Puntarenas is a province in Costa Rica. It is a port town, the main cruise ship port along the country’s Pacific stretch and so aptly referred to as Costa Rica’s gateway to the Pacific. It is also an important tourism area in Costa Rica with its islands, beaches and numerous wonders of nature. Here are some noteworthy places and activities you should add to your list when planning a visit in this part of the world.
What better way to experience a foreign land such as Puntarenas but by taking the Tourist Walk. Paseo de los Turistas is a stretch along the main beach in Puntarenas, from Marino del Pacifico to La Punta. The stroll will reveal a boulevard for tourists and pedestrians with its many kiosks and stalls where you can buy local arts and crafts for souvenirs, Costa Rica’s traditional fruit salad and a frozen drink named Churchills. There are also fields, parks and other services provided for people who flock the area.
Puntarenas, the capital city and the largest one in the province, is a dream destination for tourists, not only for its sandy beaches (Puntarenas means "sand point" in Spanish) but more so for its cultural and historical significance. The Cathedral of Puntarenas, the old Port Military Headquarters facilities and the Parque Mora y Canas are some of the highlights. You may also want to explore the former prison on San Lucas Island. Parque Marino Puntarenas or Puntarenas Marine Park is another tourist favorite. They feature crocodiles, turtles, pelicans and fish tanks with various sea creatures living in the Pacific Ocean. Then you can visit Museo Historico Marino or Historic Marine Museum where history of Puntarenas' indigenous groups, its port area and the diversity of its natural resources are well documented and preserved.
Another tourist spot in the province of Puntarenas is Jaco. It is well known as one of the best surf spots for beginners in Costa Rica due to its beach breaks or sand bottom and the perfect waves during high tides. There are also surfing schools and lots of board rentals to cater to every surfer’s needs. For non-surfers, why not go and witness a real “Visual Masterpiece” in Costa Rica, the Pura Vida Gardens and Waterfalls in Bijagual de Turrubares. This astonishing area of 50 acres of botanical gardens and a 650 feet waterfall, one of Costa Rica’s highest, is such a sight to behold. The mountain, the greeneries and colorful arrays of different flowers, its wildlife, with some state-of-the-art amenities, are a nature lover’s paradise. For a more of a rough and wild experience of Costa Rica’s natural wonder, you can take a tour of horseback riding and hiking that leads to Bijagual Waterfall, three natural pools and a rainforest.
For surfing all year round, come to Santa Teresa. A beach town of bright sun, sparkling sand and crystal clear waters, it is an ideal destination for fishing, snorkeling, kite-surfing and for some relaxation. Take a pick from these three lovely beaches: Playa Hermosa, Playa Santa Teresa and Playa Carmen, and have that dream vacation you’ve been longing for.
Quepos is home to the isolated community of Los Campesinos Reserve or Reserva Los Campesinos. They offer different tours to explore the reserved rainforest. Loads of adventures await thrill-seekers, from hiking to rafting, from swimming to andarivel ride. This is a perfect destination for some unique experiences. La Selvita is another biological reserve you might want to check out. The diverse wildlife, the lush forest, the pristine waters from twin waterfalls Las Gemelas plus numerous activities to enjoy the trip, what more can you ask for?
You can find Costa Rica’s best kept secret within the southern city of Dominical, a small city next to Quepos. The stunning Diamante Falls are a series of seven, yes seven, wonderful waterfalls cascading down a verdant rock face. A rewarding half-an-hour hike will take you to the exhilarating waterfalls at the heart of picturesque sceneries surrounding them, a real close encounter with nature and its magnificence. You might also catch sight of toucans, macaws, sloths, armadillos and other animals living in this area of peace and tranquility. Visiting Diamante Falls is a real must.
Montezuma has three sets of amazing waterfalls, a Mariposa Butterfly Garden, spectacular beaches such as Playa Grande and Playa las Manchas, and the Cabo Blanco Nature Reserve.