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Puntarenas

Country
Costa Rica
State
Puntarenas
City
Puntarenas
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

Puntarenas is the capital and largest city in the province Puntarenas,Costa Rica,at the Pacific coast. The eponymous and oddly shaped province has its largest section in the South,far from the capital.Some 100,000 live in the city and close towns.With beaches on the Pacific Ocean,it also attracts many touristsespecially surfers.It is also a possible stopover point for the touristy Monteverde,further inland.Its port,Caldera,is one of the main ports in the country.Also,regularly scheduled ferries carry vehicles from Puntarenas to the Nicoya Peninsula.

With the railroad connection to the Central Valley,the Pacific port's activities continued to be a major part of the region's economy throughout the 20th century.However,due to the aging and deterioration of the port facilities and the need to accommodate the much larger vessels of modern shipping fleets,a new port was constructed in the 1980s to the south of Puntarenas.The site chosen was Caldera,where ships had anchored during colonial times.

First known as Villa Bruselas in colonial times,Puntarenas was discovered by Hernan Ponce de Leon in 1519.Despite the use of the Gulf of Nicoya as an entryway to Costa Rica's inland territory, the port of Puntarenas was not developed until 1840 when coffee production in the highlands reached exportable volumes.In 1845 the Congress of the Republic declared Puntarenas a duty free port with the exception of Cognac and hard liquor.Originally, the coffee was brought to port in oxcarts via a trail through the mountains. In 1879,a stretch of railroad track was completed which connected Puntarenas with the town of Esparza one of the country's earliest Spanish settlements,founded in 1554,a decade before the Central Valley began to be colonized where the oxcart trail came out of the mountains.Eventually, the railroad was built all the way through to San Jose and service was inaugurated in 1910.

With the railroad connection to the Central Valley,the Pacific port's activities continued to be a major part of the region's economy throughout the 20th century.However,due to the aging and deterioration of the port facilities and the need to accommodate the much larger vessels of modern shipping fleets,a new port was constructed in the 1980s to the south of Puntarenas.The site chosen was Caldera,where ships had anchored during colonial times.



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How to Reach

By Air

the nearest airport is from San Jose.you can take a taxi available in front of the airport,once you leave baggage claim to the bus depot in San Jose. From there, you can take a bus to Puntarenas.The trip will take a couple hours depending on traffic and weather conditions,but its inexpensive.

By Ferries

ferries from Playa Naranjo and Paquera in the Nicoya Peninsula buses from San Jose,Quepos (via Jaco),Monteverde.

By Bus

Local buses leave from downtown and are relatively inexpensive.For travel to places outside of Puntarenas (ie, Jaco, Manuel Antonio, etc) there's a main bus station.Buses are usually on time and sometimes even leave early,so plan accordingly.Don't be surprised to see vendors on buses selling snacks and drinks.

Key places to visit
Mangrove Forest, Puntarenas Beaches, Isla Jesusita, Historical Maritime Museum, Rio Barranga Mouth, Playas De Dona Ana, Esparza, White Beach


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Places to Visit

Mangrove Forest

In the estuary above the north side of the peninsula.Crocodiles,herons and red snappers can be found in and around the mangrove forest that grows here.The forest can be seen from any pier on the north side of the city,and some fishermen with small boats on these piers may be able to take you for a small tour if asked and offered compensation.

Puntarenas Beaches

These beaches stretch along Puntarenas entire coast between the mouth of the Rio Barranca and the place known as La Punta,where this extensive length of shoreline ends.The area between the wharf (Cruise Ship Terminal) and La Punta is the preferred place for swimmers running parallel to this stretch is the Paseo de los Turistas,with its numerous hotels,restaurants,bars and other services.Besides swimming,visitors can enjoy other water sports and activities,such as boat tours.

Isla Jesusita

This island is located very close to and northeast of Isla Cedros.Its 30-hectare area shelters a tropical dry forest, transitioning to wet forest.On the northeast part of the island is a rocky coast and lovely beach.Another beach may be found on the south side of the island.

Historical Maritime Museum

Located in Puntarenas’ old quarter,this museum was restored to also accommodate the House of Culture,an amphitheater and the public library.The House of Culture features month-long painting and sculpture exhibitions,while the amphitheater offers monthly plays,dance and music.

Right Time to Visit

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Temperature

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