Rica Itinerary | Off the beaten-path without the masses

      Costa Rica Itinerary

      Off-the-beaten path

       

      Itinerary duration: 3 -5 weeks

      Itinerary budget: $ 105 per day

      Itinerary start & end:  San José

      Costa Rica, a name synonymous with breathtaking natural beauty, lush rainforests, and stunning beaches, has long been a sought-after tourist destination. It’s a place that often graces the covers of travel magazines and finds its way onto the dream itineraries of wanderers worldwide.

      Explore Costa Rica without the masses

      We welcome you to a Costa Rica itinerary that takes you beyond the typical tourist trail. Instead, we’re here to guide you through the quieter, more authentic side of this incredible country. While this may not be your typical Costa Rica itinerary – it’s an invitation to explore hidden gems in a more personal and authentic way.

      Our journey begins in San José. It may not be the flashiest city, but it has its own unique allure. Dive into vibrant markets, explore intriguing museums, and savor authentic Costa Rican cuisine. Afterward, we will take you to the hidden gems along the Caribbean side, all the way from Cahuita to Manzanillo, before we head over to explore Costa Rica’s Pacific

      Costa Rica’s hidden gems

      When I first considered visiting Costa Rica, it felt a tad intimidating. The thought of throngs of tourists and crowded attractions didn’t quite align with my desire for an off-the-beaten-path adventure. Yet, here’s the beauty of travel – it often surprises you when you least expect it. But beyond the well-known attractions lay a treasure trove of hidden gems.

      San José

      San José may be the stepping stone for many as it will be your arrival at the Airport. While the capital may not immediately strike you as a typical tourist hotspot, it holds a unique charm worth exploring.

      Costa Rica’s capital is where you can immerse yourself in the local culture, connect with friendly locals, and set the tone for an off-the-beaten-path Costa Rica itinerary that’s rich in authentic experiences.

      San Jose 1

      How to get to San Jose

      Whether you're flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport or taking a scenic bus ride from other parts of Costa Rica, you'll find that San José serves as a convenient hub for exploring the country.

      If you reach San José’s international airport, you can simply call an Uber to take you to your destination.

      Where to stay in San José?

      I love staying at the Train Suites Barrio Escalante for the views but I also enjoyed staying at Chillout Escalante Hostel and Casa Escalante Hostel.

      The Train Suites in Barrio Escalante are the most sophisticated option.

      Is San José safe?

      Whether you're flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport or taking a scenic bus ride from other parts of Costa Rica, you'll find that San José serves as a convenient hub for exploring the country.

      If you reach San José’s international airport, you can simply call an Uber to take you to your destination.

      Things to do in San José, Costa Rica

      Mercado Central in San Jose, Costa Rica

      Sightseeing in Barrio Amon

      Start your adventure by exploring the heart of the city. Wander through the historic district, Barrio Amón, where charming colonial architecture and quaint coffee shops transport you to another era. Don’t miss the National Theater, a neo-classical masterpiece that hosts world-class performances. For a dose of culture, the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum and the National Museum offer fascinating insights into Costa Rica’s history and art.

      Go on a day-trip

      San José, Costa Rica, serves as a fantastic hub for diverse day trips that allow you to explore the country’s natural wonders and cultural treasures. One option is the Paulo Carrillo National Park, where you can embark on a rainforest adventure and encounter an array of wildlife while hiking through pristine trails. Alternatively, the Irazú Volcano Half Day Tour from San Jose takes you to the summit of the Irazú Volcano, offering panoramic views of the massive crater and surrounding landscapes. Whether you’re craving a nature-focused escape or a cultural immersion, these day trips offer a taste of Costa Rica’s rich diversity and are easily accessible from the capital city.

      Nightlife in Barrio Escalante

      As the sun sets, San José comes alive with a vibrant nightlife that caters to every taste. Whether you prefer a sophisticated cocktail bar, a pulsating nightclub, or a cozy local tavern, you’ll find it in Barrio Escalante. 

      Visit the Central Market

      Indulge in some retail therapy at the bustling Central Market, where you can peruse local handicrafts, traditional foods, and artisanal goods. It’s a great place to pick up souvenirs and immerse yourself in the daily life of the city.

      Marvel at Street Art

      San José’s streets are a canvas for talented street artists, and you’ll find vibrant murals adorning the city’s walls. Take a self-guided tour through neighborhoods like Barrio La California, where you can admire the creativity and cultural expressions of Costa Rica’s urban artists.

      streetart in san jose

      Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast

      The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is a well-kept secret, offering a different side of this enchanting country that’s often overlooked. Here, you’ll find hidden gems waiting to be discovered amidst the swaying palm trees and reggae beats.

      Cahuita

      Nestled along Costa Rica’s pristine Caribbean coast, Cahuita is a place that has been plucked straight from a traveler’s dream.

      Cahuita is a tranquil escape that effortlessly blends the beach’s natural beauty with the lush embrace of the rainforest.

      However, the town’s charm lies not only in its breathtaking landscapes but also in its unique character, with brightly painted houses that reflect its residents’ vibrant culture and Afro-Caribbean heritage.

      Costa Rica’s capital is where you can immerse yourself in the local culture, connect with friendly locals, and set the tone for an off-the-beaten-path Costa Rica itinerary that’s rich in authentic experiences.

      Cahuita1

      How to get to Cahuita?

      From San José MEPE bus station, you can easily take a bus to Cahuita. While the ride starts and ends quite picturesquely, but it can become quite long, especially when traffic is heavy on the weekends or holidays. Book your tickets in advance when traveling during the high season. Expect to travel for at least 4 hours.

      Where to stay in Cahuita?

      Staying at the Bungalows Aché Cahuita feels like Robinson Cruzo deluxe! You can hear the jungle sound and the waves crashing at the same time!

      Is Cahuita safe?

      I always felt very safe in Cahuita. Just make sure to not walk nearby beaches at night.

      Things to do in Cahuita, Costa Rica

      Mercado Central in San Jose, Costa Rica

      Beaches in Cahuita

       Cahuita National Park is the closest beach to town. Despite its incredible beauty above water, the park boasts some of the most magnificent coral reefs in Costa Rica, making it a prime destination for snorkeling and diving. 

      Hiking and Wildlife in Cahuita

      A stroll along the park’s well-maintained trail is like entering a wildlife sanctuary. Keep an eye out for howler monkeys, sloths, raccoons, and countless bird species as you meander through the lush rainforest. The park’s appeal lies in its serene beauty and the chance to encounter wildlife in its natural habitat.

      Nightlife in Cahuita

      While Cahuita’s nightlife may not rival that of its neighbor, Puerto Viejo, it has its own charm. Enjoy a reggae-infused evening at local bars and restaurants, where you can savor delicious Afro-Caribbean cuisine and mingle with friendly locals.

      Shopping in Cahuita

      Cahuita’s streets are dotted with quaint boutiques and stalls selling handmade crafts, jewelry, and unique souvenirs. It’s an excellent place to find one-of-a-kind treasures and support local artisans.

      Yoga in Cahuita

      Cahuita offers a handful of yoga studios and retreat centers for those seeking inner peace and tranquility. Practice yoga amidst the sounds of the rainforest and the soothing Caribbean breeze to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.

      street art in San Jose, Costa Rica

      Puerto Viejo

      Puerto Viejo is the liveliest town with lots of hip cafés, bars, restaurants, and shops. The nearby beaches are fun while nearby National Parks offer a catch of clean hair.

      Puerto Viejo

      How to get to Puerto Viejo?

      From San José MEPE bus station, you can easily take a bus to Cahuita. While the ride starts and ends quite picturesquely, but it can become quite long, especially when traffic is heavy on the weekends or holidays. Book your tickets in advance when traveling during the high season. Expect to travel for at least 4 hours.

      Where to stay in Puerto Viejo?

      Puerto Viejo offers a very diverse range of accommodations. Casa BOHÖ is beautiful property, tucked away so you can truly feel the jungle and nearby beach but close enough to walk or bike to Puerto Viejo. Namu Garden Hotel & Spa will blow your mind! It’s a special luxury retreat which caters to all senses and the choice for you if you are looking for a luxurious option.

      Is Puerto Viejo safe?

      Yes, but take certain precautions such as watching out for your belongings and not walking on the beach at night.

      Things to do in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

      Mercado Central in San Jose, Costa Rica

      Beaches & water activities in Puerto Viejo

      Nearby, Playa Negra and Playa Blanca are local favorites for sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing.

      Just a few minutes drive away,  Playa Cocles, Playa Chiquita, and Punta Uva are just a few of the paradisiacal spots where you can soak up the sun, surf the waves, or simply unwind in the tranquil surroundings. For the adventurous souls, there are opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, and even canopy tours in the nearby rainforests.

      National Parks near Puerto Viejo

      The Cahuita National Park, just a short drive away, offers a unique opportunity to hike along a coastal trail surrounded by lush greenery. Watch for howler monkeys, sloths, and countless bird species as you explore this natural wonder. Another hidden gem is the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, which is just a 30-minute ride away, with pristine beaches and mangroves. 

      Nightlife in Puerto Viejo

      Evenings in Puerto Viejo come alive with reggae rhythms and a relaxed, bohemian vibe. Explore the town’s bars, lounges, and reggae clubs, where you can dance the night away to the sounds of the Caribbean. The nightlife here is far from the hectic party scene you might find elsewhere, making it perfect for those looking to unwind and mingle with locals.

      Shopping in Puerto Viejo

      The town’s streets are lined with colorful stalls and boutiques selling handmade jewelry, clothing, and unique souvenirs. It’s a great place to pick up a memento of your Costa Rican adventure and support local artisans.

      Yoga in Puerto Viejo

      If you’re in need of rejuvenation and self-discovery, Puerto Viejo is also known for its thriving yoga community. Numerous studios and retreat centers offer daily classes, workshops, and even immersive yoga and wellness retreats amidst the tranquil backdrop of the rainforest and ocean.

      street art in San Jose, Costa Rica

      Manzanillo

      Costa Rica’s capital is where you can immerse yourself in the local culture, connect with friendly locals, and set the tone for an off-the-beaten-path Costa Rica itinerary that’s rich in authentic experiences.

      Puerto Viejo4

      How to get to Manzanillo?

      Buses to and from Puerto Viejo run regularly. It takes about 40 minutes to reach.

      Where to stay in Manzanillo?

      There are several beautiful accommodation options in Manzanillo. Some of my favorites are Tranquila and Faith Glamping dome.

      Is Manzanillo safe?

      Yes, but take certain precautions such as not walking on the beach at night.

      Things to do in Manzanillo, Costa Rica

      Wild caribbean beach of Manzanillo at Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

      Beaches & Activities

      Manzanillo’s coastline is a paradise that feels untouched by time.  While you won’t find any beach chairs or amenities, I promise you it is one of the most stunning beaches you will ever see!

      The beaches here are nothing short of idyllic, with golden sands and crystal-clear waters seamed by primary rainforest. The air and the views are simply breathtaking. Spend your days lounging on the beach, swimming in the warm Caribbean Sea, or exploring the coral reefs through snorkeling or scuba diving. The underwater world is a hidden treasure trove of colorful fish and vibrant coral formations.

      National Parks in near Manzanillo

      Right next door, the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge offers an immersive experience in Costa Rica’s diverse ecosystems. Hike through dense rainforests teeming with wildlife, including howler monkeys, sloths, toucans, and the endangered manatee. The trails are well-maintained and provide an opportunity to connect with nature in its purest form.

      Hidden Treasures 

      What truly sets Manzanillo apart is its aura of authenticity. This is a place where you can immerse yourself in the local Afro-Caribbean culture. Chat with friendly locals, savor delicious Caribbean cuisine and feel the reggae and calypso music rhythms that permeate the air. Take the chance to explore the small village and its charming, colorful houses, each with its unique character and story to tell.

      street art in San Jose, Costa Rica

      Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast

      Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast feels much more Latino than the Caribbean. The infrastructure is much better developed in most places, so they are easier to reach and attract many more tourists. However, if you skip the most popular destinations and put a little effort into reaching the rather unknown destinations, you are in for a real treat!

      Peninsula de Osa

      Nestled in the southwestern corner of Costa Rica, Peninsula de Osa is a place that feels like a world unto itself. For travelers seeking to escape the beaten path and explore hidden gems, this remote paradise is an absolute must-visit. Here, nature reigns supreme, and the allure lies in the untouched beauty that unfolds before your eyes.

      Osa Peninsula 11

      How to get to Peninsula de Osa?

      Your journey typically starts with a flight to the nearby town of Puerto Jiménez. From there, you can embark on a scenic drive or take a boat ride to reach the Peninsula. The journey itself is an adventure, offering glimpses of the lush, untamed beauty that awaits. It will take you a day to get there.

      Where to stay in Peninsula de Osa?

      I checked out Poor Man’s Paradise Lodge and Corcovado Guest House and loved both of them!

      Is Peninsula de Osa safe?

      Yes, it's a very safe area.

      Things to do in Peninsula de Osa, Costa Rica

      Sloths in Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica

      Corcovado National Park and Piedras Blancas National Park

      Peninsula de Osa is home to not one but two national parks – Corcovado National Park and Piedras Blancas National Park. Corcovado, often hailed as the “crown jewel” of Costa Rica’s national parks, is a biodiversity hotspot. Hike through pristine rainforests and cross-hanging bridges, and marvel at the rich tapestry of wildlife, including scarlet macaws, tapirs, and jaguars. Piedras Blancas, on the other hand, offers quieter trails, secluded waterfalls, and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting.

      Beaches on Peninsula de Osa

      The Peninsula boasts some of the most pristine and secluded beaches in the country. Whether you’re at Playa Llorona, Playa Blanca, or Playa San Josecito, you’ll find soft sands, azure waters, and an overwhelming sense of serenity. These beaches are a sanctuary for relaxation and a chance to bask in the sun, far from the crowds.

      Hiking Trails on Peninsula de Osa 

      If you’re a hiking enthusiast, Peninsula de Osa is your playground. There are trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels, each offering a chance to immerse yourself in the rainforest’s splendor. The paths are alive with the sounds of nature, and you might encounter troops of howler monkeys, colorful poison dart frogs, and elusive tapirs along the way.

      Other Activities on Peninsula de Osa

      Whether you’re into birdwatching, canopy tours, or kayaking through mangrove forests, Peninsula de Osa offers many activities. Explore the Golfo Dulce, a tropical fjord known for its incredible marine biodiversity, or take a night hike to witness the rainforest’s nocturnal wonders.

      sunset in Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica

      Uvita

      Nestled in the southwestern corner of Costa Rica, Peninsula de Osa is a place that feels like a world unto itself. For travelers seeking to escape the beaten path and explore hidden gems, this remote paradise is an absolute must-visit. Here, nature reigns supreme, and the allure lies in the untouched beauty that unfolds before your eyes.

      Uvita4 1

      How to get to Uvita?

      From Tracopa LTDA Bus Terminal you’ll have to ask for the closest bus going to Uvita. The tickets can be paid in cash only. The trip will be anywhere between 3.5 -4 hours.

      Where to stay in Uvita?

      Arboura Eco Cabins is super close to the beach and super cute!

      La Uvita Perdida has stunning views!

      Is Uvita safe?

      Yes, it's a very safe area.

      Things to do in Uvita, Costa Rica

      Sloths in Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica

      Beaches & Activities

      Uvita’s beaches are nothing short of breathtaking. The iconic Whales Tail, a natural sandbar resembling the tail of a giant whale, awaits at Marino Ballena National Park. It’s a place where you can walk along the spine of the sandbar, surrounded by turquoise waters on both sides, and witness the magic of the Pacific Ocean. Snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking are just a few of the aquatic adventures you can embark on.

      Hiking in Uvita

      Whether you’re trekking through the Marino Ballena National Park or exploring the jungle trails around Uvita Waterfall, every step brings you closer to the heart of this paradise. Other popular options include hiking to the stunning Nauyaca Waterfalls, which involves traversing lush jungle terrain before arriving at these cascading marvels.

      Shopping 

      The town’s streets are dotted with charming boutiques and stalls selling handmade crafts, jewelry, and unique souvenirs. It’s a great place to find one-of-a-kind treasures and support local artisans.

      Yoga & Wellness

      Uvita is a hub for yoga and wellness enthusiasts. Numerous studios and retreat centers offer daily classes, workshops, and immersive yoga and wellness retreats amidst the serene backdrop of the rainforest and ocean. It’s the perfect place to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.

      sunset in Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica

      Montezuma

      The bohemian town of Montezuma is not only super colorful and pretty but also surrounded by beaches on one side and lush rainforest on the other. You’ll find plenty of hiking trails and day-trip opportunities during the day cool hang-out spots, bonfires, and some parties during the nights. It will take you a while to get to Montezuma but the hassle is definitely worth it. 

      Montezuma 7

      How to get to Montezuma from Uvita?

      ow to get to Montezuma from Uvita: To embark on the journey from the tranquil paradise of Uvita to the bohemian haven of Montezuma, you'll experience a delightful combination of road and sea travel. Begin by taking a scenic bus ride from Uvita to the nearby port town of Puntarenas. From there, a ferry ride across the Gulf of Nicoya presents a picturesque opportunity to witness the Pacific's beauty and possibly even spot dolphins playing in the waves. Once you arrive in Paquera on the Nicoya Peninsula, a pleasant drive through lush forests and quaint villages will lead you to Montezuma.

      How to get from Montezuma to San José?

      Take the ferry ride across the Gulf of Nicoya back to Puntarenas. From there its only a 90-minute bus ride back to San José.

      Where to stay in Montezuma?

      Is Montezuma safe?

      Yes, it's a very safe area.

      Things to do in Montezuma, Costa Rica

      waterfalls near Montezuma, Costa Rica

      Beaches near Montezuma 

      The beaches of Montezuma are nothing short of paradisiacal. From Playa Montezuma to Playa Grande, each stretch of coastline invites you to unwind on its golden sands, swim in crystal-clear waters, or simply listen to the gentle lullaby of the ocean waves. It’s a haven for beachcombers and sun-seekers alike.

      Waterfalls in Montezuma

      Montezuma is renowned for its stunning waterfalls, and the hike to the Montezuma Waterfall is a must-do. Wander through lush rainforest trails, cross suspension bridges, and reach the cascading falls that invite you to take a refreshing dip. The sight and sound of the water crashing into the natural pools are a treat for the senses.

      Hiking Trails in Montezuma 

      Nature lovers and adventure seekers will be spoiled for choice with Montezuma’s hiking trails. Explore the Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve, where you can traverse through pristine rainforests and observe diverse wildlife. The hike to the Cabo Blanco’s viewpoint offers panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking.

      Other Activities in Montezuma

      Whether you’re interested in snorkeling, horseback riding on the beach, or taking a yoga class amidst the serene rainforest.

      Boat on beach in Montezuma, Costa Rica

      Practical travel tips for Osa Peninsula

      What is the best time to visit Costa Rica

      Always!

      The best time to visit Costa Rica largely depends on your preferences and the experiences you seek. The country has two primary seasons: the dry season (December to April) and the wet season (May to November). The dry season is ideal for outdoor adventures, with plenty of sunshine, less rainfall, and lush green landscapes. This is the peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices. On the other hand, the wet season offers a unique charm, with fewer tourists, vibrant rainforests, and occasional afternoon showers. It's a great time for wildlife enthusiasts and budget-conscious travelers. Ultimately, the best time to visit Costa Rica depends on whether you prefer dry, sunny days or don't mind a bit of rain while enjoying the country's natural beauty and diverse ecosystems

      Is Costa Rica safe for travelers?

      Costa Rica is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. The country has a stable political environment, a strong rule of law, and a relatively low crime rate compared to some of its Central American neighbors. However, like any other destination, it's essential for travelers to exercise common-sense precautions. This includes safeguarding personal belongings, avoiding poorly lit or deserted areas at night, and staying vigilant in tourist areas where petty theft can occasionally occur.

      How to get to Costa Rica?

      Most travelers arrive by flying into Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José or Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia. These airports serve as the main entry points for international flights. From there, you can access various domestic airports, like Juan Santamaría Airport in San José or Tamarindo Airport in Guanacaste, if you plan to visit different regions of the country. Additionally, Costa Rica offers excellent bus services that connect major cities and towns, making it possible to arrive by land from neighboring countries such as Nicaragua and Panama.

      How can I protect myself from sandflies?

      P

      Buy some handmade coconut oil to protect yourself from sandfly bites! They are especially active during morning and evening hours.

      Can I drink tap water in Costa Rica?

      P

      In Costa Rica, 92.5% of the population, has access to drinking water. The quality of tap water is safe to drink. If you still feel uneasy, bring your self-cleaning bottle. The bottles will keep your water fresh and cool, too!

      What's the biggest challenge for the conscious traveler?

      P

      Trash: bring your collapsable food container & Lifestraw Pro with you to avoid causing plastic pollution.


      Sunscreen: Protect Costa Rica's marine life and wear reef-save sunscreen.

      tanzania travel Zanzibar beaches

      Packing Central America

      Central America is super diverse and offers plenty of things to do. Check out our packing list, and get ready for an incredible adventure!

      Find everything from eco-friendly toiletries to the only travel shoes you’ll ever want to exciting travel gadgets!

      Places to visit in Costa Rica

      Pura vida!

      Capurgana Colombia’s last corner

      Capurgana Colombia’s last corner

      Capurgana

      Colombia
      Things to do in Capurgana

      Last stop: Capurgana!

      Duration: at least one week

      Budget: $ 45 per day

      Stay: Acuali Ecohostal

      Capurgana turned out to be much bigger and livelier than I had anticipated. Stretched along the sea, Capugrana leads the way back to the entrance of the Darien Jungle. The waterfront is the restaurant and nightlife center, while the soccer field in front of the supermarket forms the real center of town. You won’t find the typical tour guides around, yet there are many things to do in Capurgana.

      Capurgana uniquely blends natural scenery, exotic wildlife, and cultural influences from Colombia and Panama. When you look closer, you’ll see that you’ll find influences from all over the world, as Capurgana is a significant stop for many migrating people who are heading further North.

      This being said both Capurgana and Sapzurro are both between the turquoise sea and lush green hills. They are two charming, sleepy, and yet lively villages that are beautiful and moving places to visit; if you are somewhat like me and want to get away from the crowds to explore somewhere different, head to Capurgana and Sapzurro, even though the trip to the relatively remote locations might take some effort.

      • Beaches 90% 90%
      • Daytrips 90% 90%
      • Culture 95% 95%
      • Authentic travel experience 100% 100%

      I have visited Colombia multiple times; it is one of my favorite countries to travel to. As tourism has picked up rapidly over the last couple of years, I felt like venturing off a bit. I first ended up in Necocli before taking a boat and exploring Colombia’s last corners before the Darien Gap leads to Panama.

      Enjoy the beaches in Capurgana

      Capurgana has two beaches, the main one and a smaller bay, where you can sometimes find a little bonfire and a bar. The bigger beach has restaurants, bars, and seating areas right by the water. The two beaches are separated by a 3-5 minute walk along the coast. The walk is super beautiful as the path leads along the rocky coast and is covered by grass and palm trees.

      Kingston 4
      Capurgana 7

      Hike to the El Cielo

      El Cielo, translated into “Heaven,” is about an hour’s walk from town. The waterfall is one of Capurgana’s most popular destinations; you can swim in the natural pool while listening to the soothing sound of cascading water. I found the nature and the view to be absolutely beautiful, yet the way to El Cielo is also the starting point for many seeking to cross the Darien Gap. Seeing the traces of people seeking a better life and taking the chance to the extremely challenging Darien Gap made me think.

      Visit Casa del Plastico

      Hector, the owner of Casa del Plastico built everything from plastic trash which he has collected over the years. He is a lovely, unique, and passionate character who came up with many funny, creative, and useful ideas to give used plastic a new meaning. To find him, simply ask in town for Casa del Plastico. Everyone can lead you the way. If he is home, he will be excited to show you around!

      Capurgana 2
      Downtown Kingston, Jamaica

      Hike from Capurgana to Sapzurro

      One of the most popular activities in Capurgana is the jungle hike that leads all the way to Sapzurro. As hiking is not necessarily my favorite activity, I passed on this one. My newfound Colombian friends made the hike while got ahead at took a scenic 20-minute boat ride to Sapzurro. They really enjoyed the trail through lush green forests, past waterfalls and streams, and over small bridges. There are some stunning viewpoints where you can take a break and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.

      Take a trip to Panama

      As Capurgana is so close to Panama, you can also cross the border to Panama and enjoy some beautiful beaches.

      Capurgana 5

      La Miel

      La Miel is the first town over the border, and it’s a great spot to spend a day. The beach is awe-inspiring, with crystal clear water and plenty of space to relax and enjoy the views. It’s also a popular spot for snorkeling as there are many colorful fish to see in the water. You’ll also find some beach restaurants nearby. The town itself is absolutely charming, too and worth a stroll. You can either reach from Capurgana by boat or walk 40 minutes from Sapzurro. Just be aware if you plan on heading further into Panama, you will need your passport and likely a valid visa. But for a quick day trip, La Miel is the perfect getaway and you do not need a passport.

      Capurgana 15

      Take a trip to San Blas 

      Alternatively, you can go on a multi-day tour to visit the San Blas Islands. These stunning islands are known for their crystal clear water, white sandy beaches, and rich culture, as they are inhabited by the indigenous Guna people. The tours usually include meals and accommodations, making exploring the San Blas Islands hassle-free. If you are planning to continue the trip to Panama, this is definitely the most picturesque way to go. 

      Day trip nearby beaches

      Capurgana 13

      Bahía el Aguacate

      For a more relaxed activity, head to Bahía el Aguacate. This tranquil bay is perfect for swimming and snorkeling with its calm waters and diverse marine life. It’s also a great spot for birdwatching, as many species can be spotted in the area. You can reach Bahía el Aguacate by boat from either Capurgana or Sapzurro.

      Capurgana 14

      Playa Soledad

      Playa Soledad is the perfect spot if you’re looking for a quiet beach to unwind and soak up the sun. You can reach secluded Palaya Soledad either by boat or a hike which only adds to its charm. You can also rent kayaks and explore the nearby mangrove forests. And for those seeking a bit more adventure, there are also opportunities for scuba diving and deep-sea fishing in the area.

      Kingston night market

      Go horseback riding

      I love horseback riding, so I was super pleased to be able to explore Capurgana a bit more by horse. Don’t expect a full-blown guided tour; it’s more like taking a ride out with your neighbor. Going around with horses is still a natural mode of transport, so it was easy to move around town before setting off to explore the green surroundings of Capurgana.

      Get ready to travel Jamaica

      Public Transport in Kingston

      Route Taxis are the way to move around Jamaica. Official route taxis have a red license plate.  In MoBay, you’ll see the route they are catering to written on the doors. Route taxis are the cheapest and most flexible way to move around. Just be careful to enter/exit on the route. Otherwise, you’ll be charged as a charter taxi. In Kingston, the Route Taxis are not as obvious, but they drive the most prominent streets and honk to let you know they are available. 

      Public Bus: The stop for buses to leave from downtown. I couldn’t find a schedule. They seem to go more frequently than the Knutsford.
      Knutsford: Leaving from from the downtown station, Jamaica’s luxury bus connects more significant destinations. Be aware that the time stated refers to calculated driving time and not the actual time to reach a destination. Adding to the driving time are stops and bus switches which are not apparent when buying the ticket. Due to Covid, there are fewer buses than usual, so buying the ticket online is better.

      Is Kingston, Jamaica safe for travelers?

      Downtown Kingston is not the place to just stroll around without knowing anybody. Uptown Kingston is much safer and easier to move around. Generally speaking, Kingston is not the place for walking anywhere after dark, and its best to move around with a driver you know.

      Best Time to Travel

      The climate stays pleasant all year round. It might rain a bit more during hurricane season from June to September, but you still won’t get bored on rainy days!

      Tap water

      Even though Jamaica is considered a third-world country, it provides the best water quality in the region. You are, therefore, safe to drink tap water. This is especially true in the cities. However, if it makes you feel uneasy, bring your Lifestraw pro. It will keep your drinks cold for 24 hrs, too!

      Biggest challenge for the responsible traveler

      Trash

      Make sure to bring a foldable food container and cutlery with you! The amount of waste caused by food sold on the street is incredible.

      Sunscreen

      Make sure to protect Jamaica’s marine life and bring reef-friendly sunscreen!

      tanzania travel Zanzibar beaches

      Packing List Jamaica

      As you see, there are plenty of things to experience in Jamaica. To come fully prepared, check out my packing list for Jamaica, which includes everything from eco-friendly toiletries to sustainable fashion and even the coolest travel gadgets!

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      Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers

      Safety Tips for Solo Female Travelers

      I’m excited to share with you some invaluable safety tips garnered from my own experiences, aiming to equip fellow wanderlust-driven women with the confidence and know-how to explore the world on their own terms, safely and securely.

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