Getting Here and Around in Puntarenas

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Getting Here and Around

The drive from San José to Puntarenas takes just over one hour. From San José, take the new Highway 27 to the port of Caldera, then swing north toward Puntarenas. From here it's another 15 minutes to the ferry dock. Buses run every 40 minutes between San José (Avda. 12, C. 16) and Puntarenas. If you travel to Puntarenas by public bus, take a taxi to the ferry dock.

Ferries shuttle passengers between Puntarenas and Paquera on the Nicoya Peninsula, where they are met by buses bound for Cóbano, Montezuma, and Malpaís/Santa Teresa.

Coonatramar. The ferries of Coonatramar ply the route four times daily between Puntarenas and Playa Naranjo, farther north than the Tambor port on the peninsula side of the Gulf of Nicoya. Boats depart Puntarenas at 6:30 and 10 am and 2:20 and 7:30 pm; departures are at 8 am and 12:30, 5:30, and 9 pm from Playa Naranjo. Passengers pay $2 for the crossing. Standard vehicles are charged $18. Bicycles cost about $3. There are no reservations; if you are driving, get there early, especially on weekends. If you are heading south on the Peninsula, be aware that the road from Naranjo is in very bad shape. 2661–1069. www.coontramar.com.

Naviera Tambor. The passenger and car ferries run by Naviera Tambor depart both Puntarenas and Paquera at 9 and 11 am, and 2 and 5 pm. Additional departures take place from Puntarenas at 5 am and 8:30 pm, and from Paquera at 6 am and 8 pm. The trip takes about 60 minutes. Passengers pay about $1 for the crossing; vehicles are charged $22–$32 depending on size. This is the more popular route and the ferries are jammed with people in December and January. Music blasts through loudspeakers and the atmosphere is “muy fiesta.” Off-season, the atmosphere is much calmer and you may be able to get a seat on deck. 2661–2084. www.navieratambor.com.

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