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  • Photos of Central Pacific
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Central Pacific
Find the best services to enjoy your vacations in Costa Rica
  • General information
  • About Central Pacific
  • History
This zone goes from the port of Puntarenas to the south end of the Manuel Antonio National Park, and includes the main islands of the Gulf of Nicoya, like Isla Chira and the point of the Peninsula of Nicoya.

It has an irregular coast with large beaches full of vegetation. The proximity of some of its beaches to the capital, San Jose, has guaranteed an important tourist and commercial development to these places. In the entire coastline theres a natural jewel that stands out from the rest.

It is the Manuel Antonio National Park, which is definitely one of the most visited wildlife reserves on Earth. Its not surprising to mention that Manuel Antonio is home to a large amount of natural wonders, with a great biodiversity of flora and fauna. Its white sand beaches hide between steep cliffs and are full of dense vegetation, which make this sanctuary the main 
attraction of Quepos and the Central Pacific.

The city of Puntarenas is the header of the province of the same name, the largest one in Costa Rica. This city is a small land strip that goes along the coastline and enters the gulf 3 km. This road, known as the passage of La Angostura, has the same width as a two-way street, a railway line and the beach.

It was after the opening of the electric train to Puntarenas, on April 8th, 1930, that thousands of Costa Ricans were able to visit this city. Many remember with affection and nostalgia their first trip to el puerto (the port), its popular name.

Among its attractions theres the famous Paseo de los Turistas (Tourists Passage) in front of the Large Pier, the most visited spot of the city, whose origins date back from 1930. You should definitely visit this place and have a fruit salad, an ice cream or a churchill.

The large beach of Puntarenas, which goes parallel to the Paseo de los Turistas, has soft waves, gray sand and little vegetation. It was awarded with the Ecologic Blue Flag, which certifies high environmental and safety standards.

Along the coastline you can find the most visited beaches of the country and with the largest tourist development. Some can be accessed by car because of their proximity with the capital, while others, like the ones located in the end of the peninsula, are harder to reach. You must take a ferry from the Estuary of Puntarenas that crosses the gulf, arriving to Paquera (east side of the peninsula).

A large list of beaches begins here; from Punta Murcielago and towards the town of Cobano you will find the beaches of Pochote, Cocalito and Cocal. Theres also Playa Montezuma, which limits with the Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve and ends in Punta Cabuya. This charming beach has impressive waterfalls that fall into the sea from huge cliffs covered by vegetation.

Playa Tambor is located in Bahia Ballena and is a beautiful beach of light-colored sands, surrounded by Punta Tambor in one end and Punta Amarilla in the other end.

From Cabo Blanco towards the northwest all the way to Playa Coyote, the beaches of Santa Teresa and Malpais are easy to access, and are renowned for being perfect spots for surfing. Caletas and Playa Manzanillo, whose hard access has kept intact its magnificent nature, are located here.

Towards the southeast of the port of Puntarenas you will find the most popular beaches of the country, like Playa Jaco, which is internationally known for its tourist development and surf tournaments. Playa Hermosa and Esterillos have a wonderful natural beauty and are also visited by surfers due to their strong waves.

The beaches of Tarcoles, Herradura and Manuel Antonio are also close to the capital and receive many visitors, which allow an important tourist development. In Playa Herradura, Jaco and Hermosa, theres also a very wide offer of hotels, as well as an aerial tram that goes through the forest, from where you can appreciate a large waterfall.

The beach of Manuel Antonio has white sands and the shape of a crescent moon, and is next to the renowned Manuel Antonio National Park. In its 1.625 land hectares and more than 55.000 marine hectares, it protects primary forests with trees like the black guapinol, which is endangered, and secondary forests that once were pasturelands for cattle.

The Central Pacific also has very important protected zones like the Carara National Park, located in an area of climatic transition, which is why it has more than 1.400 species of plants. Here you can observe a meandering lagoon covered by water hyacinths, where turtles, crocodiles and about 400 species of birds live.

In the south end of the Gulf of Nicoya you will find the Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve, the first protected zone in Costa Rica. It preserves sea birds that visit it and also the primary forest of the region. Some archaeological remains of Chorotegan tribes were discovered near the trail El Sueco.

The famous Isla del Coco (Cocos Island) is also part of the Central Pacific and is located about 540 km from Puntarenas. It was declared World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1997.

Among its attractions theres an exuberant vegetation, an abrupt topography and also high rainfall and many waterfalls that fall directly into the ocean. This island is known worldwide for the richness of its marine fauna, being a meeting point for thousands of hammerhead sharks, as well as passageway for other species.

There are other islands closer to the Gulf of Nicoya, where the most visited one is Isla Tortuga, with white sands and plenty of vegetation but no places to stay. It is located in front of the Curu Wildlife National Refuge.

The Isla San Lucas was famous for its prison, which was closed in 1991. Currently its known for being a wildlife refuge that can be visited by boat. It has a historical past because it once served as cemetery for the Chorotega native group, which lived in the Peninsula of Nicoya.

The Isla Chira has an extension of more than 3.000 hectares and is the largest island of Costa Rica. Unlike other islands, it is inhabited by more than 2.000 people that live from subsistence fishing. It has a mangrove zone with dense vegetation and species of marine birds. It also has places to stay.

From its large and beautiful beaches all the way to its exuberant forests, the region of the Central Pacific is a box full of surprises ready to be discovered. You can enjoy its entire extension throughout this coast of Costa Rica.

The region of the Central Pacific includes part of the province of Puntarenas, from the south end of the Peninsula of Nicoya to the middle southeast, in the Manuel Antonio National Park. This zone has a large coastline and also a mountain section.

The Central Pacific has well-defined rainy seasons, where the driest months are January, February and March. December and April are transition periods between seasons. September and October are the months where it rains the most, and the veranillo de San Juan (small summer of Saint John) doesnt affect this region, unlike other regions of the country that experience a decrease in rainfall during July and August. The average rainfall is of 625 mm in the coast, but it can reach 750 mm in the mountains of Cobano and in the section of Carara.

The average annual temperature ranges from 26C in the coast to 20C in the highest zones. The warmest months are March, April and May. The lowest temperatures in the coast can get to 22C from January to March, and in the mountain section can drop 8C more.

The Central Pacific is characterized by a combination of small plains formed by large rivers like the Barranca, Tarcoles, and Damas. Next to these plains there are mid-rise elevations that make the territory very irregular as you leave the coast. Part of the coastline is interrupted by cliffs, like the ones of Caldera, Jaco, Manuel Antonio and the reserve of Cabo Blanco. Due to constant rainfall most part of the year, this region is constantly green except for the south part of the Peninsula of Nicoya during the driest months.

The coastline is composed by many sand beaches limited by cliffs, waterfalls and small islets, which give a constant irregularity to the landscape. The coast of the Central Pacific is very uneven, especially if compared with the Caribbean coast. Cliffs full of vegetation are easily found in the coasts. Some of these cliffs end near the shores like in Caldera and Playa Cocalito, and others go all the way into the sea, like in Manuel Antonio. This is one of the most irregular topographies among the different coasts of the country, so it offers an incredibly varied panorama.

In the Gulf of Nicoya you can find larger islands, most of them of tectonic origin. The largest one is Isla Chira followed by Isla San Lucas. The other islands of the gulf are: Isla Venado, Bejuco, Caballos, Negritos, Cedros, Tortuga, Alcatraz, and the least known, Isla Berrugate. The Isla del Coco (Cocos Island) is the only one that doesnt rise from the continental plate, but from the mid-ocean ridge from where the Galapagos Islands also rise. About 520 km separate it from the continental coastline; its extension is of only 47 km and the Cerro Iglesias is its highest point, with 600 m. It is composed by old and uniform volcanic materials (basalts), and has a very irregular topography with impressive coastal cliffs. It also has amazing waterfalls and a dense vegetation.

Jaco - Herradura
Playa Jaco is one of the most important and popular tourist (...)
Mal Pais-Montezuma-Tambor- Teresa
This region of Costa Rica has beautiful beaches with strong waves (...)
Manuel Antonio - Quepos
The town of Manuel Antonio has the privilege of being the gateway to (...)
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Santa Teresa is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches in the country
Octuber 30, 2012

Besides surfing in this wonderful beach, there are other activities you can enjoy, like horseback riding, hiking and canopy tours
Carara, home to 48% of the bird species found in Costa Rica
Octuber 24, 2012

Share with nature at the Carara National Park during your vacations in Costa Rica, one of the most beautiful parks in the country
Cabo Blanco National Park, first protected area in Costa Rica
Octuber 19, 2012

Visit a historical site very important to Costa Rica during your vacations in the country, where youll get to know its flora and fauna, and have fun like never before
Tambor Beach, the ideal destination for your family vacations
Octuber 18, 2012

Hikes, horseback rides, golf, boat tour to Turtle Island, ATV adventure and canopy tour are some of the activities you can enjoy with your family in Tambor Beach
Hermosa Beach, the paradise for professional surfers
Octuber 17, 2012

The best time to surf in Hermosa is between April and November, during high tide.
Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the most beautiful in the world
September 17, 2012

This destination has become one of the most visited thanks to its easy access, diversity of ecosystems, services and entertainment
The most incredible scenic beauty of the country is at the Manuel Antonio National Park
August 03, 2012

Spend the best vacations surrounded by white sand beaches, amazing landscapes and an exuberant flora and fauna that will make you have a truly unique experience
An agreement for implementing the Forest Conservation Program was signed
July 24, 2012

Besides improving the conditions of the different Conservation Areas and National Parks, they will invest resources in high-technology equipment to prevent forest fires
The project Costa Rica Verde y Limpia has already started
June 21, 2012

The cleaning has taken place in several locations, such as Tortuguero, Playa Azul, Garabito and Guacalillo, which can be visited as from September
Costa Rica, the perfect destination for birdwatching
June 06, 2012

Costa Rica has 880 resident and migrating bird species, 56 of them are cataloged as endemic