Costa Rica

Published on December 28th, 2017 | by Mark Chesnut


“My Costa Rica” — John Netland & Eric Yule on Puerto Viejo Life

The Caribbean coastal town called Puerto Viejo is one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica to enjoy sun, sand and nature. John Peter Netland, who hails from Minnesota, and Eric Alexander Yule, who’s a Montreal native, liked it so much that they’ve settled down here. Their lovely boutique hotel, Casa Corazon del Mar, features strikingly creative architecture set among lush foliage.

In this interview, Yule and Netland share their insight about life in Puerto Viejo. You’ll find great insider Costa Rica travel tips to help make that next vacation shine.

John Netland and Eric Yule, at Casa Corazon Del Mar hotel in Costa Rica.

When did you first visit Costa Rica?
We first came to Costa Rica on our honeymoon in 2006. We chose to come here to visit a mutual friend who had been in Puerto Viejo for many years; before we left we had a handshake deal to buy our land. This was not our plan, but it began our journey to establish ourselves here. We have been coming here on vacation since then, and moved here three and a half  years ago, in 2014.

What do you like most about Puerto Viejo?
We really like the local community. It is very international and supportive. We have had wonderful business experiences here, and made numerous connections within the gay community and local community. Our experience has been one of mutual respect and support.

Casa Corazon Del Mar hotel in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has been on the LGBT travel map for a long time. What’s the gay community like in Puerto Viejo?
There was a small but burgeoning gay population here. The community is open, and we liked what we saw we we first visited .Since then, the gay community has grown. Many of our gay friends are also local business owners.

How did you decide to start your hotel?
We decided to build Casa Corazon del Mar as a way to share our experience with other travelers. Puerto Viejo has also provided an opportunity for Eric to pursue his passion for real estate. Moving here has also allowed John to build and design homes and gardens. Both of us agree this was the right choice for us having left the hustle of downtown Toronto behind. We love every day here.

How would you describe Puerto Viejo for people looking for a Costa Rica vacation?
Puerto Viejo as a destination offers as much or as little as you want to do. As … an LGBT destination, in terms of safety and acceptance, Puerto Viejo is a town of live and let live. It is a non issue. The beaches and jungle are still pristine. There are no crowds, It is a place to where you can immerse yourself in nature. It strikes a great balance of adventure and comfort.

What surprises travelers most about Puerto Viejo?
The thing that would surprise gay travelers most is the mix of food, cultures, and the amount of things to do. There are many small International communities in Puerto Viejo, and nearby.

What are your insider Costa Rica travel tips for enjoying Puerto Viejo?
Some of the things I would recommend doing: The ARA project (a reintroduction of the great green macaw to the Caribbean coast), Jaguar animal rescue center, Cahuita National Park, Punta Uva beach, Manzanillo beach, chocolate tours, waterfall tours, zip lining, surfing.

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About the Author

The founder and editor of, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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