Tourists who would like to enjoy a laid-back, stress-free vacation in Costa Rica should consider making Puntarenas their main destination. Located 75 miles west of the capital city of San José, Puntarenas is the country’s largest province. The provincial capital, Puntarenas City, was once a major shipping port. Today, it has embraced eco-tourism as a major industry in the province, although the city still remains a vital fishing port and a stopover for the many cruise ships that sail the Pacific Ocean.
As with many tourist destinations in Costa Rica, the main attractions of Puntarenas are its beautiful beaches, such as Playa Mal País, San Lucas and Playa Naranjo, and its many national parks and nature reserves such as the Santa Elena Forest Reserve, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and the Parque Nacional Carara.
Tourists staying in Puntarenas City should not forget to visit the Paseo de los Turistas, where many of the city’s restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels are located. On weekends, the area springs to vibrant life as visitors and residents flock to the Paseo to enjoy its many leisure activities and active nightlife. The city also boasts of many sites of historical value such as its church and the many antique homes that remain in their original state.
If you would like to enjoy Puntarenas City at its liveliest, however, the best time to visit is during the city’s fiesta and carnival seasons. The Fiesta del Virgin del Mar is held in July and the Festejos Populares in November, while carnival season is in February and March.