Its translation to English meaning "Sand Point", Puntarenas is Costa Rica's largest province, an eponymous and oddly shaped stretch of land that attracts many tourists (mainly surfers) thanks to its blessed Pacific coast location. Further inland tourists can venture to the famous Monteverde, a top attraction for nature-lovers for its numerous bio-reserves. Eco-tourists frequent this area that has also been deemed as one of the Seven Wonders of Costa Rica by popular vote, and has been called by National Geographic "the jewel in the crown of cloud forest reserves"
Puntarenas sits on a long, narrow peninsula in the Gulf of Nicoya. For years, it was known as the country's principal port, and though a port in nearby Caldera now handles cargo and Puntarenas the cruise ships, a large fishing fleet still anchors in the stuary behind town. Being the coutry's most important fishing port, Puntarenas is the perfect place to enjoy fresh seafood, be it camarones al ajillo (shrimp scampi), pescado entero (a whole fried fish), or ceviche de corvina (bits of fresh fish marinate in lime juice with onions, peppers and spices). On the other hand, leisure travellers will find that Puntarenas' urban beach is a haven for surgers and becomes a lively spot on weekends, when people coming from the capital of San José and holidaymakers fill its waterfront restaurants and bars. A series of open-air cafes that line the beach are the perfect place to head for dessert, or refreshment, since they specialize in ice cream and fresh fruit drinks.
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