Perhaps the most popular tourist destination in Costa Rica, the Central Pacific region of the country is also the most easily accessible. Just a short distance from the capital San Jose either by domestic plane or car, this area is known for its beautiful beaches, touristy coastal resort towns and fantastic surfing opportunities. Offering visitors a plethora of activities to enjoy, including sportfishing and sunbathing, undoubtedly, the biggest crowd puller of this area is the wonderful Manuel Antonio National Park.
Punta Leona Beach
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With its lush dense forestation and stunning shoreline ideal for swimming or bird watching, the Manuel Antonio National Park attracts the highest number of tourists in the country. Manuel Antonio is surrounded by a huge number of hotels and restaurants and offering fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean, this national park is home to many endemic species of plant and animal life. Nearby sits the town of Manuel Antonio, a good place to use as a base while exploring the park. However, do be careful, as during peak tourist season this town can get quite expensive and crowded.
When visiting the Manuel Antonio National Park, one of the best and more economical places to stay at is in Quepos, around 7 kilometers away. This rapidly booming tourist town is the sportfishing capital of Costa Rica, with its own small airport and boasting a number of cozy hotels, chic restaurants and an active nightlife.
North of Quepos is the popular resort town of Jaco, which for a long time has been a pillar of tourism in Costa Rica. Due to its close proximity to San Jose City, this beach town is the ideal spring board for those touring the west coast and its wonderful beaches. Nearby Jaco is the excellent surf town of Playa Hermosa, which even hosts an international surfing competition every year.
A good place to visit while exploring Costa Rica’s Central Pacific region, is the provincial capital of Puntarenas City. A bustling seaport, this city offers some of the best seafood and Costa Rican cuisine on the Pacific Coast. If you prefer a more quiet and relaxing time, then head down south to the town of Dominical, with some good surfing and nice beach resorts. South of Dominical are a number of isolated beaches perfect for those who require some much needed respite from city life, like Playa Uvita.