Ciudad Cortes, South Puntarenas

Costa Rica River
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Ciudad Cortes, or Cortez City, is just 10 kilometers from the stunning Pacific coast in the Rio Grande de Terraba Valley. Formerly known as Puerto Cortes, Ciudad Cortes is lush with green vegetation that surrounds the Rio Grande de Terraba, and is near some of Costa Rica's most pristine beaches. The city is easily accessible from the Costanera Highway, making it simple to travel to other top destinations in this region.

This village was called El Pozo many years ago, and served as a communication link between Puntarenas and Osa because of the Rio Grande de Terraba. After years of overflow from the river, the city and all of its inhabitants were moved to higher ground, which is where the city center lies today.

Cortez City is within minutes of Palmar Norte, the closest large city, which is home to one of the most mysterious attractions in the country. Pre-Columbian stone spheres were discovered here after a crew was trying to clear land for banana plantations. In hopes of finding gold, workers damaged and completely destroyed some of the spheres. Fortunately, many of these spheres remain intact. Although they were not filled with rich treasures, they have become a major draw for travelers. Maxing out around 16 tons, these spheres are thought to have been first created around 600 A.D., but no one is quite sure of the date. Myths have circled around the stone spheres regarding who formed them and what their purpose is.

In search of a beachside destination to relax? Nearby Playa Tortuga, or Turtle Beach, remains fairly untouched by the impact of tourism. But don't expect locals to turn their nose up at travelers - Ticos are notoriously very friendly and welcome guests with open arms. A visit to this region will open up countless doors for outdoor recreation and activities, including sport fishing, surfing, kayaking, scuba diving, swimming and much more.

With easy access to the highway, visitors of Ciudad Cortes can visit the Pacific coast's most iconic national parks, such as the Marino Ballena National Park or Corovado National Park. Marino Ballena National Park is a dedicated marine park that is most famous for its seasonal visitors: Humpback whales. These majestic creatures travel to the warm tropical waters twice a year, yet catching a glimpse of one is still considered a great treat!

A visit to Ciudad Cortes puts travelers in a position to experience unique history, while still being within reach of sunny beaches and abundant green spaces.
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