Playa Naranjo, North Puntarenas

The secluded beach of Playa Naranjo
The secluded beach of Playa Naranjo
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Travelers will quickly learn that Playa Naranjo is much more than a ferry connection that helps you get from place to place.

Northern Puntarenas Car Ferry

While the tiny village of Playa Naranjo is the northern terminal for the Puntarenas car ferry, there are a few hotels in the community that offer a range of activities including horseback riding and water-based tours.

These lodging facilities can also include hammocks, swimming pools and a restaurant, helping to make Playa Naranjo more than simply a stop-over city. A number of transportation options are also available to travelers, including the ferry, taxis and buses. Transportation in the city in general is centered around the departure and arrival of the Puntarenas ferry, so missing the boat should not be a big concern for visitors to Playa Naranjo.

Secluded Beach

The beach in Playa Naranjo is a very small, secluded site that offers a true glimpse into the striking natural beauty of the Puntarenas province. From the beach, travelers can partake in hiking, horseback riding and even mountain biking to a number of nearby destinations.

The native population of Playa Naranjo consists mainly of European ex pats, with some Canadians and Americans also residing in the area.

Things to Do

While there are plenty of things to do in the city itself, the location of Playa Naranjo is probably its biggest asset, as some of the most popular sites in the area are simply a stone's throw away.

San Lucas Island, for instance, is just off the coast of Playa Naranjo. This island, which is the 11th district of the Puntarenas canton, is best known for its former prison, which offers a unique look at Costa Rican history. Often referred to by prisoners as "La Isla de Hombres Solos" (The Island of Lonely Men), San Lucas Island was where some of the worst criminals in Costa Rica were taken between 1873 and 1991.

Despite the fact that this island may not be as much of a tourist attraction as Alcatraz in California, it still provides travelers with general insight into the dark days of prison life faced by many of the country's criminals.

San Lucas isn't only about the prison, however, as the island was named part of the national wildlife preserve in 2008. Some of the creatures one can expect to find during a trip to the island include howler monkeys and deer, as well as marine animals such as hammerhead sharks, turtles and rays.

The small city of Playa Naranjo is an excellent location to spend some time and also serves as a gateway to some of Costa Rica's most popular attractions.