Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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.