North Puntarenas is known for is stunning beaches and diverse parks, but there is also a quieter, low-key culture in the area. While the big tourist attractions are great, and certainly provide jobs for the locals and income for the country, it would be a shame if you didn’t interact with the local culture as well.
The culture in North Puntarenas is worth getting a close look at, and you can do so by simply taking a walk! Check out markets and plazas in the villages and towns, and you’re sure to see the culture of the people of Costa Rica. From how Ticos interact with each other, to how they interact with visitors, you’ll get a glimpse of their friendly nature.
Besides the natural encounters with Ticos, North Puntarenas also offers its visitors a slice of culture with lots of available activities.
Before you try interacting with the locals, though, you might need to know at least the basics of Spanish! That is no problem, as there are language schools available all over North Puntarenas. Learning a bit of Spanish will actually make your trip easier and more enjoyable and fun, where you might meet some really interesting people. While you might be afraid of losing time in nature, you can attend many Spanish Language schools right at the beach or in the middle of the cloud forest. Try looking in Manuel Antonio
for beach locations or Monteverde
to be completely surrounded by cloud forest.
North Puntarenas celebrates its history with several main events throughout the year. Carnival of Puntarenas
takes place toward the end of February, and lasts for a week. With a range of exciting entertainment, including food, music and beer, the carnival draws many locals and tourists. Those that attend the festivities can plan for a night of dancing and fireworks. There are also parades, and tournaments for fishing and volleyball.
North Puntarenas also hosts Mardi Gras. This event takes place in Esterillos
, and is great for all visitors, including adults and kids. This event includes a carnival, and in true Costa Rica fashion there is a parade that brings out all sorts of interesting characters – including mermaids. There are also some amazing street food vendors, and of course, music and dancing. For the kids, there are some children’s games available.
Dia de la Virgen del Mar is a summer festival that celebrates religion and tradition. The area’s maritime history is used to pay tribute to its patron saint, by way of a boat parade. The fishing boats in the area celebrate with colorful decorations and a water parade, while back on the land there is music, dancing, and food.
Visitors can treat themselves to a live show at la Casa de la Cultura in the city of Puntarenas
. Prior to 1992 this building served as the Headquarters of the Civil Guard for Puntarenas, but has been refurbished to offer locals and visitors an exciting cultural center. The center offers live theater and music shows, especially often during the busiest tourist seasons. The center also serves as an art gallery, where local artists, and world-renowned artists, can display their artwork and photography.
The old Catholic church in the city of Puntarenas
is full of wonderful and cultural details. First, Catholicism is deeply rooted in the faith system of Costa Rica, so this church represents the people of the country. This large building doesn’t stop amazing with its stonework , though. It is filled with small details that reflect Puntarenas, including its maritime traditions. If you look closely at the windows of this church, you’ll see that they are not standard windows; instead they are portholes – just like on a ship.
If you’re looking to head to one of the local celebrations, or just enjoy the nightlife, you might consider taking some dancing lessons while you are in Costa Rica. There is nothing like learning how to add a little Latin flair to your moves from the source. Ticos have an infectious happiness and movement that you’ll remember long after you leave Costa Rica. Why not learn from them and take those moves home to impress your friends?
Choose a City in North Puntarenas Region
North Puntarenas is a big fishing area, and the food that is served in the area reflects this. You are definitely going to miss the dishes that you eat in Costa Rica, since the country is known for its fresh home grown & caught food. If you want to get one of the most authentic cultural experiences you can in Costa Rica, take some culinary lessons. North Puntarenas is a great place to take a cooking lesson. Ask your hotel staff, tour guides or your language school if they have or can recommend a cooking class.
Marine Historical Museum
The Marine Historical Museum is located in the city of Puntarenas
. While this is a small museum, it can still give visitors the same sense of Costa Rica culture as the bigger, more popular museums. With its small size comes a charming insight into the resources that have provided the area with its traditions, history, and culture. Focused on the city’s maritime history, this museum offers a look at artifacts – and even skeletons! – with information also available in English so tourists can learn too. The museum is closed on Mondays.