The Republic of Costa Rica is the third smallest country in Central America with 51.100 square kilometers. The northern and southern borders are Nicaragua and Panama. Natural barriers are the Atlantic to the east and the Pacific to the west.
Costa Rica and Puntarenas simply presented
In western Costa Rica, Puntarenas, one of the country's seven provinces, connects to the Pacific. Puntarenas, the provincial capital, lies on a narrow headland of the Gulf of Nicoya. It is named after the province and was in the past Costa Rica's most important port on the Pacific coast.
Puntarena's story in a nutshell
The Puntarenas region was taken over by the Spanish conqueror Gil González Dávila in 1522. Despite the early discovery, it took another three centuries before Puntarenas developed into a respectable port and provincial capital. The decisive factor for this was the coffee production in Costa Rica's highlands. Around 1840 it reached a volume that exceeded the country's own needs and required the beans to be exported. The export of coffee beans promoted the development of the port and the port city of Puntarenas for a long time.
Coffee plantation in the central highlands
With the establishment of the rail link between Costa Rica's capital San José and the port city on the Atlantic Puerto Limón in the second half of the 20th century, Puntarenas lost its importance. The port was run down and no longer met the requirements of modern times. A new cargo port was built in the 1980s in Puerto Caldera, twenty kilometers away. Puntarenas remained the fishing fleet and the increasing number of cruise ships.
Cruise ships at Puntarenas Muelle de Cruceros
Puntarenas economic importance
Puntarenas is one of the tourist centers in Costa Rica. Although the city offers no sights of interest, it is the gateway to the islands in the Gulf of Nicoya and the Carara nature reserve as well as other protected areas. Puntarenas is popular with Costa Ricans for its beaches. On weekends, a well-frequented passenger train runs from San José to Puntarenas. He brings the day vacationers, colloquially known as "Josefinos", to the sea. The fishing port houses the most important fishing fleet in Costa Rica. In addition, Puntarenas is the headquarters of the UTN Universidad Técnica Nacional and one of the locations of the private university Universidad Hispanoamericana de Costa Rica.
Puntarenas - beach life
Puntarenas for crusaders
After the cruise ship has circled the offshore, protective Nicoya Peninsula and turned into the Gulf of Nicoya, it doesn't take long until the narrow headland comes into view on the Puntarenas.
To get ashore, the long pier has to be tackled first. The tourist information center is at the end of the pier. The attractive and manageable harbor zone awaits the visitors. Several hotels, bars and restaurants cater for the guests. Puntarenas has an acceptable beach next to the landing stage. The "Paseo de los Turistas", the promenade, runs above the beach. Colorful souvenir stands, bars and food stalls await the day visitors and long for the Yankee dollar. Under Puntarenas - sights we show a few options for excursions.