Community and Lifestyle

Things to do in Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

As the capital of Costa Rica's largest province, Puntarenas is a hub of activity. People come for shopping, banking, and to take care of business needs here. It is a working class city that plays an important role in Costa Rica's importation and exportation network. The town is laid out on a traditional grid system, though because of its location on a thin peninsula, that grid has a maximum of 5 streets at its widest point, and just two streets come in and out town. Puntarenas has a small, local commercial business scene with all the types of businesses you'll find in traditional Costa Rican towns. Seamstresses, auto part stores, bakeries, corner stores, and plenty of other locally owned establishments line the streets and provide their services to passersby and residents alike. The long beachfront along the entire southern side of town is the center of all the action.

Activities in the Area


Puntarenas has a few small attractions, including a Marine History Museum and a small aquarium. The biggest attraction, which draws crowds of Costa Ricans lovingly referred to as Ticos most weekends throughout the year is the Paseo de los Turistos, or "The Tourists Walk." This long stretch of beach is lined with dozens of local vendors, food carts, and stands, making it a sweet little spot for a casual stroll along the beach. The San Lucas Beach Club is the newest hot spot with a beautiful pool, lots of lounge chairs, an onsite restaurant, and entertainment. There is a yacht club in Puntarenas as well.

Puntarenas is the perfect launching off point for a visit to the Nicoya Peninsula. Ferries depart throughout the day, 7 days a week, taking locals and travelers to hot spots like Montezuma and Mal Pais for a tropical beach getaway. Tortuga Island has the reputation of being one of Costa Rica's most beautiful islands and makes an excellent destination for a day trip with snorkeling, kayaking, boating, or just lounging in the smooth white sand.

Just south of Puntarenas there are a handful of popular beach destinations. Playa Doña Ana is a nicely developed, family-friendly beach/park with a soda a small, traditional Costa Rican restaurant with restroom facilities and a seemingly omnipresent troupe of white-faced capuchin monkeys. The nearby Boca Barranga has one of the longest left-hand surf breaks in the world, though few people know about it. Further south, Caldera is an incredibly popular beach for locals and is full to the rim every weekend, especially during the summer months. For those who are feeling adventurous, one can find some of Costa Rica's best street food from the vendors along this beach.


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