Our Opinion of Puntarenas
Puntarenas is one of the most important tourist regions of Costa Rica. Its coasts are decked by plenty of islands, inlets, beaches and beautiful natural treasures, which makes Puntarenas a tourist destiny by excellence. Its territory offers a wide range of attractions supported by the sun and the beach, which are complemented with protected zones, continental and insular areas.
Puntarenas city offers hotels and cabins near the sea, and the well known all-included packages prevail in it's tourist development. Cabo Blanco Absolute Nature Preserve, and San Lucas, Chira, Tortuga and Coco's Islands stand out.
Blessed with seemingly endless beaches, Puntarenas has more then its fair share of beaches to explore. The beaches, located between the wharf and La Punta, are the preferred places for swimmers. Also popular are the beaches in the vicinity of Port Caldera.
In South Puntarenas province the following beaches are recommended: Playa Cabuya, Playa Carmen, Playa Cocalito, Playa Dominical, Playa Mal País, Playa Montezuma, Playa Tambor, Playa Quisales, Playa Santa Teresa, Playa Tivives, Playa de Dona Ana.
There are numerous little islands with fantastic beaches on them. There include Isla Jesusita, Isla Cedros, Isla Muertos, Isla Pan de Azucar, Isla Caballo, Isla Bejuco, Isla Venado, and Isla Chira.
Going into North Puntarenas, the beaches are known as a surfers' haven due to consistently high surf, the most frequented beaches are Playa Jaco, Playa Hermosa and Playa Herradura. A little farther down the coast, you will find the Manuel Antonio National Park which has several little great beaches, such as Punta Leona, Playa Espadilla Sur and Playa Manuel Antoni
Things to know about Puntarenas, Costa Rica Vacations
Activities & Sports
One of the best ways to explore more rural areas is on horseback. There are many excursions to choose from. Hiking and mountain biking trails are also plentiful in the many forest, parks and reserves. Rafting and kayaking trips can also be arranged through excursion companies.
Golfers can enjoy some of the best golf courses in Central America. Although you may have to travel a bit outside of Puntarenas for top courses, these courses are worth the travel time: Parque Valle del Sol in Santa Ana, the Garra de Leon Golf Course, Hacienda Pinilla Golf & Country Club, Royal Pacific Golf & Country Club, Los Suenos Golf Course.
Besides offering every aquatic sports imaginable, Jaco Beach's surfing is one of the best surfing destinations in Costa Rica. It is centrally located to easily access a variety of surf breaks up and down the coast for all levels of surfers.
Dining & Nightlife
Besides the occasional discotheque within the major resorts, the nightlife of Puntarenas is very quiet with a handful of bars along the Paseo de los Turistas.
A fun and economical meal is at one of the many open-air snack bars, called sodas, along the Paseo de los Turistas. Here you will find on the menu sandwiches, ceviche and fish meals.
When you crave a more traditional restaurant setting seafood restaurants are your best bets. Try the Caribbean Breeze or Capitan Moreno, Restaurant Aloha, or La Yunta Steakhouse.
Most visitors to Puntarenas will leave with some delicious Kona coffee. There are several craft stands located by the pier and along the beach promenade. You will also find plenty of tourist shops along the Paseo de los Turistas.
Languages: Spanish, some English.
Currency: The Colon. US dollars are widely accepted. ATM's are not easy to find and the Cirrus system is not compatible everywhere.
Climate: The temperature ranges between 24°C and 31°C.
Electricity: 110 V, 60 Hz.
Canadian citizens require a passport that is valid until 30 days after their scheduled return. For all other nationalities, consult your consulate or Costa Rican Tourist Board for details.
Note: Each travelling passenger is responsible to pay a local departure tax in US dollars. This fee is payable in cash at the airport in destination prior to boarding your flight. The departure tax is $27.40 US per person (subject to change). Note only US Cash or equivalent Costa Rican Colon are accepted.
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