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CENTRAL PACIFIC

© Copyright Costa Rica Travel and Surf - Surf Guide Costa Rica - Carlos Torres 2021. All Rights Reserved.   Designed by 360webmasters.com

LOOKING FOR A TRAVEL ADVENTURE IN CENTRAL PACIFIC?

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The Central Pacific frames the beaches located between Puntarenas in the North and Uvita Point to the South. The beaches in the Central Pacific Coast are, on average, much easier to access than all the other regions in Costa Rica. A reason for this is that it is closer to San Jose and the main airport. This region remains much greener than the Northeast during the dry season, but is also, on average, more humid. The main city of the Pacific Coast is Puntarenas, 130 Km to the west of San José along a paved highway. The average temperature of the coast throughout the year is between 22ºC to 32ºC.

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Choose between these 33 exiting destinations in the Central Pacific area

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COSTA RICAN CENTRAL PACIFIC AREA MAP

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WHERE TO GO & WHAT TO DO

You are about to learn about 33 of the most important and exiting places in the Costa Rican Central Pacific.

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1. PUNTARENAS

It is been slowing forming little by little with sands and sediments from the northern rivers and sands that are brought by the winds and the currents from the mouth of the Río Barranca. The river mouth is 7 ½  Km long, 600 meters at its widest point and it has a maximum level of 3 meters above sea level. The history of the city is linked to the harbour, rail, commercial and fishing activity on an industrial level. Only 130 Km from San José, a two hour journey along a road that is in very good condition, this beautiful Pacific Port is known as the pearl of the Pacific. Here you will find one of the most extensive beaches of Costa Rica were 12% of the population is located.

 

The main port of the country, Puerto Caldera, has become the most important port for exportation. There is a pier which receives cruise ships.Activities and FestivitiesThe festivals of the Virgen del Mar are during the second week of July, where you can enjoy traditional food, seafood dishes, artistic expressions and on the 16th of July, the day of the Virgin, there is a boat parade with ships that have been artistically decorated. The carnivals every year, take place February, the city is dressed in happiness, art, music dance and all the colors of a carnival that go through the main roads of the city and the Paseo de los Turistas, where you can enjoy processions, floats, outside concerts, food, and all the happiness and hospitality of the village of  Puntarenas.

 

 

 

2. SAN LUCAS ISLAND

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San Lucas Island National Park is an island located off the Pacific shore of Costa Rica in the Gulf of Nicoya. It is part of the Puntarenas district of Puntarenas Canton of the province of Puntarenas. about 40 minutes by boat from Puntarenas. The island has an area of approximately 4.6 km2. Formerly housing a brutal prisión, now abandoned, the island was designated as a National Park on August 2020 by decree 9892 and managed under the Central Pacific Conservation Area. From 1873 to 1991, San Lucas Island was a penal island for some of the worst criminals in Costa Rica.

It is often erroneously cited as the largest prison in Costa Rican history. It was founded by the dictator Tomás Miguel Guardia Gutiérrez.  Being sent to San Lucas Island was a terrible prospect as prisoners' lives were short and often spent in torture. Ironically, Guardia abolished the death penalty a year after establishing the prison.The former buildings of the penal island are considered "Patrimonio de Cultura," or cultural heritage sites.The buildings include a historic dock that is still in use after the first dock was destroyed, a church, a medical building, temporary holding cells, a three-story main office, a large concrete disc used to hold a water tank, and water pumps. In addition, there are prison cells of varying security levels depending on the prisoners' crimes.

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3. TORTUGA ISLAND

It is another marvel in the Golfo of Nicoya, the excursions leave from the pier in Puntarenas to this paradise, and the journey lasts 1½ to 2 hours with an exciting trip offering panoramic views of several islands, dolphins, turtles and more. This island has white sand and turquoise colored water.


Things to do in Tortuga Island

Rides on a glass bottom boat. Hiking in the hills. Beach volleyball. Banana boat. Paddle board. Horseback riding. Snorkeling. Jet Ski.


Is the best known Island, and it is made up of two islands that are located some 5km to the southeast of Negritos. You can scuba dive at the beautiful beaches and go on daily excursions from Puntarenas. Tortuga Island is much more than just beach with white sand, it also offers exuberant flora and fauna and adventure, it is a dream island in the Pacific Ocean. Among the activities in the island, Tortuga´s Canopy Tour is one of the most exciting, this thrilling adventure will get your adrenaline pumping to the maximum and you will want to relive the experience. In the tour you will go up a footpath for 5 minutes until you reach a height of forty meters and you will then jump using a pulley of fine rope along the treetops on a journey of 150 meters. 



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4. GUAYABO, NEGRITO AND PÁJARO ISLANDS BIOLOGICAL RESERVES

 

Guayabo Island is located approximately 8 Km to the south of the Puntarenas Port in the Nicoya Gulf. Negritos Island is 16.5 Km to the south and the Pájaros Islands is 13 Km to the northwest of Puerto de Puntarenas. The Guayabo and Negritos Island where established as reserves on the 28th of February 1973 and the Pájaros Island on the 28th of April 1976. The Guayabo and Negritos Island have an extension of 143.5 hectares and the Pájaros Island has an extension of 4 hectares. The islands are places of habitat and reproduction with abundant populations of sea birds, as well as species of flora characteristic to the area. The Guayabo Island is an important rock, 50 meters high, covered with bushes and spiny plants in some areas. There are species of trees such as the fig tree, the coyol palm. On the Negritos Islands, the vegetation is semi deciduous; there are species of white flower, Pochote and Indio Desnudo. On the rocky peaks there are areas full of piñuela casera and coyol palm.  On the Pájaros Island, the vegetation is made up of short forests with areas of pasture.  The mixed guava, the Guanacaste, the fig tree and the golden spoon bushes are very popular here. The fauna of the islands is mainly made up of seabirds. During some periods of the year migratory birds arrive to look for food and reproduce. The most common species are the frigate birds, the black headed gull, the brown caped gannet and the Pardo pelican. This last species uses the Guayabo Island as a nesting area and it is estimated that there is a population of around 200 to 300 birds. Other species of fauna include the peregrine halcyon, the white tailed dove and the black iguana. There are violin crabs, sea crabs, cambutes, oysters and a large variety of fish.

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5. CHIRA ISLAND

Chira Island is a 3,000-hectare Costa Rican Pacific island located at the upper end of the Gulf of Nicoya, an extensive inlet of seawater that is the result of a geological fault that has caused the land to submerge, leaving exposed only the tops of what were formerly low hills. These are the various islands that dot the Gulf, the largest of which being the Island of Chira - Costa Rica's second largest island. The Gulf of Nicoya separates Guanacaste from mainland Costa Rica and is fed by the Tempisque River. Chira Island lies just off San Pablo, Guanacaste.


Ecologically, Chira contains the most intact biodiversity of tropical dry forest flora in Costa Rica, if not Central America.


Six villages make up the bulk of the population of Chira Island, located along the Northern edge of the island, from the West end to the East End. The eastern end of the island is dominated by mangrove swamps.


Approximately 3,000 people live on the island and the main economic activity is fishing, farming or work on the salt pans. These salt pans are popular with roseate spoonbills and other wading birds. Isla Chira is bisected by a large estuary to the east leading into a canal through vast mangrove swamps. There is only a little accommodation on the island. From Puntarenas a daily boat goes to Isla Chira from the fish market. Hire-boats might be available in Pájaros or San Pablo.


Due to the reliance on marine resources and alternative industries being limited in number, significant pressure has been put on the island's natural resources. Due to this, a project has been developed to establish a bank of mollusks, a kind of oyster for artisan fishing, in order to create a commercially viable resource for long term economic development. Additionally, attempts have been made to encourage various activities related with tourism, primarily using the Island's natural and geographical resources, such as the mangrove swamps and the Tempisque River, as well as the local culture.

Each year in June and July, there is a national bike race, as well as a running race, for those that want to explore the natural and unexplored beauty of the island.

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6. ISLA DEL COCO NATIONAL PARK

 

Coco Island, curiously coconut trees are not very abundant on this Pacific Ocean Island, 550 Km to the southeast of the city of Puntarenas and 650 km, to the north east of the Galapagos Island. From the port of Puntarenas, it takes 36 hours to get here at a speed of night knots. It has an extension of 2.400 hectares on land and 97.235 in the sea. The island is considered to be a natural laboratory for the study of the evolution of species. 

 

Information

There is a forest post and you need permission to visit. There are several footpaths, it is prohibited to camp.  Visitors must spend the night on their boats, entry to the park costs 35 US$ a day per person.

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7. DOÑA ANA BEACH

Located 14.5 Km from the center of the city, it is a wooded public park located on the highway to Caldera. Doña Ana Tourist Lodging. At the entrance of the beach there is parking 0,60 US$. Access for the beach for adults/children 1.50/ 0.75 US$; open from  08:00 a.m to 05:00 p.m, perfect for swimming, there is a bar, picnic areas, changing areas  and bathrooms. In reality there are two beaches: Doña Ana and Boca Barranca. The buses from Caldera pass by the entrance. It is located at the mouth of the Río Barranca, with an approximate extension of 700 meters; it has an irregular, rocky coast with strong waves. It is a black sandy beach, with some areas of vegetation. There are beautiful cliffs. One of the main attractions is the train tunnel called Miraflores, built between 1907 and 1910 and was inaugurated on the 23rd of July during the Presidential Administration of Ricardo Jiménez O., it was built with stone and rocks in the area, it is 200 meters long, and was used as a railtrack until 1925, but there were constant landslides near the Carballo rock and the route had to be changed and the tunnel was eventually abandoned; in 1995 it was declared of natural historical and inaugurated interest. There is a mangrove estuary situated opposite the Caldera port. It is possible to rent boats and hire ornithology guides to visit the canals. The village is divided into two sectors by the river, by a pedestrian bridge. 

 

 

 

 

 

8. CALDERA BEACH AND MATA LIMÓN 

 

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It is located approximately 14 kilometres from Puntarenas. The beach is 3 km long and with black sand; with strong waves. The Coyolar is where you can observe the scenic beauty of this area. It is very well conserved; there is also a pier where cruise ships often dock.

 

Mata de Limón

It is a very popular tourist complex. It is close to the Puerto de Caldera, and the buses from  Puntarenas to Caldera arrive here. The turnoff is located 1km to the south of the Doña Ana beach. The river divides it into two parts; the lagoon and the majority of tourist facilities are located on the south bank. You can use speedboats; it is a small and quiet space, with some cabins and very good restaurants that serve seafood as well as other dishes. From here onwards is called the Costanera Sur, not including Orotina and the Iguana Park.

 

 

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9. MIRAMAR

Nestled in the Costa Rica North Puntarenas province sits the city of Miramar, the capital of the Montes de Oro canton. This relatively small city, had a population of 8,298 inhabitants, but there are plenty of attractions for visitors to enjoy when they make their way to this popular city just 110 kilometers from San José. Miramar has an area of 110.64 km² and an elevation of 340 metres. In addition to the turtle's habitat, visitors to Miramar can head out to the Tilarán Mountains for hikes within the beautiful untouched landscapes for more Costa Rica Wildlife. The mountains and forests are home to numerous wild and exotic flora and fauna. There are amazing vistas of the Gulf of Nicoya and Pacific Coastline. Those who make it to higher elevations can explore beautiful gardens and a cloud forest.
 
Peñas Blancas National Refuge of Forest Fauna
Ran by the Service of National Parks (SPN), it has an extension of 2.400 hectares. It is located 6 Km to the northeast of Miramar Village and 8Km to the northeast of the Interamerican. The road is in good condition, but after passing by Miramar it does worsen, but it is possible to walk the remaining 6 Km to get to the refuge, you can also continue east by car, although the route is in bad condition. This option allows you to pass by Santa Bonita and the area of Peñas Blancas, close to the refuge and 14km from Miramar. Another option is to travel along the Interamerican from Macacona some 3 Km to the east of Esparza. It is a gravel road of around 20Km that heads north, towards Peñas Blancas. The refuge is located in the south of the Tilarán Cordillera. It is 600 meters in altitude wiuth an extension of more than 1.400 meters, with three types of forest: Dry Tropical in the lower southwestern area; dry and humid in the central areas and the pre-mountain forest in the highest regions of the north. Peñas Blancas is so called because of the accumulation of unicellular algae. Millions of years ago when Central America was below sea, several dead diatomaceous set into the ocean floor, forming thick deposits, whose consistency is similar to that of chalk. There are no installations in the refuge but you can camp. 

 

 

 

 

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10. ESPARZA

 

One of the oldest cities in Costa Rica, Esparza, North Puntarenas is a must-see destination for both history buffs and nature lovers alike. Esparza was created on 6 November 1851 by decree 39. The territory of the canton of Esparza was first inhabited by the Chorotega and Huetar cultures. The first belonged to the province of Orotina (one of five Chorotega provinces), ruled by King Gurutiña. The Huetar belonged to the western Huetar kingdom, dominated at the time of the Spanish conquest by King Garabito, or Coyoche, one of the key leaders of the Costa Rican indigenous resistance.

 

In 1522, Don Gil González Dávila was the first Spanish visitor to the region, journeying from Burica to the indigenous village of Avancari (now Abangaritos , in the canton of Puntarenas).

In 1561, Don Juan de Cavallón y Arboleda, was commissioned by the Royal Audiencia of Guatemala to conquer the province of Nuevo Cartago and Costa Rica. He founded the town of Los Reyes, with the port of Landecho in Tivives Cove, within the Canton of Esparza.

In 1574, Alonso Anguciana de Gamboa, acting governor, relocated citizens of the town of Aranjuez to found the first seat of the city of Espíritu Santo (5km from the current site of Esparza), in the valley then known as Coyoche, between the Barranca and Jesus Maria rivers, near the present village of Artieda.

 

There the citizens constructed a small chapel, and shortly afterwards the convent of San Lorenzo, whose first priest was Fray Diego de Guillon. In 1576 the chapel was established within a parish, dedicated to Our Lady of Candelaria. The parish is now suffragan to the diocese of Puntarenas, in the ecclesiastical province of Costa Rica. In 1577 (a year later), the governor of the province, Diego de Artieda y Chirino, established the port of Caldera, replacing Landecho.

 

Artieda changed the name of the town, adding "Esparza" to the name of the "Ciudad del Espíritu Santo". He did this in memory of his hometown, the village of Esparza, located in the valley of Salazar, in Navarra, Spain, 80 km from the capital of the province, Pamplona. Between 1622 and 1629 the second and final seat of the Ciudad del Espíritu Santo de Esparza was established about five kilometers northwest of its original location. In 1685 the city was sacked by pirates. The following year (1686), pirates burned most of the town, except the church and convent of San Lorenzo. The people were forced to flee inland, taking refuge in Las Cañas and Bagaces.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the territory of the Ciudad del Espíritu Santo de Esparza extended from the Montes del Aguacate to the rivers Salto and Tempisque. 

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11. OROTINA

Orotina The city of fruitIt is located in Tárcoles Valley. Irrigated from the west to the east by the Río Tárcoles. This area has very picturesque landscapes, and the people are friendly, noble and hardworking. Located 67 kilometers from San José. Orotina is located a privileged area  as it located in the tourist corridor of the Central Pacific, that consists of the protected areas such as the Carara reserve and Manuel Antonio National Park; coastal areas with beaches such as  Herradura, Jaco, Punta Leona, Doña Ana, Hermosa Beach, Esterillos and much much more, these beaches are 30 or 60 minutes journey, you will also be able to see the Conservation Project Iguana Park, the hot springs, Chompipe mountain. The hammock bridge over the Río Grande de Tárcoles and Río Machuca.

 

 

 

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12. TARCOLES

 

Some 2km to the south of the Carara Forest Ranger Post there is a turn off to Tárcoles on the right heading to the west, the turnoff to the hotel Villa Lapas is to the left.  To get to Tárcoles, you need to take a right turn and drive a further 1 km, and to return you need to go back the same way at the T junction that takes you to the village, that has cabins and a beach. To get to the marshy land of the Río Tárcoles, you will need to travel a further 3 km passing by the village, it is a first class area to watch coastal birds, especially at low tide.


Circuits to see Crocodiles

In the area of the Rio Tárcoles there are some signposts that advertise crocodile tours, on boats you can get close to these animals and watch as the guides feed them.


The waterfall

Located 5 km past the hotel Villa Lapas, entry 15 US$; open from 08:00 a.m to 03:00 p.m. It has a height of  200 meters, you need to take a 45 minute walk down steep footpath, and to get out you need to take an uphill walk of about 90 minutes. The approximate time take to carry out this tour is about 90 minutes and you will be able to see poison our red and green arrow frogs, birds from the area, and viewpoints. The footpath and the waterfall are located in a virgin rainforest.  At the foot of the waterfall, the river crosses several natural pools where you can bathe.

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13. PUNTA LEONA BEACH

This small point is between Tarcoles and Jaco. The Blue Flag is the best nacional acknowledgement that the government offers regarding the cleanliness of beaches, their water and also swimmer safety.  For several continuous years, Punta Leona has won three blue flags for its beaches: Blanca, Mantas and Limoncito. The Red Parrot was for many years abundant throughout Central America. Unfortunately poachers began to steal nets and sell them to foreign collectors and vets. There are now an endangered species. In Costa Rica they can only be seen in the Carara National Park, in Punta Leona and in the Península de Osa . The Red Parrot (birds that live their whole life with just one partner) this program started in 1996 under the management of Christopher Vaughn with the objective of increasing the amount of red parrots in the area. They managed to achieve this by making artificiality nests in the highest trees in Punta Leona to attract the Red Parrots eggs.  The success of the program is largely thanks to the fact that Punta Leona is a private reserve where poachers cannot steal their eggs.

 

 

 

 

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14. GUACALILLO BEACH 

 

This beach is located in the Tárcoles area and has grey sand color and a pretty strong wave swell. This beach has waves that are great for surfing; just be careful because seen crocodiles around this place. One of the main attractions in this place is crocodile sighting tour in Tárcoles River. There are accommodation options, mainly hotels and cabins. The road is in bad shape, but an automobile will do the job if you are careful while driving. The Rock of Guacalillo​

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15. HERRADURA BEACH

Located 3, 5 km to the north of Playa Jaco. A 3 km paved road to the west takes you as far as Herradura Beach, it is a quiet and secluded place, with white sand, filled with palm leaves, it is home to a sports port, a hotel and a tourist center, one of the largest in the country. Also at the entrance of the beach is the village where you will find a supermarket Diana, and a gas station some 300 meters away there are also public telephones. 

 

 

 

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16. JACO BEACH

 

Located 110 km from San José and 7 above sea level. The sandy stripof almost 5 km long is one of the most popular beaches in Costa Rica. It is the first beach city that was developed on the south Pacific Coast. It is a long and beautiful beach, and its closeness to San José makes it very popular with Costa Ricans as well as foreign students. You can bathe here although you will need to be careful with the underwater currents, they are very dangerous. Located 3.5 km from Herradura. The beach is 2km from the coastal highway.

The Jaco area has a Social Security clinic, private doctors, two pharmacies, dentists, Surf School, supermarkets, liquor stores, shopping center, butchers, bakeries, three discos, three casinos, cabins, B&B, hotels, surf shop, bars and a variety of restaurants. As well as car, bicycle, and scooter rental among others.

 

Surf

Many surfers take advantage of the facilities they find in Jaco as a base to travels to nearby beaches, where they find very strong waves, such as Tivives, Valor, Escondida, Boca Barranca, Hermosa, Bejuco, Esterillos East and West and Boca Damas. Waves in this zone tend to be more consistent here than in other places. There is a store with equipment for surfers. It is also a good place to obtain information related to surfing in other places within the country. The surfers can find various stores downtown, places where boards can be bought when they ask for them in advance, rent of boards and other kinds of related information.

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17. HERMOSA BEACH JACO

3 kilometers to the south of Jaco is Hermosa beach, with its large waves it is often visited by surfers, it is an easy place to get to enjoy the sun, the sand and the sea, you can also see a variety of birds here such as zacudas, especially white royal herons and egrets. It is perhaps one of the beaches with the most consistent or regular waves throughout the whole year, it has an extension of approximately 24 km, and along the beach you will be able to find consistent waves because of the constant changing sea bed with volcanic sands. One of the most radical points to go surfing in Hermosa is located at the beginning of the beach, use the Hotel Terraza del Pacifico as a reference point, as the seabed is rocky, it gives the waves much more speed, power and size.

 

The Terraza waves runs to the right and the left and has even been compared to the Hawaiian backdoor waves, not because of their gigantic size but because they form a hole, especially for those surfers that love tubes, their good speed and excellent size can vary from 3 feet to up to 12 feet from the front. Because of this we don’t recommend Playa Hermosa for beginner surfers; it is mores suited to intermediates and advanced that are looking to catch a good wave.  In Hermosa you can surf throughout the year, everyday and during the day and night, as Hotel Terraza del Pacífico has installed a power lighting system that allows people to practice this sport, making this the only illuminated beach in Latin America to go surfing. It is here where great surfing tournaments have taken place, with the participation of Surf Federations from 13 countries around the world. The United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Panamá, Colombia, Venezuela, Perú, Brasil, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Italy, French and Costa Rica. To make up a total of 200 surfers within a professional environment, receiving attention from both national and international media, which has really put the country on the map in terms of surfing. Among the most outstanding championships, Expo Surf is an excellent one, with the participation of 50 stands with products and services related to the tourism industry and surfing, as well as the beauty contest named Tica Surf as well as all the action that this surfing competition has to offer. In June 1998 Hermosa beach, a refuge for forest wildlife, with a total protected area of 47 hectares where where green and Lora turtles nest, the egg laying season is from June to December. Offering footpaths through the mountains for walks, mountain bikes, quad bikes or simply nature lover and bird watchers. This beach is traditionally peaceful and in there are a few places that offer accommodation at varied prices, as well as restaurants and bars. In addition it is located only 5 minutes away from Jaco, 30 minutes away from the Carara Biological Reserve, 1 hour from Manuel Antonio. With a road that is in perfect condition, and frequent public transport it deserves to be called: HERMOSA.

 

 

 

 

 

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18. ESTERILLOS BEACH

 

Located respectively 22, 25 and 30 km to the southeast of Jaco; all of them are 2 km from the coast. Among them, the Esterillos has an extension of several deserted areas, and at some points you can go surfing. The Esterillos area has hotels, cabins, campsites, Surf School, restaurants, supermarkets, Internet, disco, bars, soda and public telephone. The three Esterillos have a combined length of 24 Km.

 

 

19. PALMA REAL (BANDERA) BEJUCO BEACH

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Located 140 Km from San José, 11 Km. from Parrita, 30 Km from Quepos and 25 minutes from Jaco and Hermosa Beach. There are two entrances via the main road with signs that say Bandera Beach 3 Km from the village and travel 6 Km further and you will get to the beach. This beach is 8 Km long with black sand, the ocean currents come from the open sea and you will need to be careful if you go swimming here. It is full of coconut trees, of which Alex Castro and his father planted approximately 6000, it is a quiet place, clean and ideal to rest. Here you can see monkeys, crabs, pisotes, snake and a variety of birds. In  the lagoon you can see the pink heron, which is located at the entrance of the beach 500 meters east, at the end of the beach there is the mouth of the Río Parrita, that is special for fishing. Robalo fishing tournaments have been  here and you can also enjoy tours through the mangroves.

 

Bejuco Beach

Some beaches that are situated past Esterillos, are not often visited, Bejuco beach for example. It has good surf as well as Palma Beach, both are accessible via some short side roads that leave the Costanera.

 

 

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20. PARRITA

 

Located 40 km from Jaco, head to the south from Esterillos and you will get to Parrita. This is a great place; the beach has black sand. Like the rest of the surrounding area the beach has a break just to the south of the village in Palo Seco Beach. Follow the sign to the south of Parrita towards the beach. You won’t find large groups of surfers here. If you did you can drive your car along the beach until you find a break for yourself. The breakas are the best at high tide.  


Parrita has 4 787,79 square feet kilometers of extension, 42 of them are areas of beaches and exuberant forests. Parrita is no longer a place just to pass by before you get to Jacó or Manuel Antonio. It’s now a great destiny for the beach, sun, ecotourism, and extreme sports lovers. There are perfect waves for the surfers, swinging bridges in the middle of the forests, clear water rivers and waterfalls, and a mangrove marsh full of different species of animals. There are also the best landscapes for horseback riding and mountain biking. It has a population of 13 000 people approximately and the weather is summer-warm most of the year. It’s is also a city dedicated to the agriculture business: It’s easy to observe the crops of pineapple, rice, banana, watermelon and the palm (considered a very important product in the area). Parrita is only 15 minutes away from Jacó and Manuel Antonio, and is called the Ecuador of the Pacific. There is a unique show, the National mule festival, where there are mule pair competitions. It was declared of tourist interest by the Costa Rica Tourism Institute. The mules compete in the “mulódromo” or dome, built with bamboo sticks. This fun festival is celebrated every year at the end of January. Have 2 gas stations, Internet, post office, hotels, Restaurants, Sodas, Banks.​

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21. PALO SECO BEACH

This beautiful place is not spoken about very much and not many people have been there even though it is only three hours from San José. The Pacific waves break on this magnificent deserted beach, surrounded by palm trees. Behind the beach you can find mangroves and the Palo Seco stream which is where the waters from the Río Damas flow into. From the village of Parrita, you will drive 4 Km along a paved road and 2km along a graveled road. If you do not have a car, the village of Parrita offers bicycles or taxis for 3 US$.

 

 

 

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22. DAMAS ISLAND

 

Take a trip through the canals on Damas Island where you can enjoy the beautiful beaches that are located here. There are some boats that offer great facilities. The trip lasts two or three hours and you will go along canals where you will be able to see a variety of birds, mammals and reptiles. The time to carry out this trip is during high tide. A little more to the north of the mouth of the Río Quepos you will find a break from the river mouth with rights and lefts. Normally here the breaks are larger that the closer breaks, especially in Quepos and Manuel Antonio. Like with other river mouths it is better to surf here when the sea is coming in. When the tide is going out the currents are so strong that you could be take out by one of them. Another common feature of the river mouth of Boca Damas is the presence of crocodiles. On the right hand side of the southern river mouth, the surf is long, fast and sometimes makes tubes. On the north side it has a long left that you can get to by boat from Quepos or Damas.

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23. QUEPOS 

Located 5 meters above sea level, 167 km from San José, 70 km from Jaco and 7 km from the Manuel Antonio National Park. It was an important port for banana exportation separated by just 7 kilometers from the famous Manuel Antonio National Park. There is a regular bus service that travels between these two places and the city has an acceptable offer of hotels, restaurants, shops, bars and discos. Quepos has preserved some of the air of a fishing and banana city from the old Costa Rica. It is said that the first mission in Costa Rica settled here in 1570. It was abandoned by the last inhabitants in 1751, today you can still visit the ruins, located up river from Río Naranjo. Its name is taken from the tribe of Quepoa Indians, a subgroup of Borucas that inhabited the area during the times of the conquest. The number of people from Quepos decreased because of the illnesses that came from Europe, from the soldiers and other groups of indigenous people, and also because they were sold as slaves. At the end of the XIX century there were no longer any original people from Quepos “puro”, and the area began to be occupied by farmers.

 

 

 

 

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24. CERRO NARA Y NARANJITO

 

Naranjito is a picturesque village, because of its proximity and climate many people have settled here. It is located only 10 km away from the center of Quepos, and almost all of the basic services. Cerro Nara, is a few kilometers away, it is one of the protected areas that is an important area of water for the district of Naranjito. You can go on horse rides through the virgin forest. This is an agricultural area, where they cultivate: achiote, species, vanilla, and traditional products such as corn, beans and tropical fruit.

 

Savegre

It is an area that produces basic grain and African Palm, this is an interesting place to come to, as you can learn about these crops and enjoy the Rey Beach.

 

Rey Beach

It is situated between the river mouths of Ríos Savegre and Naranjo or rather, to the south of Manuel Antonio National Park. It is a one day tour and is great for tourists.

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25. MANUEL ANTONIO BEACH

This small town is located at the entrance of the national park and you can find various hotels and restaurants that are economical here. Espadilla Beach is good, but swimmers should be careful with the currents. This beach is 7 kilometers from Quepos and 174 kilometers from San Jose. Its territory embodies 1.625 hectares and was declared National Park in 1972. The information center of the park is: + 506 2777-0644 + 506 2777-0654, before arriving at Manuel Antonio Beach. The park is open from 07:00 a.m. to 04:00 p.m., from Tuesday to Sunday.

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26. MANUEL ALNTONIO NATIONAL PARK

 

Located 7 km from Quepos and 174 km from San José. It has an extension of 1625 kilometers and was declared a National Park in 1972. The park is closed on Mondays to protect the ecosystem in the park; the forest rangers only allow the entry of a maximum of 600 people a day during week and 800 during the weekend and holidays. Its seems that the name of the park comes from a Spaniard that lived and died in a confrontation with the indigenous: he was buried at the foot of a tree where somebody put a plaque with a cross that said: Manuel Antonio; the place was used some time ago as a cemetery; today there is no evidence to say he existed. It is an area with some of the most famous beaches in Costa Rica. This is one of the few places in the country where the tropical forest borders the ocean in some parts. The Espadilla beach in the north is the first of three that there are in the park. Its waters are quite dangerous because of its underwater currents, and it is recommended that you go with some care. A sandbank, which is covered with high tide, leads to the beach.  Espadilla south beach and Manuel Antonio beach. Both are excellent and safe places to swim and scuba dive. In the park you can practice a variety of activities: sunbathing, surfing, swimming and even snorkeling. You can hire a horse and take a ride through the forest. The vegetation as well as the fauna, is varied and abundant. In the tropical forest and the plains of Manuel Antonio there are hundreds of species of plants. You can go mountain biking, go down the rapids, or float along the waves in the sea on a kayak. To the north of the park, on the cliffs that rise up behind the beaches, there are several signs that advertise different hotels, cabins and restaurants with international food. The majority of accommodation is on the side of the road that is facing the ocean. Many cabins and hotels are built on cliffs and guests have sea views.

 

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27. MATAPALO BEACH

It is place 38 km to the south of Quepos which you get to on the highway known as the Costanera Sur. The beach is long and quiet, with perfect waves for surfing. There is an information office before you get to the beach, a public telephone, grocery stores, hotels restaurants, cabins, Internet, camping, horses for hire and much more. To the north and to the south of Matapalo are the beaches of Savegre y Barú, both are beautiful and not busy. Visit them during low tide, on the main road, at the Express Deli del Pacífico sign, you’ll need to turn off the main road to the beach. The gravel road is in good condition and you will need to cross over several concrete bridges.
 
 

 

 

28. DOMINICAL AND DOMINICALITO

 

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Only 3 hours away from the main international airport is 1.5 kilometers from Baru Ranch and 35 kilometers southwest away from San Isidro del General (Perez Zeledon), and 44 kilometers from Quepos by the Costanera road with a distance of two hours, leaving from San Isidro del General over a paved road that crosses the Valley El General by the south which has precious landscapes. The trip from San Jose to Playa Dominical lasts four hours. Dominical is a large beach with sediment sand of very dark red tones with good waves to surf. If you wish to swim, you have to be careful, as there might be some dangerous currents. The Costanera road surrounds Dominical and you enter the town by crossing the Rio Baru Bridge. There is a main road that passes through the community, where many facilities are found. A road also runs parallel to the beach. There are Internet services, surf stores, public telephones,  commercial center,  banks, hotels, hostel, surf school, diving. In Playa Dominicalito, south from Dominical, there are good breaks for surfers. It is recommended to swim during low tide so you are able to see the coral rocks. As well as this an excellent view of the beach can be enjoyed. The area of Dominical offers plenty of gorgeous beaches for you to enjoy. Playa Dominicalito, Playa Piñuelas and Playa Ventanas are located in a bay. These are very nice small beaches surrounded by nature and are excellent for swimming. Playa Ventanas has caves along the beach that you can walk through during low tide. At high tide you can watch the caves blow-out water with an impressive power. The area offers also long stretched-out beaches, like Playa Hermosa, Playa Linda and Playa Matapalo. The national park Marino Ballena in Uvita covers 44.5 terrestrial hectares (110 acres) and 2175 marine hectares (5375). It is also home to the largest coral reef on the pacific coast of Central America. There are great boat tours available that can bring you up close with the abundant marine life (responsively). You pass by beautiful beaches and will snorkel between colorful fish above the reef. But most impressing are the sightings of the dolphins & whales. The area of Dominical is known for its many waterfalls. The Nauyaca waterfalls are probably the most impressive of all. The highest waterfall of Nauyaca is 45 meters (148 ft) and there are several natural swimming pools for you to enjoy. The waterfalls are tucked away in dense jungle, making the setting absolutely gorgeous. There is a great horseback riding tour to the Nauyaca waterfalls.

 

 

29. SAN JOSECITO OF UVITA

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To the north of Punta Encanto, San Josecito beach, it is a quiet place offering accommodation

30. PUNTA UVITA BEACH

 

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(Bahía Uvita)

Located 18 Km to the south of Dominical, it is the closest community to the Marino Ballena National Park, there are some sodas and accommodation. There are several entrances from the road, and the beaches are called Uvita and Bahía Uvita (to the south). The coastal village of Uvita, that is at the base if a point that is located out into the Pacific Ocean. During high tide it becomes an Island. If you have time and there is enough surf you can explore this island, there has not been a lot of surf seen here, but it has not been covered well. If there is no surf you can use the entrance to the Ballena National Park. The only marine park in Costa Rica. The park is home to the largest coral reef on the Pacific Coast of the country. There is also a reef, an island just off the coast called, Ballena Island, that can have some good waves. 

 

 

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31. MARINO BALLENA NATIONAL PARK


There is a forest ranger post, which was created in 1997, which is the association for the development for the Marino Ballena National Park. Both work within the park + 506 2743-8236 + 506 8946-7134. https://parque-nacional-marino-ballena.business.site/ Entry 6US$ and you can get more information here. This national marine park was created in 1989 to protect the coral reef and 5375 hectares of ocean that surrounds Ballena Island, to the south of Uvita. The humpbacked whales (are so called because of the way they come to the surface before they dive) scientific name is megaptera novaeangliae, they visit the Pacific Coast during August, September and October and whales come here from the southern hemisphere in December, January and February, March and April they migrate to this area and you can see those from the north between December, March and April.

The island has colonies of rabihorcados magnos, piqueros patiazules, and other seabirds, as well as many green iguanas and basilisk lizards. All year round you can find dolphins and bottlenose dolphins, The park includes 13km of sandy and rocky beaches, mangroves, river mouths and rocky mountain areas: a total of 110 hectares of land. This is where the woodpeckers and carey turtles lay their eggs during the rainy months of May and November and especially in September and October. The six types of Costa Rican mangroves are represented within this park: two species of black mangroves and red mangrove, the piñuelo, the white and the gelí. The forest ranger post is in the village of Bahía, and along the Uvita coast.


You can hire boats from Bahía to Ballena Island for between 15 and 20 US$ per hour: you can dock in the island and go snorkeling. This is best done during low to medium tide, above all when the tides aren’t extreme.


The Marino Ballena National Park is located in  Costa Ballena  and belongs to the Osa Conservation Area. It extends from the Morete river mouth to Punta Piñuela. In 1989 it was declared National Marine Park, and its limits extended in 1992. It has a land area of 284 acres and 13,276 acres of sea.   Here you´ll find the famous Whale’s Tail, with a length of about 2296 feet and a width of 820 feet, and is the world’s third largest sandbank. During the low tide, you can walk to its very end.   The entry fee to the park is $6 for foreigners, and $ 2 if you are a national or resident. Keep your ticket; it allows you to access Playa Uvita, Playa Colonia, Playa Ballena, and Playa Piñuela the same day.


OUTSTANDING NATURAL RESOURCES 

The dolphin populations are resident, so it is usual to see them more often. Turtle watching and nesting on our beaches is from July to December.


Humpback whale watching seasons: 

Southern migration, August to November and Northern population from December to March.


Beach and Sun: The beach extension is 9.32 miles; there are 4 official points of entry: Uvita, Colonia, Piñuelas, and Ballena. The Colonia Beach sector has been classified as one of the best beaches to learn surfing.


Paso de Moises ( Moises Path): The famous whale tail, if you want to walk along the tombolo you should do it at  low tide. This is a natural formation created by the convergence of two currents. Snorkeling is allowed, however, the use of swimming fins is not, unless the tide is low.


Birdwatching: Ballena Island and Tres Hermanas Rock are great places for birdwatching.


Arco Beach: One of the most beautiful beaches of the park, access is possible during low tide through the Ballena sector.


Camping: Is allowed only in Colonia and Piñuelas, bonfires and consumption of alcoholic beverages are prohibited in the Park.  Pets are not allowed.




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32. BALLENA BEACH

 

Some 7 km to the south of Uvita and on the marine limits of the park, there is no other village nearby, but there are several small places to stay along the highway, all of them are close to the beach.

 

To The Southeast Of Uvita (Zona Quebrada Grande)

Located past Uvita, drivers can travel to the south via the coastal roads which are paved and well signposted or they can travel inland through the mountains along the Interamericana. Four buses travel regularly along this road and can leave tourists here.

33. OJOCHAL Y TORTUGA BEACH

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Some 14 km to the south of Uvita. It is a village where Canadian French, Dutch, Germans, Costa Ricans and North Americans live. A lot of the people that live here work in several types of restaurants from the most simple to the most sophisticated. The río Balso is located here and goes all the from Ojochal. There are activities that give you the opportunity to get to know nature with its magnificent green areas, its flora and fauna. Visit the waterfalls with a garden full of flowers and plants from Carlos López and eat traditional Costa Rican food in a small ranch. Go Kayaking through the mangroves, which will give you an opportunity to get a closer look at the birds such as boat-billed Heron, martín-pescador, heron, garcela grande, garcela azul and much more. Horseback tours with Lalo, Tour Jaime: Fishing in the sea, mangroves, and Garza Island. Tour on the Misissipi boat that travels through the Río Térraba and has a bar restaurant so that you can eat whilst you watch the sunset. Something very special is to scuba dive with Kumari. www.mysticdivecenter.com. Fax (209) 885-6017. Email: mysticdive@yahoo.com (scuba diving, snorkeling trips, boat tour, Padi Divers education). Explore the Caño Island & Ballena National park. The Mini-golf course can be used at night with the appropriate lighting. In the village you can find: the French Bakery: open Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Internet –Café: closed on Sunday. Public Telephones in the two grocery stores, one at the entrance of Ojochal and the other opposite the Education Center of the school, hotels, restaurants and cabins.

 

Route to the South of Costa Rica

The asphalt road continues for some 15 km until the Ciudad Cortés turnoff, 4 km from the Costanera highway, with restaurant services, banks and a gas station, travel a further 3km and you will reach the Interamericana in Palmar Norte.

 

 

 

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