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Itineraries for Your Trip to Puntarenas

Puntarenas locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in Puntarenas for First Timers

Curated by Juniper Roselifelong outdoor adventure seeker.

Surrounded by adventure-filled jungle and picturesque islands, Puntarenas makes the ideal place to base while exploring Costa Rica’s renowned natural attractions. Here’s how to enjoy the best of Puntarenas’ authentic local culture, outdoor adventures, and top-notch seafood on a 3-day trip.

Day 1

Start off your stay in Puntarenas with a day exploring the food, culture, and history of the city. Stroll the Paseo de Los Turistas—a beach boardwalk lined with food stalls and souvenir stands—where you can pick up local handicrafts and try a Churchill, a classic local treat made from shaved ice and ice cream. Then, venture from the waterfront to learn more about the region at the Historical Marine Museum of Puntarenas and Casa de la Cultura. Make it back for a seat at one of the open-air, ocean-facing restaurants to watch the sunset over a fresh seafood meal. 

Day 2

Day two is for adventure. Thrill-seekers head to the jungle for a ziplining tour that includes waterfalls, ocean views, rappelling, and off-roading. Or, get your adrenaline fix on a high-ropes challenge course that pushes physical and mental boundaries in the rainforest canopy. 

Alternatively, those looking for a day of relaxation can head to the white sand beaches and turquoise water of Tortuga Island on a speedboat tour that includes sunbathing, snorkeling, and fresh seafood served on the island. Return to Puntarenas to experience the local nightlife scene at one of the dance clubs along the waterfront. 

Day 3

For your last day in Puntarenas, book a tour that includes a bit of everything. By taking a day trip south from Puntarenas to Jaco, adventurous travelers access ziplining, horseback riding, and off-roading through the rainforest, while nature-lovers get to spot monkeys and massive crocodiles along the Tarcoles River. Then, spend the afternoon at the lively surf-friendly Jaco Beach. Catch a wave or just relax and catch some rays. Return to Puntarenas and indulge one last fresh seafood dinner where you can enjoy anything from classic (yet affordable) surf and turf to ceviche, shrimp, and conch fresh from the prolific Gulf of Nicoya.

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