Regions: Central Pacific
Exuberant tropical forests, abundant wild and marine life, and beautiful beaches create an atmosphere that permeates the entire region and wraps itself around you. You will definitely not run out of things to do. Choose from relaxing in the sun to raising your adrenaline levels, in this close by destination.
Puntarenas is an enchanting port town and a regular stop in many tourist itineraries. Anyone who plans to catch the ferry to the beautiful beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula, or visit any of the others in the Central Park will go through here, since it’s a major transport hub.
A short 62 miles from San Jose, the long and narrow peninsula has plenty of attractions for you before heading out to your other destination. The center of town is marked by the central park. But the Paseo de los Turistas is perhaps the most colorful place of all. This long street holds everything from the more upscale restaurants and hotels to midi-priced kiosks that serve seafood and traditional fare.
Vendors line the street with their offers of seashell necklaces, bright beach towels and all sorts of souvenirs. You can buy a churchill or granizado anywhere. It’s a tall glass of shaved ice covered in granadine, with a spoonful of powdered and condensed milk each. You can even top it with ice cream. It’s the way to go when you visit El Puerto, as Costa Ricans refer to this coastal city.
At one end of this vivid area, lies the Marine Park of the Pacific. This is a center where the area’s marine and coastal diversity is used for study, reproduction, education and recreation.
The largest fish tank in central and South America, labs, museums, exhibits, an auditorium and a live mangrove, is a great way to get to know all about the area you’re going to be moving around in.
Also, there are labs, videos, games for children and a souvenir store. Everything lies within the 7.41 acres that make up the park. A total of 28 tanks, containing around 50 marine species, show a bit of everything that lies beneath the waters of Costa Rica’s Pacific, some of Coco Island’s own phenomenal creatures.
The surf season is from April through November.
Boca Barranca – A river mouth with an excellent and very long left. Many places to stay, and when its good you’ll ride about 1km, then walk by the beach to the point. When it’s good, it’s a great wave, but it’s not good all the time. It’s considered the second longest ride in Costa Rica.
Puerto Caldera – Nice powerful left at the port. Needs a large swell, and it’s better at low tide. No accommodations nearby. If you ask the people who work there you can pass throw the port gate to other rocky points like “Tepezcoelollo”, but sometimes they won’t let you in. Also the water may be polluted because of ships.
Tivives – The entrance is at the coastal highway, south of Caldera. The beach break gets rights and lefts with a lot of current, and at the river mouth you can find the perfect left (sometimes tubular). There are no accommodations, but you can camp, and there are a couple of restaurants for supplies.
Valor – This Rocky point located south of Tivives gets very good and very big. You’ll have to cross the river paddling, then walk on trails and you’re there.
Playa Escondida – Very powerful reef break. The road is private, so you’ll either need a pass or have to get a boat from Playa Herradura. Lately this beach has been really crowded, but you still can catch a wave or two if the swell is on. This is a tubular ride, if you don’t make it you can get cut with the reef, so its not a beginners wave.
Jaco – Fun beach break, you can surf along the beach. This town is full of surfers, and you’ll find all the accommodations and entertainment you want. It’s a nice place to stay because its near a lot of good points, and you can buy or repair boards. You’ll also find all the information you need about points and current swells.
Roca Loca – Right break. Located on the way to Playa Hermosa about 1. 5KM south of Jaco. When you see it you have to descend a hill. It’s not a safe place. Surrounded by rocks.
Playa Hermosa – Long beach full of points. This is one of the most crowded beaches (some weekends you can count 100+ surfers along the beach) because it’s near Jaco and San Jose. This beach is very constant and it throws tubes and perfect waves when the conditions are right.
Esterillo Este & Oeste – Beach breaks with few accommodations & restaurant nearby, nice place to camp. The points are located south of Hermosa Beach along the coastal highway.
Bejuco – Good beach break, located south of Esterillo Este. Few accommodations nearby.
Boca Damas – Located north of Quepos, good rights and lefts in a river mouth. Ask the locals if you can’t find it. You can walk in from Quepos.
Costa Rica Travel: Travel Information & Tips
No matter how beautiful a destination may be, it needs easy access and be reachable within the limitations of an average vacation period. Costa Rica is only two and a half hours away from Miami!