Puntarenas Tourist Attractions
This city is the capital of the Puntarenas province and has a population of about 100,000 people. Puntarenas lies where the Nicoya Gulf meets the Pacific Ocean and was Costa Rica's major port during the 19th C. Goods, especially coffee, were hauled from all over the country to be shipped to Europe from Puntarenas.
Puntarenas remained the most important port on the Pacific coast while rail access to the Caribbean coast was being built. In 1981 a new port was opened south of Puntarenas on the Pacific coast at Caldera, and this facility has become more important. Nevertheless, cruise ships often still dock at Puntarenas for day visits. The city is at its busiest during the dry season when many travellers arrive.Puntarenas is on a sandy peninsula that is 8km/5mi long but only 600m/1,968ft wide at its widest point. The name Puntarenas literally means "sandy point". While there are several sandy beaches, they are polluted and not suitable for swimming, as are the river estuaries. Currently, projects to clean up the waters are underway. Puntarenas is a pleasant town, and many travellers use it as a jumping off point to visit the southern Pacific coast or the Nicoya Peninsula.
Virgin of the Sea Fiesta
Puntarenas celebrates the Fiesta of the Virgin of the Sea on the Saturday closest to July 16. As with usual Costa Rican fiestas, there is a parade, carnival, boat races, dancing and plenty of food and drinks. An interesting feature of the parade in Puntarenas is that the floats are actual boats. Fishing boats and yachts are decorated with lights and flags and sail around the harbor.
Tourist's Walk & Point Municipal Pool
This beach road stretches along the southern coast of Puntarenas and is pleasant for strolling. At the very tip of the Paseo is a sandy point where La Punta Municipal Pool is found.
Occasional cultural events are staged at the Culture House, which features an art gallery.
Marine Historical Museum
This museum displays the history of Puntarenas through artifacts, photos and audiovisual presentations.