Some ships (Princess, Celebrity) stop in Puntarenas proper, while others (Holland America, Windstar) call in Puerto Caldera, a commercial port that's about a 20-minute cab ride away from the town of Puntaneras.
Docking in Puerto Caldera, entertaining musicians and dancers greet you with their exquisite showmanship.
Puerto Caldera offers very few facilities for cruise passengers.
visit Puntaneras for more info.
The Carara Biological Reserve, located off the Orotina Highway and across the bridge from Río Tarcoles, is a fantastic site to see all of the animal and plant life of Puerto Caldera. The Carara Biological Reserve is set in two different types of forest, the dry forest located in the north and the rain forest in the south. Visitors can enjoy a bounty of both fauna and flora, which grace the hills and plains of the region.
The Poas Volcano is a site that you absolutely can not miss. It is currently active and very dangerous and cannot be visited until further notice. Meanwhile, tourists wanting to see a volcano can also go to the Irazu Volcano (as the Poas, you can drive all the way to its top) or to the Arenal Volcano. Another option would be the Manuel Antonio National Park, which is about 2 hours from Caldera.
Taxi services are available at Puerto Caldera to take you to the surrounding areas that you wish to see, including the Carara Biological Preserve and the towns of Sarchi and San José.
Bus schedule information in Costa Rica. Buses leave hourly to the market of Puntarenas.
If you want to see a lot of Costa Rica, a cruise ship excursion might be the way to go.
If you plan to travel outside the towns: protection against mosquito bites is very important, wearing lightweight long pants, long sleeved shirts and using insect repellents with high concentrations of DEET is recommended by the CDC
Costa Rica is Spanish for rich coast. As such, one can expect to find this place to be the ideal tropical paradise. A native song is that the Virgin Mary came down to Costa Rica and never went back to Heaven.
Costa Rica is often called the Switzerland of Central America.
There is such biodiversity in Costa Rica not only because it's a land bridge between North and South America, but also because the terrain is so varied and there are weather patterns moving in from both the Pacific and Atlantic/Caribbean. There are impressive volcanoes, mountain areas, rivers, lakes, and beaches all throughout the country. There are many beautiful beaches - most of the popular ones are on the Pacific side but the Caribbean has many excellent beaches as well.
Finding a place to eat out isn't difficult in Costa Rica and generally speaking wherever you head for, the standards of hygiene in the kitchens are high and you run little risk of getting food poisoning. Expensive restaurants may not necessarily offer the best food and visitors are encouraged to try the smaller establishments, known as sodas, which the locals tend to frequent and the food is as authentic as it gets, while frequently of a standard equal to or higher than expensive venues.
The local currency is Colón(es). The rate of exchange is about 575 Colones for 1 US Dollar. You can find ATMs in most places. They normally dispense US Dollars and Colones.
Spanish is the main language in Costa Rica. English is used widely in areas populated by international tourists.
The emergency number in Costa Rica is 911
Cafes which offer free WiFi for customers are fairly easy to find in tourist areas.
Mon-Sat 0900-1800/1900. There may be variations between areas.
Costa Rica is a Catholic country and it's holidays are mostly church-related. Most businesses, including banks, close on official holidays. The country closes down entirely during the biggest holiday time, Easter Holy Week, but only during Holy Thursday, Friday and Saturday, by Holy Sunday, some services might be available, but don't count on it in remote parts of the country.
Most Ticos now take the whole Christmas holiday week through New Year as an unofficial holiday.
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