Nearly 100,000 residents and countless visitors keep the lively Costa Rican city of Puntarenas bustling. Costa Rica’s largest province, Puntarenas is divided into two sections, the north, which extends past Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific Coast, and south, reaching the Panama border.
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Located amid the Gulf of Nicoya, the town’s port served as an important hub for coffee exports beginning in 1840. Today, it is mostly used for seafood and fish exports. The ferry terminal provides easy access to the stunning beaches and protected forests of the Nicoya Peninsula.
Visitors can roam the city’s main boulevard, Paseo de los Turistas, and visit the Parque Marino del Pacífico’s educational aquarium and rescue center with seahorses, turtles, crocodiles and fish.
The local beach, Playa Puntarenas, offers cozy restaurants and shops, plus lovely mountain views along its warm sands. Soak up some sun before heading to Casa de la Cultura to absorb its impressive paintings, huge outdoor sculptures, cultural events and performances.
What To Do
Visit the spectacular Arenal Volcano approximately three-and-a-half hours from Puntarenas.
View the impressive Cathedral of Our Lady of the Carmen, constructed with stone and mortar in 1902.
Stroll along the Paseo de los Turistas, with its unique architecture, reminiscent of the 1950s. Relax on the grounds of La Parque Victoria.
Visit the city’s colorful art galleries and explore the intriguing sharks, crocodiles and turtles of the Pacific Marine Park aquarium.
When to Go
Those seeking eternal sunshine should visit between January and March, when rainfall is lowest.
The rain in Puntarenas helps keep the region lush. The tropical climate of Costa Rica, located a mere 10 degrees or so north of the equator, is balmy and warm. Temperatures generally remain between 68 F and 86 F.
Puntarenas and the country’s Pacific coastal region remain a bit dryer than the Caribbean area.
Whatever month or season you arrive, you’re practically guaranteed at least five hours of sunshine in tropical Puntarenas.