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Costa Rica Nicoya Peninsula

The Travel Guide to the Peninsula de Nicoya, Costa Rica, with detailed Maps, Hotels and Tourist Information

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Puntarenas Costa Rica

Ferry dock in Puntarenas
Puntarenas from the ferry

Puntarenas, meaning "sand point" is well kown to Costaricans as a vacation mecca. Its fame in the 70's later declined due to negligence.

Today the town is once again receiving attention as more and more companies are rediscovering what's great about Puntarenas. During holidays the boardwalk and miles of calm beaches attract a family crowd from Costa Rica's interior. Puntarenas is also home to Costa Rica's only aquarium.

Map of Puntarenas Costa Rica
Map of Puntarenas

The port town of Puntarenas began flourishing in the 1880's with the opening of a railroad line connecting the town of Esparza, one of Costa Rica's first settlements. In 1910 railroad tracks were finished connecting Puntarenas to the Central Valley. Unfortunately the railroad got damaged in the big 1991 earthquake and in 1995 operation of the Costa Rican railroad network was suspended. Today Puntarenas plays host to Cruise lines from around the globe while commercial ships call at the new port of Calderas to the south of Puntarenas.

Puntarenas
Puntarenas at its narrowest point

The land spit which forms Puntarenas is over 5 kilometers long and only 50 meters wide at its narrowest point. On one side of the town is the Pacific ocean with views to the Nicoya Peninsula beyond the Gulf of Nicoya, while on the other side are the calm waters of a vast mangrove estuary with its many water birds.

See also: Ferry Schedules Puntarenas to Paquera / Naranjo