Rocking J's is owned by an American from Arizona and is located in Puerto Viejo de Limon, Costa Rica. Opening just 2 years ago, it has become one of the most popular destination spots in Costa Rica. In its short existence, it has grown from a group of two bathrooms and showers with two dorms to almost a full-blown traveler’s paradise. Now, including a hammock, it is $5, two dorms are $7, four private rooms are $20, a camping area is $4, tents rented from the hostel (with the camp area) are $6, a tree house with a retractable roof is $60. There is a community kitchen, laundry service for $6 a load, and several hangout spots. All guests get a free storage locker that can easily hold two full-size backpacks and special lockers for surf boards. You get two keys, one for your locker and one that opens both gates, which are locked at 10pm. The hostel sells sodas, water, beer, cigarettes, and some food. From the time you wake up until right after sundown, employees are cleaning from top to bottom. You will be amazed at how clean this hostile stays. At night, the gates at the front and back are locked, and there is a friendly security guard named Henri who you can buy drinks from.
J’s sits on 2 acres of beach-front property right in the heart of the Caribbean. An 8-foot wall surrounds the perimeter with decorative steel dragon structures on top that act as the spikes/barbs. J’s rents surf boards, snorkels, bikes, and spear-fishing gear at reasonably low prices. They even have a massage table with an on-site masseuse (half-hour massage is $20 and a full hour is $30). The beach is beautiful and includes a volleyball net. There is coral is for the first 100 feet out in the water, but there are nice 6- to 8-feet deep pools you can swim around. If you take a 10-minute walk down the beach, you will come to a coral-less white beach called Cocles. From Cocles, you can take a 10-minute walk/swim to a coral island for a 12-35 foot jump off the island into the deep water below. The island is so close that you can see it from the beach at J’s.
J is an awesome guy with a great since of humor and hospitality. He took my friends and I out spearfishing one night free of charge. We caught three fish, two crabs, and three lobsters. Needless to say, that was our dinner the next night. He also has a 3-month-old Australian Blue Healer, the smartest dog I ever seen. She was so smart that she inspired me to get one myself.
The colorful town of Puerto Viejo itself is only a 10-minute walk away from J’s. It sits with a rain forest on one side and the Caribbean coast on the other. Many restaurants and clubs are in town, so you never have a problem finding a place to eat. All meals cost from $1.50 to $8. At night, you can walk the streets with no fear of robbery or harassment. During the heat of the day, you can walk the beach trail to town, which is shaded by many palm and rain forest trees.
This particular trip was my first experience outside the United States. Having never left the country before, I didn’t know what to expect. I spoke no Spanish and had very little experience with foreigners, but everyone in Puerto Viejo is friendly and polite. Many people speak English, and if not, you can still get by. I spent 2 months in Central America, and out of those months, I spent 3 weeks at J’s. I never found a cooler or friendlier place than this. I will definitely be returning next year, or maybe sooner if possible. If you are going to Central America or just Costa Rica, you will be cheating yourself if you don’t stop by Rocking J’s.