Puntarenas, CR

Puntarenas Costa Rica is our port of call on April 25. The map, below, shows the location of the pier and some of the top rated attractions available for excursions.

Top Attractions

Canopy bridge in Selvatura Park

Selvatura Park – Located high in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, Selvatura park has Zip Lines (15), Tree Top Hanging Bridges (8), Herpatarium (frogs & snakes), Insect Museum, Butterfly Garden, Hummingbird Garden, and Restaurant. At about 4,600 feet above sea level, Monteverde has a cool, humid climate that supports a huge diversity of plant and animal life.

Cafe Britt – Produces Costa Rica’s most popular high-quality coffee. The Classic Coffee tour includes a short walk through the coffee farm and  processing plant. Professional actors highlight Costa Rican coffee history and culture. Even if you don’t take this tour, their coffee is available in shops all over Costa Rica.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz Waterfall Gardens – Located near Volcan Poás National Park, La Paz Waterfall Gardens features five magnificent water falls located in the cloud forest (4,200 ft elevation). There is also a hummingbird garden, aviary, toucan feeding, monkeys, insect exhibit, butterfly observatory, two-toed sloths, jungle cats, serpentarium (snakes), aviary,  ranarium (frogs), trout lake, and orchid house.

The waterfall gardens area experienced a significant earthquake in January of 2009. Some of the waterfall trails were damaged by landslides. The latest reviews indicate that two of the waterfalls are accessible.

Poás Volcano National Park – This volcano has a road that allows you to drive all the way to the top at 8,900 feet and peer down into one of the worlds largest active craters. The volcano is thought to be on a 40-year active cycle with the last major eruptions in 1954 (you do the math!). One of the cruise ship excursions to Poás includes stops at the Doka Estate coffee plantation and Sarchi oxcart factories.

Poás volcano

Carara National Park – This very accessible rain forest park is located only about 35 miles by road from the cruise ship pier. The dense tree growth includes 10 of the rarest hardwoods in the country. Animal life include crocodiles, anteaters, ocelots, spider monkeys, and poison-arrow frogs. This is prime birding country with over 400 species of birds including toucan, herons, macaws, and parakeets.

Guide feeding a croc on the Rio Tárcoles

Rio Tárcoles Cruise – This river borders the Carara National Park. The main attraction here is crocodile-spotting boat tours.

Villas Lapas – This destination resort is located in the same general area as Carara and Rio Tárcoles. The close-in location offers good options for those who want a half-day tour. Attractions include five tree canopy suspension bridges and six zip lines.

Manuel Antonio National Park – Manual Antonio National Park  has almost everything that people associate with the Costa Rica outdoors: tropical rain-forest, a large variety of wildlife, and white-sand beaches. Unfortunately for our cruise, the park is closed on Mondays – the day we will be in Costa Rica. I am including this attraction for people on other cruises that may read this.  I also need to include a warning for others on our cruise. Celebrity sells this tour as “Manuel Antonio National Park and Beach Break”. You have to read the description carefully to see the note, that “the tour will visit Rancho Casa Grande, a private natural reserve in place of the Manuel Antonia National Park which is closed on Monday’s.” Be careful of this bait-and-switch.

Weather

The April weather in Puntarenas is hot and humid with an average high of 95 F and 75% humidity. The average low is 73 F. The average April rainfall is 1.2 inches – low for this area.

If you want to get away from the heat, the cloud forests of Monteverde have an average high temperatures of only 71 F and 4.8 inches April rainfall.

Here is the real-time weather for the capital city, San Jose. With an elevation of 3,000 ft, San Jose is much cooler than Puntarenas.

Click for San Jose, Costa Rica Forecast

Port Information

The town of Puntarenas itself is not particularly notable. According to Frommers,  Puntarenas is a “rough-and-tumble, perennially run-down port town. While the seafront Paseo de los Turistas (Tourist Walk) has a string of restaurants and souvenir stands, there’s really little in this town to interest visitors.”

Map – Download and print out this free map to take on the cruise.

Currency Exchange

The local currency is the Costa Rican colón The currency symbol is the “₡”, a c with two slashes. Here is the exchange rate for Costa Rican colón to USD. You might want to print out the Traveller’s Cheat Sheet just before the cruise.

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3 Responses to “Puntarenas, CR”

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  1. Excursions Recap « Millennium Panama Canal - March 11, 2011

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