The Central Pacific region is located just two hours away from the capital of Costa Rica, San José. This makes its beaches a prime destination for people wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Although the peak season is from December to April, it is a wonderful place to visit year around. There are resorts, bed and breakfasts, lodges, and hotels of every shape and size that all provide top-notch hospitality.

Puntarenas is the largest town on this section of the coast. For years, it functioned as one of the country’s main ports, and today, it remains an important fishing town and a popular tourist destination.

Although the beaches are always the main attraction for their excellent surfing and swimming, activities outside the beach are abundant. Travelers have the ability to go kayaking and rafting or to go hiking in any of the flora and fauna packed national parks and tropical forests. Also, traveling a little further from the beaches, visitors can tour mangroves and estuaries, horseback ride to see waterfalls, and safely watch alligators from a bridge over the Tarcoles River. Remember, there are several tour companies that can set up the perfect package of adventures, parks, and beaches to fit your needs.

Since the Central Pacific region is an important fishing location, the extensive assortment of seafood found on the menus in the local restaurants is as fresh as it gets. The locals make their living catching tuna, Wahoo, shrimp, and lobster, to name a few. Seafood lovers are in luck as it is available in almost every restaurant in the region.


More popular beaches

  • Jaco
  • Hermosa
  • Montezuma
  • Punta Leona
  • Blanca
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Tambor
  • Isla Damas
  • Espadilla

Less known beaches

  • Doña Ana
  • Tárcoles
  • Herradura
  • Esterillos
  • Bejuco
  • Palma
  • Palo Seco
  • Savegre

National Parks

  • Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve
  • Carara Biological Reserve
  • Manuel Antonio National Park


  • Guaria Morada
  • Bully tree
  • Cedar
  • Black locust
  • Cow tree Silk cotton tree
  • Guanacaste tree
  • Oil Palms
  • Cecropia tree


Many different bird specias have been observed in the Central Pacific region as well as vast numbers of insects, mammals, and reptiles. Since it would be impossible to list them all, the following should suffice as an overview of some of the interesting ones:

  • Birds: brown pelican, laughing falcon, black-collared hawk, green kingfisher, toucan, quetzal, scarlet macaw, trogan, black-hooded antshrike, dot-winged antwren, long-billed gnatwren, chestnut-backed antbird, and lesser greenlet.

  • Mammals: raccoon, white-nosed coati, agouti, two-toed sloth, white faced capuchin monkey, squirrel monkey, howler monkey, jaguarundi, margay, ocelot, collared peccaries, banded anteater.

  • Insects: leaf-cutter ants.

  • Repitles: crocodile, iguana, whiptail lizard, ctenosaur Lizards, poison-dart frog.

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