The Mango Walk of Puerto Viejo

There are so many vivid memories from my week of chocolate exploration in Costa Rica, I’m not quite sure where to start! So I’ll begin with the fabulous guesthouse that hosted me during my visit to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.


mango walk puerto viejo is a great place to stay

The Mango Walk is the brainchild of Jeff and Sherry Ghiotto, childhood sweethearts from Florida who moved to Costa Rica a few years ago after building their dream home–which they now share with chocolate lovers to the Puerto Viejo area.

owners of mango walk puerto viejo

Sherry and Jeff Ghiotto captured on film by their daughter Jessica Ghiotto of JAG Photography during Halloween celebrations, 2014.

The Ghiottos have a cacao forest on their property that has been restored for cocoa production with the help of Paul Johnson of Caribeans Chocolate and Coffee Roastery. You’ll meet Paul and his wife Jeanne in a future post on this blog.

I had the pleasure and privilege of staying on the second floor of The Mango Walk, which offers splendid views of the Caribbean Sea, as well as a natural environment with no less than 50 shades of green, resident sloths and howler monkeys.

my view at mango walk puerto viejo

There is a wrap-around deck complete with hammock for those lazy days when you just want to chill. My brief time in Costa Rica allowed no time for that, but I would highly recommend this property for those who relish seclusion and an immersion in nature combined with the occasional intrusion from creatures of the dark.


Thanks to Jessica Ghiotto who shared this remarkable space with me, and showed me how to be brave and self-reliant when it came to removing unwanted visitors from our abode. I was so amazed with this moth (whose wing-span was no less than four inches) that I just let him stay as long as he wanted.

Have you been to Puerto Viejo or the jungles of Costa Rica? What images are most engraved in your mind? Did you encounter any extra large members of the insect world that stopped you in your path? Have you stayed in a guesthouse on your travels?

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

42 Responses

  1. A room with a view to the caribbean sea and to a cocoa forest. That`s a great combination 😉
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  2. Catarina says:

    Would love to be staying at the Mango Walk right now with autumn beginning to get a bit frosty. Mindsurfing on the veranda there would be bliss.
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    • Doreen says:

      Hi Catarina and thanks for your comment. Yes, the Mango Walk is perfect for blissful contemplation. Very quiet and peaceful, with plenty of beautiful distractions.

      You are fortunate that the weather in Sweden is only getting ‘a bit frosty.’ We have snow in Manitoba and it’s already darn cold!
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  3. Cheryl says:

    I have not been there, but Costa Rica is on our list of possible future travel places. Everyone who has been there, including you, have returned with glowing reviews.
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    • Doreen says:

      Hi Cheryl: I agree. I’ve not yet met anyone who did not enjoy their time in Costa Rica. The people are great, it’s gorgeous, has interesting wildlife (large and small!), is safe, affordable, and now … offers some great artisanal chocolate and chocolate experiences. Stay tuned for more on that!
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  4. Chris says:

    What a stunning location to indulge in your passion!
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  5. Friend of mine lives in Costa Rica. Now I have one more reason to go and visit her! Amazing!

    • Doreen says:

      Hi Milan and welcome to the blog! Yes, this post gives you insight into just one place in Costa Rica.I really advise that you subscribe to the blog, as I’ll be having a series of posts that will give you further insight into this great destination.
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  6. Johanna says:

    I’d love to visit the jungles of Costa Rica. Wow, that moth was HUGE. I think I might have had to encourage his departure to the great outdoors!
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    • Doreen says:

      Hi Johanna and welcome to the blog!

      You will likely find after visiting more jungle regions, that you become more tolerant to other forms of life than you otherwise would, and as long as something is not toxic or harmful, it’s easier and preferable to just let it be.
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  7. This sounds like such a lovely place to relax! Sorry you didn’t really get a chance to. Next time. 😉
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  8. It looks amazing! I stayed in a similar place in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef. It was like staying in a treehouse. My city slicker husband did not find it quaint like I did at all. I will have to live vicariously through you and your wonderful photos!
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    • Doreen says:

      Hi Suzanne and Thx for stopping by. Definitely not the right place for everyone. You have to be fit or at least have access to a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get up and down the hill. The view was fab, but next time, I’d love to stay at a beachfront establishment.

  9. I admire your courage in co-habitating with the moth! That was a big one!! Are you sure it wasn’t a bird? 🙂
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  10. So did the howler monkeys make a lot of noise? I’ve always wondered about that which probably shows that I have too much free time on my hands! The lodge looks lovely and I look forward to hearing about the chocolate too! Somehow I haven’t made it to Costa Rica yet but I’ve never heard of anyone going there and not enjoying it so it needs to be put on the endless list…
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    • Doreen says:

      Hi Kay: YES, the howler monkeys were very noisy! They woke me up most mornings. They have a rather haunting howl, but they are allusive, and I didn’t catch a glimpse of one during my stay.

      Yes, the list of places to see keeps on growing doesn’t it? Gratefully, the list of places we’ve seen continues to grow, so it all balances out. 🙂
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      • Oliver says:

        @Doreen: We rented prior to your arrival…funny, the howlers were parked in the huge mango tree next to the house for the whole week while we were there. They woke us up at 4:45 every morning. It was a beautiful place, I would go back to in a second. You could not ask for better hosts. Hopefully you had a chance to try Lazlos fish for dinner?

        • Doreen says:

          Hi Oliver. I see you’re from Canada! In what province are you located?

          I heard the howler monkeys at Mango Walk every day, but never saw them once! You are fortunate that you did.

          You ask about Lazlos fish? Are you speaking of the smoked variety? We did have fish one night for dinner, but I think it was Talapia. Very delish. I found the food in Puerto Viejo to be excellent — probably because of the multi-ethnic presence. As you say … I’d love to go back!
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  11. What a lovely respite The Mango Walk must be. I’ve heard the stories about the howler monkeys and others with whom Costa Rica is shared. Good on you for swallowing your fear with that enormous moth. I hope I could maintain the same amount of calm.
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    • Doreen says:

      Hi Betsy. Yes, I’d say “respite” is the perfect word for the Mango Walk. It really is a place for rest and relaxation and to catch up on your reading in a beautifully serene environ. And if you’re feeling energetic, there are lovely trails you can explore on the property and in the area.
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  12. The Mango Walk sounds fabulous but I wasn’t clear on whether it is open to the public?

  13. Nancie says:

    Hi Doreen! I have not been to Costa Rica. When I go I will definitely keep the Mango Walk in mind. Looks like a fab place to spend a few days, or maybe longer.
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  14. I’ve seen moths that large in Aguas Caliente at the foot of Machu Pichu and they can be daunting. They’re benign. You had the best strategy – let it be! Loved that you were on a Chocolate Tour and I’ll definitely look into the Mango House when I finally visit Costa Rico.
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    • Doreen says:

      Thanks for your comment, Elaine, and welcome to the blog!

      Yes, it’s definitely taken intent on my part to just let the creatures be. My first instinct was always to kill/dispose of them. But as long as I have the mosquito netting to sleep under, I don’t mind if they hang out and share the same space as me. Afterall, their species was there long before mine!
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  15. The Mango Walk looks fab! Glad you learned how to deal with the critters.
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    • Doreen says:

      Thanks, Billie. It’s hard to believe that when I was a kid, I was scared of mosquitoes! These days, I’m finding myself doing jungle visits where I’m encountering all sorts of insect life without losing my cool. Thanks goodness, because you can’t go into the rainforest and visit cacao plantations if you’re afraid to get dirty or meet up with some unusual critters. Cheers!
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  16. The Mango Walk looks like an amazing property ( love that view) and it’s very admirable that the owners have restored production within the cacao forest.

  17. alison says:

    I have not been to Costa Rica-but have been making a list and Mango Walk gets added. Now you didn’t say-were there mangoes there? That would seal the deal for me!
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    • Doreen says:

      Hi Alison and thanks for your comment. Yes, there are indeed mangoes at The Mango Walk. You’ll see them high in the trees surrounding the guesthouse. And Paul at Caribeans (who has a cool coffee shop down the hill) made me a superb breakfast one day with assorted local fruits, granola, yogurt, and of course … cocoa nibs. Yummm …
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  18. What a lovely place! I love the reference to “creatures of the dark” 🙂 I guess that’s just to be expected from beautiful Costa Rica. Thanks for sharing!
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  19. Sounds heavenly (even with your little visitors!!). Excellent photos too!!

  20. The Mango Walk looks beautiful and peaceful. I love the deck and the view. I haven’t been to Costa Rica, but hope to get in the not too distant future.

    • Doreen says:

      Thx for your comment, Donna. There are many faces to Costa Rica. If you’re looking for a beach vacation, the Mango Walk is not for you. But if you’re looking for serenity and the opportunity to connect with nature and learn more about the world of chocolate and cacao, the Mango Walk is an awesome place to stay. It will definitely be featured in the next volume of Chocolatour.
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