Puntarenas is one of the most important tourist regions in Costa Rica. Its coasts are covered with many islands, coves, beaches and natural treasures. Its territory offers a wide variety of sun and beach attractions, as well as protected island and continental areas.
The city of Puntarenas (capital of the province) also has many points of interest of great historical importance such as the Muelle Grande, the Market, the Cathedral and the Mora y Cañas Park.
This province was inhabited by the indigenous tribes of Bruncas, Coctos, and Buricas and was colonized by the Spanish in 1522 .
The name Punta Arenas refers to the geomorphological process of the sand arrow. The reed was gradually formed by the action of rivers, winds and currents of the Barranca river that brought sand and mud. By the year 1722, the reed began to be known as Puerto de Arenas.
Due to the particular characteristics of this coastal area, Punta Arenas has been a centre for emigrants, a situation that is accentuated by its status as a port, becoming an obligatory pass for the first Chinese emigrants, who arrived on the coast in 1948.
All of these factors created a wonderful mix of cultures in the province of Puntarenas.
Budget: Ruiselares – Lovely and centrally-located holiday home in Punta Arenas. The owner will make everything to make your stay as enjoyable as possible!
Mid-range: Hotel Cabinas Midey – Comfortable hotel located right next to the beach that features a nice pool. You can enjoy some nice restaurants in the area.
Splurge: Puerto Azul Resort & Club Nautico – This quality hotel offers bedrooms with a view over the Pacific Ocean as well as a restaurant and a great swimming-pool. You can also enjoy the hotel’s sports facilities.
The best months to visit Punta Arenas are January, February and March during the dry season. But at that time, accommodations tend to be expensive due to high demand. If you want to find cheaper prices and still good weather, we recommend visiting the region in December.
One of the main attractions in Puntarenas is related to its miles of coastline, which include the Nicoya Peninsula and the Osa Peninsula. It offers stunning beaches, lush tropical environments, and, a sunny climate almost all year round.
Several of the beaches of Puntarenas are especially attractive for surfers, hosting constant and consistent waves throughout the year. The northern area of the province is the most famous for surfing, especially the towns of Santa Teresa, Mal Pais, Jaco and Playa Hermosa.
Another of the main attractions of the province is its natural conservation areas, with seven national parks such as Carara and Manuel Antonio National Parks, where an extraordinary biodiversity of flora and fauna coexist.
The natural scenery of these conservation areas range from pristine beaches in the Pacific to the cloud forests of the Tilarán Mountain Range, passing through extensive valleys and rivers. You can hike and visit all these parks with a tour.
The southeastern area of Puntarenas is home to important archaeological sites, such as the Diquís Stone Spheres, a group of more than 500 petrospheres of different sizes made around 600 AD. The largest weighs about 16 tons and measures 2 meters in diameter and their purpose and meaning are still unknown. The site was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2014.
Both the city of Puntarenas and the seaside resorts on the Pacific coast offer a wide range of nightlife, where foreigners of different nationalities, surfers and locals gather.
Keteka grants access to authentic activities run by local tour operators and guides. You can book and secure your place in advance, and we will take care of everything else. We’ll let you know where to go or where you will be picked up and at what time.
Land – Both from San José and the main cities of Costa Rica, buses leave frequently to Puntarenas, where it is possible to make connections with other buses or ferry to the different localities of the province.
From San Jose the journey takes approximately an hour and a half and costs 2,615 colones de Costa Rica (= $4.5).
Air – Juan Santamaría International Airport is located 18 km (11 miles) away from the city of San José, and it receives most of the national and international flights in Costa Rica. From the airport, it is possible to rent a vehicle or take a bus to San José, from where there is bus transportation to Puntarenas.
It is also possible to take flights that arrive at one of the several provincial airports, like Tambor Airport, the main airport of the Nicoya Peninsula.
Sea – By Ferry: From the city of Puntarenas you can easily reach the different tourist localities of the Nicoya Peninsula through the Ferry to Paquera. The journey takes approximately 1:30h.
By cruise: Cruise ships depart from various port cities around the world to Puntarenas. The cruise port is located on the Paseo de los Turistas, in the city centre.