Puntarenas, Costa Rica

To Spanish explorers, the rumors of gold and vast riches could only mean that this section of Central America was the costa rica - the "Rich Coast."

Hailed as the Switzerland of the Americas, Costa Rica occupies a unique position, lying between two oceans and two continents. On both coasts, tropical rainforests rise to the mountains of the interior, many of which soar over 13,000 feet above sea level. In the west, a seemingly endless succession of brown-sand beaches forms the nation's Pacific coast. Puntarenas is your gateway to Costa Rica's wonders - and to its capital city of San Jose.

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Points of Interest

  • San Jose & National Theater
  • River Cruise
  • Coffee Plantation
  • Costa Rica Animal Center
  • Sarchi
  • Costa Rica Rainforest
  • Thermal Springs
  • Rainforest Aerial Tram
Learn about these Points of Interest

More about Puntarenas, Costa Rica Points of Interest

  • San Jose & National Theater

    Costa Rica's vibrant capital city is home to the Gold Museum, the spectacular Metropolitan Cathedral, the historic National Museum (the scene of fighting during the 1948 civil war), and the National Theater, considered to be the country's most beautiful building.

  • River Cruise

    Costa Rica's river cruises glide through the tropical mangroves where crocodiles, lizards and waterfowl roam, but the Corobici River is a prime waterway for a laid-back river raft float.

  • Coffee Plantation

    Coffee production has always played a key role in the country's history and is important for the economy. Tour a sprawling plantation to discover how coffee is produced, from bean to cup.

  • Costa Rica Animal Center

    Dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of Costa Rica's endangered wildlife back into the wild, the center is home to sloths, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, owls and and other animals.

  • Sarchi

    Sarchi, a friendly rural village, is famous for its talented local artists who paint and decorate traditional oxcarts in intricate, vivid designs. It is also home to the largest oxcart in the world.

  • Costa Rica Rainforest

    From the misty treetops of the Monteverde Cloud Forest to the brilliantly-colored scarlet macaws who call Carara National Park their home, Costa Rica's lush rainforests are full of intrigue.

  • Thermal Springs

    Set near a hidden canyon where a thermo-mineral river flows, the springs are also famous for their natural mineral hot pools and exuberant vegetation.

  • Rainforest Aerial Tram

    Costa Rica's incredible Rainforest Aerial Tram offers an intimate ride above the treetops and past numerous waterfalls while a knowledgeable naturalist guide points out highlights along the way.

23 EXCURSIONS

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Scenic Drive, Cultural Show & Shopping

3.25 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-110

This tour is designed for those who wish to experience the beautiful Costa Rican countryside with minimal walking, including a visit to Esparza, a rural town where you will enjoy a traditional dance performance.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$44.95

COFFEE, CHOCOLATE & SARCHI EXPERIENCE

5.75 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-210
  • Coffee Plantation
  • Sarchi

Learn the secrets behind Costa Rica's famous coffee and chocolate with a tour of the Espiritu Santo Cooperative Coffee Plantation. Then, a visit to the Eloy Alfaro Oxcart Factory in the town of Sarchi offers a look at traditional hand-painted oxcarts and the talented artists.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$59.95

Jungle Crocodile Safari

4.75 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-615
  • River Cruise

Costa Rica's natural splendor abounds when you board the Jungle Crocodile Safari eco-cruise and set off down the Tarcoles River in search of the powerful American crocodile. Take in the lush vegetation, home to over 50 species of colorful birds, then refresh with a fruit snack and souvenir shopping.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$64.95

Eco-Jungle River Cruise

5 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-610
  • River Cruise

Board a boat at the mouth of the Tarcoles River for a gentle cruise through the beautiful Guacalillo Estuary, a world renowned site for exotic birds and crocodile spotting.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$69.95

Train Ride & River Cruise

5.75 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-600
  • River Cruise

Travel back in time on the historic Pacific Railroad, once used to transport Costa Rica's valuable coffee harvests. Then, board a boat at the mouth of the Tarcoles River for a gentle cruise through the beautiful Guacalillo Estuary, a world-renowned site for exotic birds and crocodile spotting.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$89.95

A Walk in the Clouds

6.75 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-470
  • Costa Rica Rainforest

Costa Rica is paradise for ecotourism, and this full day exploring the magnificent San Luis Park and breathtaking cloud forest is a wonderful opportunity to commune with nature. Walk along lush rainforest trails, get a bird's-eye view from suspension bridges 100 feet in the air and visit a butterfly garden.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$99.95

Coffee Plantation, Botanical Garden & Lunch

8 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-205
  • Coffee Plantation

This fascinating cultural trip includes a visit to Costa Rica's famous Palmares church and the Doka Estate coffee plantation, before a tasty lunch and a tour of the magnificent botanical gardens at La Garita.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$99.95

Andalusian Horse Show & Countryside

5.25 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-215

An authentic Andalusian horse fiesta is a celebration of Spanish equestrian traditions, music and garb. Visit Rancho San Miguel, one of the best equestrian facilities in Central America, tour the grounds, then watch a spectacular show celebrating culture, artistry and horsemanship. A stop for souvenirs at El Jardin completes the day.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$99.95

LA PAZ WATERFALL GARDENS, COUNTRY DRIVE & LUNCH

8.5 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-320

Magnificent natural beauty welcomes you at La Paz Waterfall Gardens, where you'll hike among spectacular rainforest scenery and into cloud forests to discover the colorful flora and fauna that call this tropical paradise home. Lunch is included.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$99.95

San Jose, National Theater, & Lunch

7.5 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-100
  • San Jose & National Theater

Experience vibrant San Jose, Costa Rica's capital and exuberant urban center, on a panoramic driving tour that showcases historic neighborhoods,eclectic architecture and includes a visit to the prized, neoclassical National Theater and the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum, a subterranean museum below Plaza de la Cultura. A traditional lunch is included.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$99.95

Pura Vida Gardens

5.25 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-365
  • Costa Rica Rainforest

An oasis of floral splendor, beautiful cascades and colorful wildlife awaits at Pura Vida Gardens. Voted the number one garden in Latin American, Pura Vida immerses you in its natural beauty and the breathtaking majesty of Costa Rica's tallest waterfall. Then, travel to Tarcoles Bridge to photograph the world's largest population of crocodiles.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$99.95

Starbucks Coffee Tour & Oxcart Factory

8.25 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-220
  • Coffee Plantation
  • Sarchi

The aroma of coffee wafts through Hacienda Alsacia, Starbucks' first and only coffee farm. Experience an extensive tour and learn the process from bean to brew, then sample a cup in the cafe. After that, visit Sarchi, home of Costa Rica's best wooden crafts and the Eloy Alfaro Oxcart Factory.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$129.95

Sloth Sanctuary, Botanical Garden, Oxcart Factory & Lunch

7.5 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-230
  • Costa Rica Animal Center
  • Sarchi

Support and tour the Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center, a nonprofit facility dedicated to protecting endangered wildlife and providing medical treatment and a safe haven for animal harmed by humans. Then, admire magnificent floral blooms at La Garita Botanical Gardens and shop for mementos in Sarchi.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$139.95

SABANA ADVENTURE

7 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-350

Go on an African safari without leaving Costa Rica! When you board an open-air tram at the Ponderosa Adventure Park, you can watch zebras stroll through knee-high grass, feed a carrot to a giraffe, admire the massive horns on the ibeks and gemstocks and more.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$139.95

Rainforest Canopy Zip line & Aerial Tram Combination

7 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-405

Thrill to one of Costa Rica's top attractions, the Rainforest Adventure Eco-Park, located in an expansive private reserve, offering both the excitement of ziplining and the serene experience of the aerial tram. Try both on this all-day tour that makes the most of the spectacular rainforest scenery and includes lunch.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$139.95

Aerial Tram, Butterfly Garden, Sloth Sanctuary & Lunch

8.5 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-200
  • Costa Rica Animal Center
  • Costa Rica Rainforest
  • Rainforest Aerial Tram

Marvel at the wonders of Costa Rica's tropical rainforest, taking in its scenic beauty from an open-air gondola high above the treetops, followed by an optional guided nature walk that explores a butterfly garden. Then, visit the Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center to learn how they're protecting the forest's endangered wildlife.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$149.95

Arenal Volcano And Hot Springs

9 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-290
  • Thermal Springs

Indulge your senses and pamper your soul with a visit to natural hot springs fed by the therapeutic sulphur waters from the Arenal volcano. Sit under a tumbling, hot waterfall and feel the relaxing pressure of the water or dip into any number of warm pools.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$149.95

Local Connections: Macaw Lodge, an organic and Sustainable Wonder

7 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-250

Visit one of the world's most sustainable resorts, nestled within the Macaw Sanctuary, a private, 264-acre reserve set in the rolling hills and lush forests of Turrubares. Explore the grounds with its creator and local expert and engage in a cooking demonstration utilizing organic produce grown on the premises that is then served for lunch.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$154.95

Costa Rica's Favorites: Aerial Tram, Tarcoles River & Sloth Sanctuary

10 hours | Puntarenas | PA4-105
  • River Cruise
  • Costa Rica Animal Center
  • Costa Rica Rainforest
  • Rainforest Aerial Tram

Discover the wonders of Costa Rica's tropical rainforest by air, by waterway and up close. Ride an open-air gondola above the treetops for stellar nature views, glide down the Tarcoles River on a jungle cruise, and visit the Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center to learn how it is protecting the forest's endangered wildlife.

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Easy Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal; Includes snack

From

$199.95