Let me just start by saying that that Puerto Viejo Costa Rica is my favorite place in the world right now! The laid back vibe in this small caribbean beach town is simply indescribable. I enjoy going there and letting the beautiful nature, wildlife, food, smells and sounds take me me far away from my problems. Its something about the way that the beach disappears into the rainforest!
I have never been in a place where I can come out of my dwelling and look up into the trees to see a family of howler monkeys frolicking with each other. I have also never been to a place where I have seen such a high number of black people surfing, along with surfers around the world that aim to conquer the Salsa Brava, which is said to be one of, if not the biggest waves in Costa Rica. Another first for me is the black sand beaches at Playa Negra.
This town has a very interesting multicultural mix. Indigenous Costa Ricans, Afro Caribbean Costa Ricans, Jamaicans, and a revolving door of seasonal and permanent tourists and backpackers. The latter groups definitely have affected the atmosphere of the place, and contributed in providing a very cosmopolitan feel. Below are photos that I took with different groups of Afro Caribbean Ticos (nickname Costa Rican people).
While the local flavor of Puerto Viejo is so rich and cultural, the town is also fast becoming a preferred tourist destination in Costa Rica. People are starting to realize just how enchanting and still relatively undiscovered this paradise getaway is. The price for a week stay in Puerto Viejo (depending on your lifestyle) is extremely manageable on almost any budget. When you go to Puerto you meet many locals, and many people from all over the world. One thing that all of these groups like to do is visit a place called The Lazy Mon at Stanfords!!
The Lazy Mon is a sports bar, that also has a loft above the bar called The Lazy Loft. The rates at the Lazy loft are extremely affordable click here to see! For me, however, as a musician I feel that their biggest draw is the open Jam that they have on Sundays. This is where literally people from all over the world, all passing through on different points of their travels can get together and share the common language of music. I met some of the best musicians performing at the Lazy Mon on Sunday nights. I have performed at about 2 of the Open Jams on 2 different trips and one time I was asked to come down and perform with local Puerto Viejo artist B1 for his birthday party show. One of the Sundays that I participated in the show, there were at least 250 people that came out to drink and experience live music all while still hearing the serene waves rushing in from the Caribbean.
Anyone that has been to the Lazy Mon at Stanfords can appreciate the beauty of it’s location and operation. The hospitality, the friendly smiles, the sounds of the waves caressing the beach, the roar of howler monkeys in the morning and the tropical birds chirping. I want to highlight something different about this place though, something that intrigued me! The story of the creation of The Lazy Mon dates back to the year 2010 where some friends from the States came down to Puerto Viejo and started this business, that has provided the community with jobs and a new and innovative cultural outlet! I caught up with Khalil Chapman, one of the owners of The Lazy Mon . An ambitious young African American male bitten by the same travel bug that caught me. I asked him how he ended up in Puerto Viejo and how he and his partners were able to start such a village staple in only a couple years. The video below shows that interview.