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Tiny Puntarenas, on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, is situated between the volcanic beaches of the Golfo de Nicoya and some of the country's highest mountain peaks. Within a half-hour's drive from the port, tropical jungles give up their secrets to the casual observer. Trees flash with color as macaws, toucans and parakeets take flight, and howler monkeys scream in the distance. In the capital city of San Jose, you'll find museums, theaters and shops.Find Cruises Sailing to This Port
Puntarenas is a paradise for eco-tourists. Explore the rain forest on a horseback ride through the enchanting Valley of the Monkeys, where hundred-year-old trees are draped with orchids, ferns and bromeliads. You might see howler monkeys, butterflies, parrots and other colorful birds.
Spend the day river-rafting on the Corobici River and experience a fascinating look at Costa Rica's lush tropical jungles and unusual birds.
The port of Puntarenas was once the main port for coffee exported to England. Today, coffee continues to play an important role in this country's economy. Most visitors to Puntarenas will not want to leave without taking home the delicious flavor of Costa Rican coffee. Puntarenas offers wonderful arts-and-crafts shopping as well. Several craft stands are located ashore near the pier. The walk along the waterfront is pleasant, but be prepared to be approached by a variety of nonrecommended vendors selling local crafts and private tours.
In Sarchi, about one hour outside of San José, you will find many authentic arts and crafts including wood figures, carved walking canes, toys, leather goods, wall hangings and more. The villagers of Sarchi are famous for their hand-painted hardwood oxcarts, used since the beginning of the century to transport coffee and other products. In Sarchi, you can purchase miniature replicas and the colorful cartwheels of these carts, which visitors take home to use as decorative planters, bars or even as a living room or kitchen accent.
The official currency of Costa Rica is the colón (CRC) and the U.S. dollar (USD). Credit cards are accepted in many places, but traveler's checks in U.S. currency are even more widely accepted and are usually a good choice.
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Learn more about this port city with these tourist information guides.