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After quite a few years of absence, I finally managed to visit Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast again. I resorted to Bocas del Toro the past years, but finally decided it was time to visit good old Puerto Viejo again. And man, was I surprised. Whapin?

Well, what did happen is what I like to call “Tamarindofication” – the town has become immersed in tourism – or rather, eaten up. And now it looks just like Tamarindo on the Pacific side of Costa Rica. Tamarindo was probably the fastest growing town between 2000 and 2008: from a remote fisher village it became Costa Rica’s main beach resort, including Subway’s, banks, real estate agencies (almost more than land available) and spring break tourists from the US. It completely lost its identity and most of its charme.

Now, almost the same has happened to Puerto Viejo. It has lost a big deal of its charme – giving way to souvenir stands and restaurants serving American and European food. And what’s more: Puerto Viejo seems to have lost its Rastas. Maybe you just don’t notice them as much because they vanish in the mass of white skinned tourists. But I say: they have disappeared. Puerto Viejo has lost a great deal of its Caribbean and “Rastafarian” identity – maybe the local chilled out blacks have been driven out by rising real estate prices, maybe they just found a more laid-back place. I haven’t found out yet. If any of you has an idea of what could have happened, I’d be glad to hear about is…


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