Relax by taking a yoga class, a beach kickboxing class, or receiving an onsite spa treatment.
A 10-minute drive will get you to Jacó, a coastal town known for its nightlife and scenic beaches.
Puntarenas, Costa Rica: Surfing Beaches and Tropical Rainforests near San José
In Puntarenas, you’re never far from a beach. Costa Rica’s biggest province occupies a long, thin section of the country alongside nearly 500 miles of Pacific coastline. Overlooking the Gulf of Nicoya, the town of Jacó attracts surfers from all over the globe thanks to its consistently big waves and good breaks. The best wave chasers make beelines for Playa Hermosa, a 6-mile stretch of black sand that’s considered one of the top surfing destinations in Central America.
Though beaches are a big draw, Puntarenas also has a wide variety of national parks and nature reserves—part of the reason Costa Rica has become such a popular destination for ecotourism. Just a few miles inland from Jacó, Carara National Park is the country’s northernmost tropical rainforest. The park provides shelter for poison-dart frogs, two-toed sloths, and hundreds of scarlet macaws (a rare sight in most parts of the country). Los Quetzales National Park lies to the southwest in the neighboring province of San José. The park features 14 ecosystems in the Cordillera de Talamanca mountain range and is named for one of its most colorful inhabitants: the quetzal, a lime-green and scarlet bird.
The Costa Rican capital of San José is located about 60 miles northeast of Jacó. By day, the big city bustles with open-air artisan markets and street vendors selling tamales and pupusas (corn tortillas stuffed with cheese and meat). By night, flashy discos can be found in all flavors, from ultrasophisticated to full-on rowdy. Wandering the streets of San José, you'll encounter a confluence of architecture styles—part Spanish, part Moorish—and some of the older neighborhoods still have homes made of wood and adobe.