Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Puntarenas is the capital and largest city in the province Puntarenas, Costa Rica, in Central America.

Take a Canopy tours (ziplining) through the lush rainforests of Costa Rica.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest features a huge variety of mammals, plants and birds.

Monteverde Orchid Garden offers tours of its gardens and greenhouses. Orchids are the national flower of Costa Rica, and you’ll find 1,400 individual species, blooming all year round.

Poas is an active volcano with three craters (two are now dormant). The main crater is a 15 minute walk from the visitor’s center and is almost a mile in diameter. There are also marked hiking trails.

At Carara National Park, follow the marked walking trails and try to spot scarlet macaws, monkeys, sloths and armadillos.

San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city is set high in the mountains. It’s a long day trip (around 2 hours each way) and may be best done via a ship’s excursion.

The disabled cruiser visiting Puntarenas 

Where You’re Docked

Some ships dock in Puntarenas, while others use Puerto Caldera, a commercial port 20 minutes drive away from the town. There are very few facilities here apart from a few souvenirs shops and nothing within walking distance of interest.

From the Puntarenas dock, you are very near to the main tourist area – Paseo de los Turistas, which is a wide walkway with shops and restaurants, running parallel to the beach. The cruise terminal across the street from the dock perimeter has toilets and phones.

The port offers complimentary shuttle service from the gangway to the main exit (about 250 yards away).

Taxis line up at Paseo de los Turistas.

Good to Know

Petty theft can be a problem; use the same common sense precautions as you would anywhere else in the world. Leave whatever cash and valuables you don’t need behind, or conceal them appropriately.

Getting Around

On foot: 

By car: 

By bus:

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

Costa Rican currency is based on the Colon but US dollars are widely accepted, while credit cards are taken in the larger shops and most hotels and restaurants. Whether you are visiting for a day or for a few before a cruise, you don’t necessarily have to change money; vendors and taxi drivers are happy to accept U.S. dollars. Just note that you’ll likely get change in colones — so you may not want to break big bills.


The official language is Spanish but many Costa Ricans know some English, and those working at tourist sites usually speak it well.


Sarchi is a scenic, 40 minute drive from Puntarenas. It’s good for picking up unique souvenirs, such as woodcrafts and leather goods. Sarchi is a focal point in Costa Rica’s farming history.

Around 8km away is Playa San Isidro, a beach popular with visitors and locals. Surfers however, prefer Boca Barranca, a further 4km away.

Open-air food counters called ‘sodas’ are located along the Paseo de los Turistas. Sandwiches, such as cheese (queso) and ham and cheese (jamon con queso), make tasty and cheap dining options. Fried fish and ceviche (citrus-marinated seafood salads) are also staple items.

Restaurants serve up a good variety of steak, fish and seafood dishes.

Points of Interest

  • Puntarenas – a seven-

Puntarenas Accessible Excursions

Whether your cruise ship stops in 

Puntarenas Accessible Guided Tour

This 4 hour accessible