Puntarenas is a port city located on a narrow peninsula in the Gulf of Nicoya, on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Aside from flying into San Jose, about 70 miles away (the capital city in the interior) Puntarenas is the main access port for the country.
Rain forests start at the coastline and continue on into the central mountainous region, with rivers, waterfalls, parks and wildlife reserves in abundance.
San Jose is situated in a valley in the central province and sits at 3,700 ft elevation. Although a fairly old city, it also has modern high-rises as well as some typical Spanish style buildings from the colonial era.
Especially worth seeing is the National Theater (built in the 1890’s) and the National Museum, with its extensive displays of pre-Columbian artifacts.
About an hour west of San Jose is the town of Sarchi where you can buy a variety of native arts and crafts (wood figurines, leather goods, wall hangings, etc.) The villagers are famous for their hand painted wood ox carts, which have been used in the area since the late 1800’s. They will ship your miniature (and not so small) replicas anywhere in the world ….. for a small fee of course.
National language is Spanish, currency is the “colon” although U.S. $’s and credit cards are accepted almost everywhere.