Puerto Viejo de Talamanca: best for food
The cuisine of Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast mixes island spice with Central American heartiness. One of the most beloved dishes is the steamy soup rondón, an exquisite coconut milk concoction studded with cassava, green bananas, fish and shrimp, and laced with blazing Scotch bonnet chilli peppers. Puerto Viejo has grown into a popular seaside destination, but the area holds on to its roots. Taste the Caribbean at Restaurante Elena Brown, on the eastern road out of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.
La Fortuna: best for adventure
For centuries, no-one in La Fortuna knew that a volcano loomed over their town. Farmers who lived in the area referred to the towering peak simply as Cerro Arenal – Arenal Hill. The misnomer didn’t become apparent until the ‘hill’ suddenly rumbled into life.
When Arenal began putting on its regular pyrotechnic displays in the late 1960s, the area drew the attention of international volcanologists as well as thrill-seeking travellers. Seeing lava flows today depends on the volcano’s daily moods, and a lack of clouds around the summit. However, Arenal’s activities have also turned