Puerto Viejo is a nice relaxing town on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. We are a couple from Canada and travelled there in March 2013.
We took Interbus from San Jose for $45 each, hotel pick and drop-off was great. The trip took 3-4 hours but was nice. We rented bikes one day and biked to Manzanillo (12kms away) stopping in to all the beaches along the way, it was beautiful. We saw monkeys, spiders, ants,a sloth and lots of birds just on the bike ride. Manzanillo was pretty dead when we got thereso Puerto Viejo is the place to stay on this side. The area is beautiful and relaxing, and has a peaceful natural vibe. It is a great place to check out a variety of wildlife and nature. The Jaguar Rescue Centre is close by and worth visiting, lots of injured animals getting rehab by the generous volunteers there. Recommend Lazlo's for fresh fish Supper in town, small place and always busy for dinner. Playa Cocles is the nicest beach in the area IMO.. Grab lunch at 'Tasty Waves' and walk across the street for lunch on the beach (great Burritos)and watch the surfers.