Palmar Sur, South Puntarenas

Sierpe river, Palmar Sur
Sierpe river, Palmar Sur

Situated on the Sierpe River delta, Palmar Sur is a tiny little village with some very big connections. As a river port, it connects visitors to a variety of area destinations and activities.

As a town with an airport, it helps connect visitors from around the world with some of the best of everything that Costa Rica has to offer in the province of South Puntarenas.

Térraba-Sierpe National Wetlands

In Palmar Sur’s backyard lies a huge mangrove swamp, one of the biggest anywhere, with some of the biggest mangrove trees anywhere.

Take a boat tour of Térraba-Sierpe National Wetlands, home to the mangrove forest and a wealth of wildlife that includes birds like the heron and the colorful kingfisher. Additional animals and reptiles found in the swamp area include monkeys, caimans and alligators.

Mysterious Stone Spheres

Part of the history of Palmar Sur is seen in a collection of stone spheres found here that date to the pre-Columbian era.

These hand-carved stones are perfectly round; the larger ones weigh up to several tons, while the smaller pieces are the size of a bowling ball. Not much is known about these puzzling objects, which are made of black granite, a material not found in this area.

Corcovado National Park

Encompassing more than 41,000 hectares, neighboring Corcovado National Park is big enough to host 13 major ecosystems, from lowland rainforests to montane forests and everything in between.

You’ll also find mangrove swamp, lagoons, beaches jolillo palm groves, freshwater herbaceous swamps and more. With such diverse habitats, you expect to find a diverse wildlife population, and Corcovado delivers that as well.

The park harbors more than 140 mammal species here, including the rare harbor squirrel monkey and wild cats such as pumas and jaguars. The park’s 116 reptile and amphibian species include crocodiles, sea turtles and colorful but deadly poison-dart frogs. Birdwatchers around the world visit the park to view up to 400 bird species found here, including the harpy eagle, resplendent quetzal and the scarlet macaw.

With the sunny weather found here in the Puntarenas, this park is a major destination for sight-seers from around the world.

Caño Island

A boat taxi can take you to Drake’s Bay, where you can enjoy swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing in palm-lined lagoons and the quieter waters of the bay.

The bay is also a good place for quieter watersports such as paddle-boarding. Caño Island is also found in Drake’s Bay, a marine biological reserve that alone is worth the trip.

This piece of land houses the Caño Island Biological Reserve, where you can view an amazing assortment of marine life. With the bay’s clear blue waters, the island is a top destination for divers who want a glimpse of the area’s underwater world.

Along with stunning coral reefs, divers can view an amazing collection of colorful tropical fish, whales and more. Both humpback and pilot whales are found here, along with sea turtles, dolphins and tuna, snapper and grouper. Stingrays, manta rays are moray eels are additional denizens of the reserve.

Getting to Palmar Sur

Palmar Sur offers a variety of restaurants and hotels for hungry, tired tourists. If you want a taste of true Tico life here, join the locals as they gather in the afternoons at the plaza in the middle of town. A pretty little church sits in the plaza, part of the local culture.

The best way to get here is to catch a domestic flight from Juan Santamaria International Airport.

Otherwise, Palmar Sur is a six-hour drive from San Jose.

Costa Rica Eco-Adventure Tour
12 Days / 11 Nights or 10 Days / 9 Nights
Starting at $2,352 per person
Eco Experience: A Costa Rican Adventure
11 Days / 10 Nights
Starting at $3,874 per person

Where to Stay near Palmar Sur

Featured Hotel
Iguana Lodge & Spa Beach Resort
Starting at $93 / night
Featured Hotel
Hotel Inn Jiménez
Starting at $90 / night
Featured Hotel
Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge
Starting at $755 / 2 nights
Featured Hotel
Poor Man's Paradise
Starting at $127 / night
Featured Hotel
Aguila de Osa Inn
Starting at $468 / room - All Inclusive
Featured Hotel
Vista Drake Lodge
Starting at $55 / night
Featured Hotel
El Remanso Lodge
Starting at $270 / night per person - Meals Included
Featured Hotel
Cabinas Jimenez
Starting at $60 / night