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About Puntarenas

Puntarenas in Costa Rica shares its name with the province which surrounds it, which is the largest province in Costa Rica, and boasts the most varied landscape.  Here you can explore the leafy byways of dense mangrove swamps and, on higher ground, discover sub-alpine flowers.

Puntarenas is the largest city in the Central Pacific and home to fine Spanish colonial architecture. Its popular beach is lined with alfresco restaurants and cafés serving fish freshly caught by local fishermen - try local specialities like shrimp scampi (camarones al ajillo) or ceviche de corvina  - a lime juice-marinated fish cocktail.

Further afield, there is luscious countryside to explore in Manuel Antonio Park, where verdant rainforests border some of Costa Rica's finest beaches and the snorkelling is superb. Follow forest trails to enjoy spectacular views and hopefully spot some of the inhabitants, which include sloths, iguanas and pretty little squirrel monkeys.

 

Shore excursions in Puntarenas

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Costa Rican Rail and River Ride

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 5¼ hours

Take a scenic train journey though the lush countryside and relax on a gentle boat ride along the Tarcoles River and surrounding mangroves.

Take a journey deep into Costa Rican culture and countryside on board the newly-restored cars of the Pacific Railroad train. Learn how this train was used to transport the country's valuable coffee harvests from the highlands to the coastal ports. Pass though small towns and the beautiful rural countryside as you enjoy your delightful rail journey.

After arriving to Ceiba, which is famous for its tropical mangoes and oranges, you will board a coach and head to the Tarcoles River. Tarcoles is surrounded by many different varieties of mangrove and is teeming with wildlife. You will see cormorants, pelicans and frigates as you glide over the calm waters in your riverboat. Keep your eyes peeled for sightings of the shy crocodiles, huge iguanas and lizards as well as herons, egrets and storks in search of a bite to eat on the riverbanks.

At the Mangrove Station, you will be treated to some delicious local refreshments.

Essential information

This excursion operates by coach and by train. There is very little walking involved although there are 4 large steps to board the train. The train does not have air-conditioning. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed.

Espiritu Santo Coffee Discovery

Activity mediumRefreshments includedShopping

Duration: 5½ hours

An opportunity to learn the traditional secrets of Costa Rica’s gourmet coffee.

A scenic drive will take you through the Puntarenas' rustic countryside. Enjoy mountain views as you approach the Highlands of Naranjo, an area famous for the production of high quality coffee.

Espiritu Santo Coffee Plantation covers 640 acres and is representative of the history and traditions of Costa Rican coffee. Here, you will discover the secrets of how aromatic coffee is carefully brewed. A guided tour will show you the plantation workers, undertaking their daily tasks in each stage of the production process. You will see an old Costa Rican House and learn how life once was, and the tradition of brewing coffee in past times. During your visit you will be offered a delicious cup of Costa Rican coffee.

Afterwards, your tour will continue to the scenic town of Sarchi, for a brief photograph stop at the main square. Over a century ago, primitive local artists began painting and decorating their oxcarts in intricate and colourful designs. Here you can view the largest oxcart ever to be built.

Your return drive will offer more scenic views of the Costa Rican countryside, before arriving at the pier.

Essential information

This excursion operates by coach and on foot. The journey time to Espiritu Santo is approximately 1½ hours. This tour involves around a 1½ hours of walking over some uneven and gravel paths. Comfortable, flat shoes are recommended. Passengers are advised to take a bottle of water and sun protection. US Dollars and credit cards are accepted for purchases.

Forest Sky Walk

Activity highRefreshments includedShopping

Duration: 4½ hours

An amazing walking experience on hanging bridges through the tropical forest.

The Sky Walk takes you into a world of green tropical forests, while surrounded by sights and sounds of the several species of birds, monkeys, butterflies and mammals that inhabit the area. The forest surrounding the Tárcoles River is a protected biological reserve, making for interesting observation. After a short walk you’ll arrive at the first of 3 suspended cable bridges. Each bridge stretches between 270 and 330 feet and up to 126 feet above the ground. During your 1¼ hour walk downhill, you’ll enjoy the sights of the forest below and around you as you walk towards the ground trails. A buffet of tropical fruits and juices will be served during your tour. You’ll also have time for shopping at the indoor market before the return journey to the ship.

Essential information

This excursion operates by coach and on foot.Passengers are advised that there is 1½ hours’ walking involved over varying terrain, although many stops will be made. There are several uneven steps to reach the sky walk. Comfortable, non-slip shoes are recommended along with light clothing and insect repellent. Wildlife sighting is likely, but cannot be guaranteed

Forest Skywalk & Pura Vida Gardens

Activity highMeal includedShopping

Duration: 7 hours

Step into and over the lush tropical forests of Costa Rica and delight in the natural charms of this verdant country.

The Sky Walk introduces you to the forest surrounding the Carara National Park. Enjoy the wonderful scenery as you walk on suspended cable bridges over the canopy of the forest. Each bridge stretches between 270 and 330 feet and up to 126 feet high. During your 1¼ hour walk between bridges and air trails you can take in the sights of the forest.

After the walk, you’ll be offered a refreshing drink before continuing on to the Gardens.

Manicured walkways meander beside a river and along the crest of a mountain, allowing you to see the spectacular Pura Vida Gardens. Stunning panoramic views of the coastline and surroundings along with Bijagual, one of the tallest waterfalls in Costa Rica, are sure to delight. Pura Vida is also refuge for Costa Rican birds that are taken care of until they can be released back into the wild.

During your tour a delicious lunch will be served in a local restaurant.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot.Passengers are advised that there is 2½ hours’ walking involved over varying terrain. Although many stops will be made, there is a substantial amount of walking involved. It may on occasions, be necessary for lunch to be served early.

Panoramic Puntarenas

Activity lowRefreshments includedShopping

Duration: 3¼ hours

Capture the spirit of Costa Rica on this charming panoramic tour.

Embark on a panoramic sightseeing drive, heading east along the highway.

A stop will be made in the small town of Esparza, one of the most picturesque towns in the country’s Pacific region. The park and church are emblematic of Costa Rica’s hardworking rural towns. Local dancers will greet you at the park with colourful dresses; enjoy the folkloric show while you learn about local traditions.

Your journey will continue south along the coastal highway. Relax and enjoy the stretches of Pacific coastline, the mango and cashew plantations and surrounding farmland. In Costa Rica it’s easy to see how man and nature live in harmony together. A stop will be made at Orotina, where you’ll be offered a refreshment of local tropical fruits and coffee at a souvenir shop.

Continuing back down to sea level, admire the views over rolling green pasture. The colourful homes with tropical plants marking borders and boundaries subtly decorate the countryside.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and involves limited walking, however passengers must be able to negotiate steps onto and off of the coach. Those wishing to remain on the coach are welcome to do so. Order of highlights may vary.

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