1. Most importantly it’s completely unpretentious. There are no designer boutiques, and there isn’t this obsession with brands and physical appearance that is over prioritized in the US, Asia and Europe. That’s huge for me, because I love people with authentic personalities and a real set of values. When people focus on looks and brands, they tend to forget who they are and everyone starts acting like they are in a commercial or something. Thailand is considered the most beauty obsessed country in the world, and that’s probably the only thing I don’t particularly like about it. Judgment is passed immediately based primarily on how light their skin is, secondly by how expensive their clothes are, and THEN personality/intelligence/character/morality factor in…
2. Bicycles and pedestrians rule the road in Puerto Viejo. Automobiles and motorbikes are in the minority and yield to push-bikes and walkers. I love this. Cars and motorbikes are loud, fast, isolating and they pollute. You can be social while walking and biking, something you can’t do while driving, which makes for a sense of community. Coupled with the fact that people don’t have their heads shoved up their judgmental, perfumed & bleached asses, you actually meet nice open genuine unique people.
3. Health, sustainability and general welfare are priorities for both the people and businesses in the region. Having to walk and bike means everyone is constantly exercising without it feeling like going to the gym or shooting up steroids. They exercise for the purpose of health and happiness, not to impress people they don’t even know. The restaurants use locally grown food and organic produce just out of habit, and they don’t triple the price and get all snobby and elitist about it.
4. The beaches are abundant, beautiful and very loud. Puerto Viejo beaches aren’t the best for swimming because the waves and currents are strong, but they are simply stunning. No matter where you are or where you are going you constantly hear the waves crashing on the beach. That’s a medicine all of its own.
5. The weather is great. It’s hot and humid and consistent. You will sweat a lot, and that’s ok because everyone else will be sweating there right with you. It feels natural and healthy. Most people wake up early and get their work done while it’s still bearable, then the afternoons and evenings are spent socializing and relaxing.
6. Nobody is stressed out and rushing around. I mean come on. It’s like the hippieville of Latin America and everyone is riding their bikes around in wet heat smoking joints and chit chatting with people as they ride along. There is really no place for stress. I could literally go on and on, but I think you get the picture. It’s definitely not meant for everyone, but for this guy, it’s heaven on Earth… Puerto Viejo, Pura Vida!