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This former domestic tourism hotspot is still a great place to relax and explore local culture as you wait for a ferry to the Nicoya Peninsula and beyond.

Puntarenas is a coastal town located close to the Costa Rican capital of San Jose, and was a popular get away for locals in the past. These days, Puntarenas is known more as a ferry terminal gateway to the stunning Southern beaches of Nicoya and the Isla del Coco. That said, this vibrant and bustling market town still has a lot to offer a curious traveller, particularly if you want to see what life is like for Ticos (slang for Costa Ricans) who live in the city.

Why not stay for a night or two and see what Puntarenas has to offer? You just might find a few treasures.

The Area

Puntarenas is the capital of the Province of Puntarenas, located on the country’s Pacific coast. Historically this was the most popular place for domestic tourists, as it is just an hour by car from the capital. Today the beach simply isn’t what it used to be, but there is still a nice stretch of sand, and some delicious culinary tourism.

The city’s name combined Punta – point -  and Arenas – sands. While it is the capital of Puntarenas Province, it isn’t its largest city. That designation goes to Barranca, at 32,000 residents, while Puntarenas city comes in at 31,000. Its port, Caldera, is the oldest in Costa Rica, and ferries eager travellers to the white sands of the Nicoya Peninsula and nearby islands.

Best Time to Go

December is one of the best months to visit Puntarenas, as the weather is warm but accommodation prices tend to be lower than average (that is, until the week of Christmas and New Year’s Eve). The tourist high season runs from January through to March, when the weather is reliably warm and dry. Avoid the Easter week if you don’t like crowds, as this week can be very busy with international and domestic tourists alike.

The rains start to fall heavily between May and October, and afternoon thunderstorms are common. That said, you can snag some great prices during this season – if you don’t mind getting a little (or a lot) wet!

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Why book with Latin Routes?

PERSONAL
  • All of our holidays are Truly Individual - you choose the destinations, inclusions & budget.
  • From charming guesthouses to 5* luxury, choose the accommodation to suit you.
  • Our Travel Specialists will help you to create your perfect holiday to Latin America.
SPECIALISTS
  • We only cover Latin America & Antarctica, which ensures we know our destinations, inside out.
  • All our Travel Specialists have extensively travelled throughout Latin America.
  • We have personally visited almost all of the hotels in our core programme.
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  • We receive excellent reviews from our clients and have a fantastic score on Trustpilot.
  • Our holidays are protected by ATOL and ABTOT, for your complete peace of mind.
  • An assured member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO)

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