Puntarenas Costa Rica | Things To Do

puntarenas province costa rica 1
Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

Getting To Puntarenas

Puntarenas used to be a couple of hours away from downtown San Jose, but the opening of the new Caldera Highway has allowed for that time to be cut in half. And now you can be at the beach in no more than one hour.

If you’re driving, you need to head in the direction of Santa Ana, passing Escazu. And then just follow the road signs on Highway 27 that will indicate exactly where you need to turn.

If you decide that you don’t want to take the wheel, you can always choose to take a bus trip. The buses are inexpensive and quite comfortable.

Make sure to take the direct bus to Puntarenas instead of the collective one. This is because the latter will be stopping a lot, and that will extend the traveling time to possibly 2 hours.

puntarenas province costa rica 2 paseo de los turistas
Paseo de Los Turistas, Puntarenas

Things to Do in Puntarenas

Paseo de Los Turistas: A walk through the Paseo de Los Turistas (the main strip in Puntarenas), and eating an ice cone or a ceviche (a popular seafood dish where the fish is cooked in lemon) is a must when you come here.

If you happen to be visiting Puntarenas during February, you certainly won’t want to miss the Puntarenas Carnivals. This is one of the biggest yearly open parties in the country, offering concerts, cultural events, and much more.

Swimming: Swimming in Puntarenas used to be a problem due to the pollution in the water. But the local authorities made a mission of cleaning it to continue to promote the arrival of tourists.

And the efforts paid, as the beach received the Blue Flag honors. This recognizes Puntarenas as one of the cleanest beaches in Costa Rica. So if you feel like taking a swim, it’s completely safe.

Marine Park: Another excellent way of spending your time in Puntarenas is to visit the local marine park, located just a few meters away from the dock. Here you can check different animals such as Turtles (land and sea), Crocodiles, Pelicans, and a good variety of fish species.

Playa Doña Ana, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Playa Doña Ana, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Doña Ana Beach, Puntarenas

If you’re staying in Puntarenas but don’t wish to spend your time at the local beach, you can visit Doña Ana. This is also a very clean beach where you’ll find change rooms, picnic tables, restrooms, and a couple of diners.

Although every beach in Costa Rica is open to everybody, nobody seems to have a problem with paying a small fee for getting inside Doña Ana Beach. And you shouldn’t either, as the cash collected is used to continue to deliver such important services here.

puntarenas province costa rica 3 jaco beach
Jaco Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

Jaco Beach, Puntarenas

Its proximity to the capital of the country has turned Jaco beach into the most urbanized communities in the region. And as long as foreigners continue to look for their piece of real estate in paradise, this booming beach town located in the Central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica will continue to grow steadily.

Jaco’s offerings are really varied and can fit any budget, from the popular cabins to elegant Hotels located either at downtown Jaco or on an adjacent beach.

The population of Jaco is about ten thousand inhabitants. Although this is one of the most popular and accessible beaches in the country, the number of people here can increase considerably on a regular basis.

Getting To Jaco:

If you’re driving, head to Santa Ana (west of San Jose) and make it to the new Pacific Highway; it should take you less than two hours to get to Jaco. The signs are well marked and indicate which roads to take, so there’s little chance to get lost.

If you’re coming by bus, then go to the Coca Cola Market located nearby Hospital San Juan de Dios in downtown San Jose. Buses are departing from this place 5 times a day.

Things to Do in Jaco Costa Rica:

Jaco is a favorite destination for those with an active nightlife. Along its main strip, you’ll find many Discos, Clubs, Taverns, and Bars, all of which are always packed during the high season (and every weekend during low season).

You can also have a lot of fun during the day as there are many tour operators which will arrange all sorts of activities. These are the best things to do in Jaco Costa Rica:

  • Sports Fishing Trips
  • Horseback Rides
  • Sea Kayaking
  • RTV Tours
  • Canopying
  • And much more

Your best bet is to ask for any of these tours at your hotel. As Jaco has turned famous for its beach breaks, it has become a favorite destination among surfers from all over the world because it offers the consistency the pros are after.

Although this is considered a safe beach, it’s also famous for sudden dangerous currents, and precaution is advised when swimming there. So, if what you want is to get into the sea, you may want to visit calmer nearby beaches such as Herradura Beach or Esterillos Beach.

Carara National Park:

Located 10 miles north of Jaco, where you’ll have the chance of watching many species of birds, including a large number of Scarlet Macaws. Other animals such as Pacas, Caimans, Coatis, and Armadillos can also be occasionally spotted here.

Watching Crocodiles at Tarcoles River:

Many tour operators offer boat trips to the Tarcoles River where you’ll be able to see these reptiles closely. The guys handling the tours will always bring along meat as bait for the crocs to speed up the pulse of the tourists.

You can also watch the Crocodiles from the Tarcoles Bridge, which you’ll easily spot on your way from San Jose to Jaco as there are always cars parked on the sides.

Bijagual Waterfalls:

Tours are also offered to different waterfalls (including one that’s 600 feet tall) located nearby the town of Bijagual, which is located just a few miles from downtown Jaco. A horseback riding tour is recommended when going there.

puntarenas province costa rica 4 playa hermosa beach
Playa Hermosa Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas

The coastal village of Playa Hermosa, meaning beautiful beach, is located in the province of Puntarenas, on the central pacific coast of the country.

Although Hermosa Beach is adjacent to Jaco (two miles away by road), it’s a whole different world since this is a more laidback place than its more noisy neighboring coastal town.

Hermosa Beach doesn’t offer many places where you can stay. So, your best bet is to search for accommodation in Jaco, where you’ll also find a good number of restaurants and an active nightlife.

Getting To Playa Hermosa, Puntarenas

To get to Hermosa Beach, take the new Highway 27 (also known as the Caldera Highway), and follow the signs for Jaco. Once you’ve reached this city, continue to follow the signs for Playa Hermosa, it should take you about 1 hour and a half to get there.

If you don’t have a car, then you can take the bus to Jaco at the Coca Cola Market in downtown San Jose. And once you’ve arrived in this coastal town, you can take a cab to Hermosa Beach.

Things to Do in Playa Hermosa Costa Rica

This beach is more popular than Jaco for surfers, as it tends to be less crowded, and also because of its consistent surf breaks. Although this is a beach that’s best for pros as waves can reach 13 feet here.

Still, if you’re not an expert or just want to add the experience of surfing to your trip to Costa Rica, there are a few good surfing schools located in Jaco. But you don’t have to be a professional surfer to have a good time here.

Hermosa Beach is also the perfect place to sit down under a tree or a beach umbrella and just relax watching the surfers do what they do best. Playa Hermosa Wildlife Refuge is the place where the mangrove swamp is located.

When visiting, you might spot Olive Ridley turtles while they lay their eggs in the sand. This is also a good place for bird watchers, as many species can be seeing here.

Manuel Antonio National Park is located just 45 minutes from Hermosa Beach. This is one of the most popular parks in the country due to its large diversity of flora and fauna.

Here you can visit one of the two beaches located inside the park, or you can also go on a hike through the different trails.

It’s recommended that you take a guided tour so you can get as much information as possible in relation to the animals and plants which you might spot along the way.

Carara National Park is another place that’s worth a visit while in Hermosa Beach, as the sparse forest makes it possible for you to watch more wildlife than in other parks in Costa Rica.

Get your camera ready for a shot of animals such as Armadillos, Coatis, Basilisk Lizards, Motmots, Toucans, and different species of Monkeys.

You can also go to Jaco and check with the different tour operators in there about the different adventure tours they have to offer, including Canopying, ATV Tours, Horseback Riding, Rafting, and more.

puntarenas province costa rica 5 quepos

Quepos, Puntarenas

The name of the town comes from the Quepoa, a faction of the Boruca Indians, which inhabited the region at the time of the conquistadors’ arrival to Costa Rica.

This was a company town for much of the early 1900s. At the time, Dole established a port for banana exportation, providing job opportunities for locals and also for many outsiders.

This lasted for about a decade when the Panama Disease attacked the plantations. This forced the Standard Fruit Company to switch to the cultivation of African Palm (for oil).

This was less lucrative, and a reason for the subsequent decline in the local economy. It wasn’t until the eighties when ecotourism started to boom in the area.

The city started to flourish, and Quepos is now the gateway for Manuel Antonio and the place where tourists can find the cheapest accommodation and important services such as banks and supermarkets.

Although development hasn’t stopped in Quepos (especially in Manuel Antonio) the local authorities have enforced the protection of the maritime zone.

This prevents the construction of hotels near the beach. And such efforts focused on the preservation of natural resources have been the key to the good reputation of the city.

There are also plans on building a new Marina here. This means that cruise liners will most likely be docking here rather than in Puntarenas in the future.

Getting To Quepos, Puntarenas

Quepos is a 3-hour drive away from San Jose. Just take the new Caldera Highway and follow it until you see the exit to Jaco.

Follow that route, and then keep up with the signs, which are abundant and won’t let you get lost. You can also pick up a bus at the Coca Cola Market in downtown San Jose.

Alternatively, you can also take a flight using a domestic charter company such as NatureAir or SANSA at either the Juan Santamaria Airport (Alajuela) or at the Tobias Bolaños Airport (Pavas).

Things to Do in Quepos Costa Rica

Since Manuel Antonio is really close, there are many tour operators based in Quepos. You can get in touch with any of them in order to help you with any adventure plans you might have in mind.

Among the things to do in Quepos are Sports Fishing, Canopying, Kayaking, and Rafting. It’s recommended to ask around for the best deals on one-day trips.

The nightlife is quite active in the area, with a lot of bars that are always full of locals. There are also more expensive options, including fine dining restaurants, all along the hill to Manuel Antonio.

Manuel Antonio National Park: It is located south of the city, and it opens from 8 am to 4 pm every day except Mondays. There is a local bus from Quepos to Manuel Antonio that rides all day long every 30 minutes and will leave you really close to the entrance of the park.

The park is not very large, but it is quite rich in nature, which is why it is a good idea to take a guided hike to know exactly where to watch for Monkeys (there are 3 species: Howler Monkey, Squirrel Monkey, and White-Headed Monkey), Toucans, Iguanas, Coatis, Motmots, Sloths, and the rest of the 184 species of birds and 109 species of mammals.

There are also two beaches inside the park where you can sit under a tree and relax practice surf, or taking a swim, they are Manuel Antonio Beach and Espadilla Sur Beach.

Visiting Dominical: This beach is a paradise for surfers due to its large waves and laid back environment, and it is mostly inhabited by foreigners.

Although this place is not very developed, there are enough bars, restaurants and accommodation options to choose from.

It’s a 26-mile trip and you can take the bus at the Quepos terminal (buses are departing from here to a lot of different places).

One of the seven provinces in Costa Rica, Puntarenas is located on the pacific coast of the country. This is probably the most popular destination for Ticos to visit during the weekend.

So, it’s likely that if you come here you will get to see more locals than overseas tourists. The name of Puntarenas is a combination of two words: punta and arenas (point and sand respectively).

Puntarenas was declared a free port back in 1847 for the exportation of coffee to Chile and England. And this, along with the construction of the railroads between San Jose and Puntarenas, was the turnaround events that had as a consequence a significant increase in the population of the area.

Nowadays the province is home to more than 368,000 people; with 70,000 living in urban areas including downtown Puntarenas, Chacarita, Barranca, and El Roble.

The dock of this coastal town went through a series of improvements and is also now a disembarking point for Cruise Lines, which are on their different routes through the pacific sea.

And the arrival of such overseas tourists has certainly contributed to help the local economy, which is mainly sustained by the tourism industry.

puntarenas province costa rica 6 manuel antonio national park

Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Manuel Antonio National Park is located just 15 minutes from the city of Quepos, on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

Before tourists started to arrive massively here, this was just a small community made up of palm and banana plantation workers and fishermen.

But as time passed, the park became the strongest ally to the local economy. Manuel Antonio offers accommodation for all budgets.

But the hilly road (renting a scooter is a good idea while in here) that leads to the park is filled with the most luxurious hotels and the best restaurants in the area (many bars can also be found here, a sign of the town’s active nightlife).

If you don’t want to pay much, Quepos is where you should stay, as you can rent a cabin or a room at the various small hotels for a good price.

Getting To Manuel Antonio

If you decide to drive, take the new highway to Caldera and follow the road until you see the signs for Jaco/Quepos. Take that exit and keep on following the signs until you make it to the town of Quepos.

And is a 15-minute trip from there to Manuel Antonio. If you don’t feel like driving, you can take the bus at the Coca Cola Market located in downtown San Jose.

The road trip to Manuel Antonio takes about 3 hours. But the fastest and the most comfortable way of traveling there is by air (a short 40-minute trip).

And there are different companies that offer straight domestic flights to Quepos. You can depart either from the Juan Santamaria Airport in Alajuela or from the Tobias Bolaños Airport in Pavas.

Things to Do in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

There are different tour operators in Manuel Antonio offering a variety of activities including Fishing Trips, Kayaking, Rafting, ATV Rides, or Canopying. It’s recommended that you ask at the hotel you’re staying in for these. Or go near the park, where the offices for most of these tour operators are located.

Visiting the Park:

Although it’s small (with only 1700 land acres) the park is probably the most popular in the country among both locals and foreigners. It’s usually packed during the high season. Although this won’t prevent you from appreciating its natural diversity as access is restricted to only 600 visitors per day.

It’s closed on Mondays, but it’s open for the rest of the week from 8 am to 4 pm. There is a $10 fee for getting inside the park. Get your camera ready for some outstanding shots! The wildlife here includes 109 types of mammals.

This includes 3 of the four varieties of Monkeys present in Costa Rica: The Squirrel Monkey, Howler Monkey, and White Headed Monkey. You will also find Iguanas, the White Nosed Coati, Snakes, and Sloths. There is also a large number of birds (184 species), including Toucans, Parakeets, Motmots, Woodpeckers, Tanagers, and Hawks.

The Beaches:

There are two beaches within the park, Espadilla Sur Beach and Manuel Antonio Beach. The first one is where you’ll find the surfers, and the second one is better for a good swim or some Snorkeling.

Although both of them are perfect for sitting down under a shade and have a relaxing time. Espadilla Beach is located just outside the park.

And it’s usually packed with locals during the weekends, making it the perfect place to meet people and see how locals enjoy themselves. You can rent a beach umbrella, a surfboard, or a boogie board here, which is something you can’t do inside the park.

Hiking trails:

Once you’re inside the park, you can take a 25-minute hike to Punta Catedral, a high point from where you can appreciate all the natural beauty of Manuel Antonio.

Although there are some steep areas along the trails, most people should be able to make it without a problem. There are guided hikes available, and they should cost between $20 and $40 for 3 hours.

Monteverde, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
Monteverde, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

Monteverde, Puntarenas

Monteverde is a town that’s part of the Tilaran Range and is located in the province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. It was settled by Quakers from the USA (Alabama) who came to this Central American country after defying the Korean War draft back in the 1950s.

These Quakers and other American pacifists decided to establish themselves in this area because of the favorable climate for dairy farming. Nowadays, the population (about 6,500) of this town is a mixture of locals and foreigners. The locals began arriving gradually here looking for jobs due to the increasing number of foreign visitors.

It’s estimated that 250,000 people visit Monteverde on a yearly basis, making this area one of the top ecotourism destinations in Costa Rica. Monteverde still retains a rustic vibe since there’s little development.

And locals are happy with things the way they are. Although if you want to stay here for a few days there are a couple of small places that offer excellent accommodation. And also a couple of restaurants with local and international cuisine.

Getting To Monteverde

If you’re driving from downtown San Jose, to get here you must take the Pan-American Highway. Then continue to follow the signs for Liberia until kilometer 133, where you’ll find the signs for Sardinal.

Now just take the road to that town, which will take you to Monteverde. This is a 3-hour trip. Buses are also leaving San Jose for Monteverde on a daily basis.

There are only 2 departures, one in the morning and one in the early afternoon. So consider this when planning a trip there. Alternatively, if you happen to be at La Fortuna in San Carlos, you can also take a boat (then by taxi or horseback at the other end).

The trip can also be done in the reverse direction, so make sure you ask at the place where you’re staying for this service. This is a trip that can take up to 3 hours.

Things to Do in Monteverde Costa Rica

Taking a hike throughout the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is what we recommend you to do first while in here. You’ll find yourself surrounded by a large variety of Flora, including 500 types of Orchids (the largest in the world) and 878 varieties of Epiphytes (a plant that grows within another plant).

And when it comes to Fauna, the variety here is also quite large. There are more than 161 species of reptiles and amphibians, 6 varieties of Marsupials, 58 Bats, and more than 400 species of Birds (just to mention a few).

The trails here are combined with suspension bridges, which allow the visitor to check on the upper level of the forest. And there are programmed tours, which we seriously recommend as the guides will be giving you constant information on the different varieties of plants and animals present in the reserve.

The aforementioned reserve can get a bit crowded, so if you want to visit a place that’s just as stunning but with fewer people around, you should go to the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. This natural reserve is located just three miles away, and you’ll be able to watch the same natural beauty as at Monteverde.

Mal Pais, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
Mal Pais, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

Malpais, Puntarenas

Malpais, located in the province of Puntarenas, is a coastal town that started as a small village inhabited by farmers and fishermen. It got its name (badlands in English) due to the local rivers, which made it very difficult to live here as they dry during the summer season.

Such a situation is much different nowadays. Malpais has turned into a booming beach town. And it has been put on the global map by international celebrities who have acquired land and other properties here.

Development is a constant in Malpais with many hotels and restaurants opening all the time. But this town is still nothing like other popular coastal communities in the country such as Manuel Antonio and Jaco.

Getting To Malpais

If you’re coming from San Jose, the capital of the country, you need to take the new Highway 27 (also known as the Caldera Highway) and follow the directions for the coastal city of Puntarenas.

Once in there you need to take the ferry to Paquera, and once you have disembarked, it will take you around 90 minutes to make it to Malpais.

You can also pick a bus to this town at the Coca Cola Market, located in downtown San Jose. There are 3 daily departures, and the fare includes the ticket for the ferry. We recommend you to take a book or an audio player as the trip is a bit long at almost 5 hours.

Alternatively, you can also take a bus to Montezuma at the same bus station in San Jose. The get off in the town of Cobano, and from there you need to board another bus.

Note: there are two daily buses from there to Malpais. But that can vary depending on the bus company’s disposition and the demand. So if you miss the bus to your final destination, you can always pick a taxi (ask for their price beforehand). There are no straight flights to Malpais.

But there are charter flights to Tambor Beach, and from there you can pick up a cab (or asked to be picked over there by your hotel).

Things to Do in Malpais Costa Rica

Malpais is part of several beaches located in the area, including Carmen Beach, Manzanillo Beach, Santa Teresa, and Hermosa Beach. So, exploring these should be at the top of your schedule while there.

As with other popular tourist destinations, there are many adventure activities which you can do here. This includes Horseback Riding, ATV Tours, Snorkeling, Canopying, Sports Fishing, and Scuba Diving. Visiting the Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve is another excellent idea as it’s very near to Malpais. This is home to more than 140 species of trees.

Such a large variety is the product of the reserve being situated in the middle of the wet and dry forests. There’s also an important number of mammal species. This includes animals such as the White-Nosed Coati, Coyotes, White-Tailed Deers, White-Face, and Howler Monkeys.

When it comes to nightlife, the one in Malpais revolves around a couple of foreign-oriented bars and La Lora, the most popular place amongst locals, where you’ll always find some Merengue or Salsa music, which is perfect for some dancing time. Some people also decide to make the trip to the neighboring town of Montezuma, where the nightlife is more or less the same.

Montezuma, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
Montezuma, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

Montezuma, Puntarenas

The town of Montezuma, located in the province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica, is one of the preferred destinations for eco-tourists and backpackers looking to get the best natural experience in the country while on a budget.

The difference between Montezuma and other popular beach towns is that this one has a wooded shoreline, which is why is not overdeveloped. Still, the economy of Montezuma is sustained by the tourism industry, and the center of this town is filled with restaurants, small hotels, and souvenir shops.

Many people with varied lifestyles and from many nationalities are now residents of this town. And this multicultural vibe is one of the reasons why Montezuma is so famous locally and overseas.

Getting To Montezuma

If you’re driving, to get to Montezuma you need to take the ferry that goes from the coastal city of Puntarenas to Paquera. Once you’ve disembarked, it’s about an hour-long ride from there.

Now, if you wish you can also take a domestic flight from the Tobias Bolaños Airport to the Tambor Airstrip. And from there you can take a taxi to Montezuma (you can also previously arrange with your hotel to pick you up at Tambor).

Things to Do in Montezuma Costa Rica

Taking a swim here is an outstanding experience as the color of the water is deep blue. But be careful as the occasional rough wave can become dangerous. The best spot for swimming here is in front of a well-known camping area. Or you can also choose to walk a few miles and swim at Playa Grande.

If you want to check something more than just the beach, you can visit the Montezuma waterfalls, located south of town. There’s a good hike up the stream to actually make it to the falls, and once there, you’ll see that it was worth the walk.

This is a very popular spot among locals due to the natural pools formed by the waterfalls. So, you can expect it to be crowded (mostly during the weekends). El Chorro is the name of one more waterfall located a bit farther north from Montezuma (about five miles).

It’s approximately a two-hour hike across the beach to make it to this waterfall. But if you don’t wish to walk, you can always arrange for a horseback tour.

There are also other similar horseback tours to other places from the area, so don’t forget to ask for these. Here you’ll also find other adventure options such as Canopying, ATV outings, snorkeling, scuba diving, and rafting.

When it comes to nightlife, the one in Montezuma is more or less active, with the entire action taking place at different bars located at the town’s main strip. The Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve is located north of Montezuma.

This is the perfect place for spotting a large variety of mammals, including the White Face Monkey and the Howler Monkey, as well as Coatis, White-Tailed Deers, and Coyotes. The flora is also very rich in the reserve, as there are more than 140 species of trees. So, having your camera ready for shots of the natural beauty here is recommended.

Dominical Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
Dominical Beach, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

Playa Dominical, Puntarenas

Dominical Beach is a small town located in the province of Puntarenas, very close to the cities of Quepos and Perez Zeledon (about 30 miles from each).

This is one of the top spots for the practice of surfing in the country, and the town of Dominical is really foreigner-oriented, with many of the businesses here being owned by overseas citizens, a few surfers themselves.

Although the heart of the economy in the area is the tourism industry, this place still hasn’t experienced the substantial development of other important coastal regions in Costa Rica and is still a town with a laid-back vibe.

Getting To Dominical

If you’re driving, you can choose between two roads: the one that leads to Perez Zeledon through Cartago, or the one that leads to Quepos and then to Dominical.

If you chose the first, then you need to head to the Florencio del Castillo Highway, which starts in Curridabat, San Jose, and follow the directions for San Isidro de El General. Once you have arrived in that town, it should take you about 30 minutes to make it to Dominical Beach.

To make it there through Quepos, you need to head to the new Highway 27 and follow the signs to Jaco. From there to Quepos, and from there to Dominical. The route through Perez Zeledon can be longer at roughly 4 hours, as bad weather conditions and heavy fog at Cerro de la Muerte can delay the trip.

If you choose Quepos, then you can expect to drive for about 3 hours and the road conditions are excellent, so this is the recommended route. Flying is another option, and the nearest public airstrip is located in Quepos.

So if you take a flight there, you can either rent a car or take a bus or a taxi to Dominical once you’ve landed. You can expect a 30-minute flight from the Tobias Bolaños Airport located in Pavas, and another 40 minutes on the road from Tambor to your final destination.

Things to Do in Dominical

Since Dominical is not the best beach to take a swim in due to the rough waves, you can visit the adjacent beach of Dominicalito, the preferred destination of locals during the weekends (the rest of the week tends to be quiet).

Marino Ballena National Park:

The best way to experience the beauty of this park is to get some scuba diving lessons and jump in the water. You’ll have the chance of observing the 18 different species of coral and the many varieties of fish that call this place home.

The beaches of Ballena, Piñuelas, and Uvita are inside this conservation area, located 10 miles southeast of Dominical. The Humpback Whales migrate every year during the months of December until April. And if you happen to be around here during that time, you can arrange a boat trip to see these whales, and also the occasional dolphin.

Watching Hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles laying their eggs in the sand is also an attraction of this park. Although you can only watch this spectacle during the nesting season, which goes from May to November.

Drake Bay, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
Drake Bay, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

Drake Bay, Puntarenas

Located in the Osa Peninsula, Drake Bay continues to be one of the most isolated but fascinating places to visit in Costa Rica. The bay’s main town is Agujitas, with a small population of about 1,000.

It’s believed that the name of this bay is related to Sir Francis Drake, a 16th-century sea captain who discovered this place back in 1579 during a trip around the world.

Getting To Drake Bay

Due to its remote location, the most recommended way of traveling to Drake Bay is by air. There are daily domestic flights from either the Juan Santamaria Airport (in Alajuela) or the Tobias Bolaños Airport (Pavas).

These charter flights will take you directly to the airstrip at Drake Bay, and you can expect a 45-minute trip. Many tourists also decide to take a flight to the airstrip located at Palmar Sur.

And if you opt for this option, once in there you will have to take the local bus or a taxi through banana plantations and make it to the small village of Sierpe (about 15 minutes away). There you’ll need to take a boat that rides for about 25 miles before making it to Drake Bay.

Although it can be a really tiresome trip, you can also make it to Drake Bay by car. If you decide to drive, take the Inter American Highway, and passing Cartago, about 3 hours of distance, you’ll find the city of San Isidro de El General.

From there you need to make to Dominical Beach and take the Costanera Sur Highway all the way to the town of Palmar Norte. Once in there, take the road to Chacarita. From there to the village of Rincon, and from there to Drake Bay.

If you wish to take the bus from downtown San Jose, take the one that goes to Palmar Norte, and then take another bus to Sierpe. Once in there, you will need to pick a boat to Drake Bay.

Note: Since most lodges are located far from each other, it’s recommended that you arrange your accommodation before making it to Drake Bay. It won’t be easy for you to go from hotel to hotel to find a room.

Things to Do in Drake Bay

An interesting activity is to take a boat trip to Isla Del Caño, located about twelve miles from Drake Bay. At that place, you’ll see the famous Costa Rican stone spheres, believed to have been carved by the natives of this area during the Pre-Columbian era.

Although just a few animals live within that island, the coralline reefs surrounding it are full of life and are the main reason why tourists decide to come here. Being this one of the country’s favorite spots amongst scuba divers (both experts and amateurs). Visiting Corcovado National Park is another popular activity among visitors.

Here you can spot many species of mammals (140 approximately), the four types of Costa Rican monkeys (Spider Monkey, Howler Monkey, Squirrel Monkey, and the White-Faced Capuchin Monkey) more than 380 species of birds, and more than 120 species of reptiles and amphibians.

It’s recommended to ask your hotel for an arranged guided tour. If you want to pass on the scuba diving, you can also try Sports Fishing, another very popular activity in the area. Horseback rides are also available and are perfect for those who want to explore the many deserted beaches at Drake Bray.

Other Provinces