Last night I decided to go and sample the Puerto Viejo nightlife because when I go somewhere and don’t party, I always feel annoyed because I’ll never know what I missed. People had said Puerto Viejo was full of reggae etc, but from what I’d seen in the day time, I was thinking the parties would be like the majority in Bocas… a bit of reggae but not really any new tunes, just a few normal ones to make the tourists feel like they’re in this really cool Caribbean place, but actually if you know about reggae the sets are normally quite boring.
I walked to town with a guy from the hostel because he said he was heading there to get some food. He was ok but at the end of the day he obviously wasn’t going to be a good party buddy for me because 1) he’s a boy and 2) he isn’t obsessed with reggae/dancehall like me, so I was hoping to get rid of him as soon as we got to town, in the nicest way possible. This didn’t happen and we went to drink a beer together (I don’t even really like beer, but he paid so whatever) at Lazy Mon, the (apparently) most popular Saturday night party here.
The inside area had the bar and a table tennis table but most people were either completely outside sitting at one of the many tables, or under the covered dancing area with the DJ etc. It was only a few metres from the sea. It was 75% tourists (like La Iguana bar in Bocas) but I was surprised at the tunes they were playing… it seemed like the DJ actually liked reggae/dancehall and knew a lot about it.
If I’d have been with one of my party friends, we would have gone and danced straight away but I had to sit at a table and drink a beer with the guy and make pointless conversation, until (thank God) it started raining and people all went to the dance area and to the inside part. I conveniently lost him at this point and danced in the corner of the dance area (I always like having a corner/wall so that annoying boys can’t try and dance with me so easily, and I can get out to the toilet etc without having to push through crowds of people).
As I was suspecting, the good music didn’t last long, and the DJ had to play American stuff for the tourists. As soon as it changed I walked out and on my way, asked a local guy where the other Saturday night parties are. He told me “Johnny’s Place or Mangoes” and pointed along the beach to the right, so I walked that way.
After a few minutes I came to Johnny’s Place and I could tell within 2 seconds that it was more what I was looking for. Again, the building was quite small (more of a bar than a club) but it was on the beach so loads of people had their cars parked there and were drinking around the cars with their friends etc, like what happens in Jamaica.
It really could easily have been in Jamaica. There were loads of girls with giant bums wearing tight short shorts and little tops, moving their bums all night, and loads of tall black dreadlock guys with bottles of rum on top of their cars, smoking, talking to girls and dancing with them all night. There were also a few stands selling fried chicken etc.
Obviously I was by myself so I didn’t have a crazy night like these people, but I can imagine how cool it would be to be part of it. There were only about 5 tourists in the whole party and a LOT of local people. They wouldn’t all have fitted if they tried to be inside the building at the same time.
The crowd was quite young, like 18 – 22 (to be honest I think some were 16) and they were having a GOOD time. There were bottles of alcohol EVERYWHERE and I’m pretty sure a lot of sex and drugs related activities were happening in the cars. There is really nothing like this in Bocas, and at most of the parties there aren’t that many girls because it seems that they have other responsibilities (mainly looking after their babies).
The DJs were amazing, playing my favourite tunes that I hadn’t heard in a party for years, and mixing like professionals. I think on the other nights they play different music as well, but this time was pure dancehall and reggae. I probably won’t ever end up back here in my life, but if I do, I’ll know to come with a group of girls in crop tops and shorts, and a bottle of rum, prepared to stay out wiggling our bums until the sun comes up.