6/6/14

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

 

Puntarenas (from "punta arenas" or "sand point") is the capital and largest city in the Puntarenas province, in Costa Rica.
Situated at the end of a sandy peninsula (8 km long but only 100m to 600m wide), Puntarenas is just 110km west of San Jose. The city has 60 streets (calles) running north to south, but only 5 avenues (avenidas) running west to east at its widest point. As in all of Costa Rica, street names are not relevant and landmarks are used for orientation.


Once one of the most important cargo ports, Puntarenas is nowadays an important docking location for cruise ships and remains the country's most important fishing port as well.
From the docks, visitors can catch the ferry over to the tip Nicoya Peninsula, abundant in pristine white sand beaches, quaint communities alongside nature reserves.


South of Puntarenas lies the bustling beach town of Jaco, a very popular tourist destination full of great restaurants, bars, hotels and markets. Surfers from around the world flock here to take advantage of the waves and great breaks.
The side walks are lined with street venders selling their treasures which make excellent souvenirs.


What to do and see: 

Mangrove Forest.  On 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. 

Paseo de los turistas (Tourist walk). This stretch is located along the main beach in Puntarenas and is one of the most visited places because of its variety of high-quality services for tourists. It runs from the Marino del Pacífico to La punta. Around the cruise line pier there are many kiosks and places to buy arts and crafts as well as traditional fruit salad and frozen drinks.

Marino del Pacífico Park. A park established in 2002 and located where the historic train station is, and its main attraction is the fish aquariums where you can see species native to the Pacific Ocean.

Puntarenas and its surrounding area offer an excellent assortment of activities such as sea kayaking, sports fishing, and tours to Tortuga Island. Walk along the river and over bridges to a series of waterfalls on the Waterfall Canopy Tour or enjoy snorkeling in calm waters with picturesque surroundings. Whatever your pleasure there’s sure to be something here for you.


Climate: 
Puntarenas is generally hotter than the Costa Rican Central Valley, with daytime highs ranging from 30°C to 35°C in the coldest/hottest months, respectively.

Language:
Official language is Spanish.
Most people in touristic sites speak English.
Besides Spanish other Costa Rica spoken languages or Indigenous languages spoken in Costa Rica are Bribri, Maleku, Guaymí, Cabécar and Boruca, however the Indigenous peoples of Costa Rica represent only a 1% of the Costa Rican population and they occupied only 350000 hectares of the territory for these reason the indigenous languages of Costa Rica are only spoken in isolated areas off the beaten path, in places such as the Talamanca Mountain Range.






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