Sitting on a narrow peninsula in the Gulf of Nicoya, Puntarenas is a gateway to exploring the best of Costa Rica’s natural beauty and ecological diversity. It is also the country’s most important fishing port and a popular holiday destination for Costa Ricans.
How to Get to Puntarenas
If you are lucky, your ship will dock right in Puntarenas; other cruise ships may dock at Puerto Caldera, which is 20 minutes away from Puntarenas by taxi. In Puntarenas, you will arrive at the base of the Paseo de las Turistas, the main tourist drag.
One Day in Puntarenas
Without much to see in Puntarenas itself, you will most likely spend your day on an excursion. The Monteverde Cloud Forest, Poas Volcano National Park and the Carara National Park are all popular day trip destinations and possible activities include horseback riding or hiking through the rainforest, kayaking, whitewater rafting, birdwatching and ziplining.
If you are looking for a slightly more relaxing way to spend your day, you might try a visit to the town of Sarchi, about 40 minutes from Puntarenas. The drive itself is pleasant and the town offers a variety of unique souvenirs including colorful crafts and leather goods. Or, arrange an excursion to a local coffee plantation, where you can learn about the coffee-making process and sample some of Costa Rica’s best brews.
For those who opt to hang around town, you can stroll along the Paseo de las Turistas, a beachfront walkway that is bursting with shops, open air food counters and restaurants.
Spanish is the official language in Costa Rica, but those in the tourist industry will likely speak and understand some English. The local currency is the Costa Rican colon, but most merchants and taxi drivers will accept US dollars, giving you change in colones.