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How to Spend 1 Day in Puntarenas

How to Spend 1 Day in Puntarenas

Set on the Gulf of Nicoya between San Jose and popular beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula, Puntarenas is a favorite weekend destination for Costa Ricans and a common stop-over for travelers. With one day in the port city, you have enough time to soak in the local vibe and squeeze in a jungle adventure. Here’s how. 

Morning: See the City

Start your day with a stroll along the Paseo de Los Turistas (Tourists’ Walk). The wide coastal boardwalk is lined with shops, souvenir stalls, and open-air restaurants known as kioscos, making it an ideal place to grab a local breakfast—make it gallo pinto. From there, history buffs visit the Historical Marine Museum of Puntarenas to learn about the city’s maritime heritage, natural history, and surrounding marine life. To see local art exhibits, and perhaps catch a performance or cultural event, head to Casa de la Cultura. Architecture buffs head to Casa Fait—an out-of-place 1920s Victorian mansion.

Afternoon: Explore the Jungle

While the port city doesn't have a lot of activities to offer, the surrounding mountains do. And with numerous tours departing the port city each afternoon, it’s easy to reach the nearby waterfalls, rivers, trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities. Thrill-seekers embark on a zipline canopy tour that soars past views of stunning waterfalls and the beautiful bay, and may include the chance to rappel down a rock face and cool off in a natural pool. Alternatively, wildlife enthusiasts embark on a crocodile- and bird-watching safari along the Tarcoles River.

Night: Sunset and Seafood

Return to the port city to spend your evening indulging in the bountiful local seafood scene. Dress up for a traditional surf and turf dining experience at an upscale restaurant or enjoy ceviche at a laid-back joint. Either way, expect top-notch fish, clams, conch, and shrimp—fresh from the Gulf of Nicoya—along with ocean views. Plus, the town’s perch on the west-facing spit makes it hard to miss a picturesque sunset.

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7 Tours and Activities | All Puntarenas Tours

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Half Day Costa Rica Punta Arenas Highlights

Half Day Costa Rica Punta Arenas Highlights

star-4.5
Spend a day exploring Costa Rica’s beauty away from the beach on this guided shore excursion from Punta Arenas. Head out with a guide and a small group of 15 people or fewer to discover the region’s highlights, including the tropical fruits grown in nearby “fruit towns,” a wildlife area known for its population of white-faced monkeys, and a sail down the lush Tarcoles River. Tour includes entrance fees and all transportation with port or hotel pickup and drop-off.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$102.57
From
$102.57
Taking safety measures

Jungle Crocodile Safari and Bird Watching Tour

Jungle Crocodile Safari and Bird Watching Tour

star-4.5
Explore the Tarcoles River, home to one of the world’s largest crocodile populations, on this guided boat tour. Along the way, learn about the area’s biodiversity and spot crocodiles, reptiles, and other local wildlife, including more than 50 bird species. Plus, enjoy some Costa Rican coffee and other refreshments on board. Private tour options are available.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$25.00
From
$25.00
Taking safety measures

Monkeys Place & Puntarenas City Tour

Monkeys Place & Puntarenas City Tour

star-3
On this tour we visited the Monkeys Place, a magical place to have an environment in harmony with wildlife, we will visit the city of Puntarenas and Esparza, the second oldest city in Costa Rica, full of culture and history.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$51.29
From
$51.29

Bird Watching Tour

Bird Watching Tour

star-4.5
Explore the Tarcoles River and discover its biodiversity on this guided bird-watching tour. Sail along in a comfortable, safe boat from which you’ll have the chance to spot more than 50 bird species. The river’s muddy banks and mangroves are home to a number of shorebirds, seabirds, and other native wildlife.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$40.00
From
$40.00
Taking safety measures

Waterfall Gardens plus Doka coffe tour (Private)

Waterfall Gardens plus Doka coffe tour (Private)

Costa Rica has become the world's premier destination for ecotourism. Places like La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park are the reason why. Hike through rainforest and cloud forest on purpose-built trails to discover incredible biodiversity. Butterflies, monkeys, hummingbirds, reptiles - this is just the start of a long list of what you'll see. In addition to wildlife watching, learn all about coffee, from tiny seed to delicious cup.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$192.31
From
$192.31
Taking safety measures

Tarcoles river plus Canopy Vistas los sueños (Private)

Tarcoles river plus Canopy Vistas los sueños (Private)

This tour combines an educational ride along the Tarcoles River with a zipline adventure through the forest canopy, a combination that highlights two Costa Rica environments in one day. Look out for animals like crocodiles, macaws, and lizards as you float along the river, and then soar with birds and monkeys on an 11-platform zipline course.
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$183.59
From
$183.59
Taking safety measures

Adventure Park High Ropes Course

Adventure Park High Ropes Course

star-5
Test your balance and mind-body coordination on the high ropes course at Adventure Park Costa Rica—the country’s longest and largest course of its kind. Climb into the rain forest canopy along a series of treetop platforms, and challenge both your mental and physical stamina on a variety of hanging ropes activities designed for all levels. Admire stunning views of the Gulf of Nicoya along the way, and celebrate your skills with a ride on the giant Tarzan swing.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$132.31
From
$132.31