Private Group Countryside and Shopping
From coffee to crocodiles, Puntarenas has a fascinating array of historic and maybe even surprising delights in store for you during this Countryside and Shopping Half-Day Tour.
Departing from the cruise pier in an air-conditioned motor coach, you will begin a one-hour drive along scenic roads, passing quaint villages on your way to Villa Lapas and Santa Lucia Village. The port of Puntarenas was once the main port for coffee exported to England. Today, coffee continues to play an important role in this country's economy. Most visitors to Puntarenas will not want to leave without taking home the delicious flavor of Costa Rican coffee. Puntarenas offers wonderful arts-and-crafts shopping as well, and in Santa Lucia Village you will have the opportunity to purchase a special gift that you frankly never thought existed!
Upon arrival, time is allowed for guests to relax and stroll around in the beautiful shopping village of Santa Lucia, a quaint replica of a Spanish settlement during the Colonial times.
Explore the botanical gardens with our naturalist tour guide, who will explain about the colorful plants and animals present in the area. With luck, you may be able to see monkeys, toucans, scarlet macaws, aquatic birds in the river, parrots, frogs and more.
After your free time, enjoy complimentary tropical fresh fruit and ice tea in one of the dining rooms before continuing the journey to the Tarcoles River. Famous for its large American crocodiles, the Tarcoles River forms the northern border of Carara Biological Reserve on the Central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The Tarcoles River is home to one of the world's largest crocodile populations in the wild, and they are easy to admire from the bridge. At this point, our naturalist guide will invite you to walk along the bridge to observe these huge creatures in their natural habitat.
Returning to Puntarenas City, you will be given a short orientation drive. Puntarenas is the largest city in the Central Pacific. Some 120 kilometers west of the capital San Jose, in the Gulf of Nicoya, Puntarenas means "sandy point" in Spanish and was once a principal seaport. Puntarenas has played a huge role in the history of Costa Rica. Today, Puntarenas offers visitors and locals alike a variety of tantalizing fresh seafood such as shrimp, lobsters and fish. A lively and attractive city, perhaps one of Puntarenas's most interesting features is the Paseo de los Turistas. This is a tree-lined promenade adjacent to the beach. This area turns into a colorful street on weekends, as people from all over flock to the popular restaurants, discos, cafes, bars and hotels. While the beach is not safe for swimming because the water tends to be pretty murky, it is still a great place to hang out and relax with the local Ticos. It is definitely worth exploring this city, as there are many beautiful, old and unusual buildings, as well as several fabulous restaurants and hotels. 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 to the ship. For those interested in walking along the boulevards, the pier is located adjacent to the city, a very short distance from your ship.