City, Country & Shopping
Puntarenas is one of the most important tourism regions in Costa Rica. Known as the "Pearl of the Pacific" , Puntarenas is the largest province of Costa Rica, with its main attraction the Pacific coastline, extending over more than 500 miles down to the Panamanian boarder. The coastline is full of islands, inlets, beaches, and very beautiful natural treasures, all which make it an excellent tourist destination.
Costa Rica extends majestically from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, and its distance is barely 200 miles. If you travel throughout the provinces of Costa Rica, it's easy to notice that in no other place you shall find fields with so many variations in their landscape and climate as here.
Your tour begins at the port area where you board an an air-conditioned motor coach for an approximately one-hour drive along scenic roads passing quaint villages on your way to Orotina. The topography of Costa Rica is one of the world's most diverse with rolling hills, high mountains, plains, valleys, and riverbeds all making up an undeniably gorgeous landscape.
Once you have reached your destination, you will find many types of souvenirs including some truly exotic tropical fruits, such as caimitos (star apples), cashew fruits, cashew nuts, mangos, Star fruit and many more mostly endemic to Costa Rica. Stopping at El Jardin Souvenir Store you will be allowed free time to explore, go shopping or taste a local meal at the restaurant.
Continuing your scenic drive, you will return to Puntarenas City for a short sightseeing tour and learn this is the largest city in the Central Pacific. Some 120 kilometers west of the capital San Jose, Puntarenas means 'sandy point' in Spanish, and used to be one of the country's principal seaports. Situated in the Gulf of Nicoya, Puntarenas has played a huge role in the history of Costa Rica. For years this city was a major sea port. However, now it is mostly used as a stopover port for many cruise ships that sail the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Still used as an important commercial fishing port, Puntarenas offers visitors and locals alike, a variety of tantalizing fresh sea foods such as shrimp, lobsters, and a multitude of fish. A lively and attractive city, perhaps one of Puntarenas's most interesting features is the Paseo de los Turistas, a tree-lined promenade adjacent to the beach. This area turns into a colorful street on weekends, as people from all over flock the popular restaurants, discos, cafes, bars and hotels that are found here. It is definitely worth exploring this city, as there are many beautiful old and unusual buildings found all over. Puntarenas also has a lovely old church, which is a must see as well.
After the tour, you can choose to stay in the city or make your way back directly to the ship. For all those interested in walking along the boulevards, the pier is located directly in the city area and is a very short distance from your ship.