Punta Banco, South Puntarenas

Beautiful beach at Punta Banco
Beautiful beach at Punta Banco
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If you're searching a for vacation with a mix of beach activities, wildlife, and local cultures, look no further than Punta Banco. Located a few miles from Pavones in the Costa Rica South Puntarenas area, this minuscule village with only 200 residents is easy to overlook. However, if you want to enjoy some of the best Costa Rica surfing available and experience a truly immersive look into the local culture, there's no place better than Punta Banco.

Epic Adventures Abound

While it may seem that water-related activities are the only possibilities in a beach town, there is a wide variety of adventures to be found in Punta Banco. Experienced horseback riders can enjoy a challenging trek along mountain trails that wind in and out of forests and hills, offering spectacular, unrivaled views. Riders can also take a path that runs along the Burica Coast as long as they plan their trip in conjunction with the tide.

If you'd rather hike on foot than on the back of a horse, there are numerous trail systems. Many people enjoy a walk to one of the local natural wonders, a 40-foot waterfall that is only enhanced by the rainbow that frequency makes an appearance in the middle of the day. During your hike, be on the lookout for the monkeys that make their homes in the surrounding rainforest.

Ride the Waves

Want to experience the thrill of Costa Rica surfing? Join the thousands of surfers who have made the trek to this area's black sand beaches for decades. You'll find excellent surfing in the arcing waves and enjoy a relaxing atmosphere of beaches free from overcrowding and large resorts. If you want a few friends to share your day on the waves, chances are you'll find some fellow visitors and friendly locals who are enjoying the surf as well.

Wildlife Encounter

The lush rainforests and unspoiled natural areas surrounding Punta Banco are home are a wide variety of animals. You may be able to catch a glimpse of one of the four species of monkeys that make their homes in the forest. White faced capuchins live in the forests of South Puntarenas. You could also see spider monkeys and squirrel monkeys along with mantled howler monkeys.

If you're not excited about monkeys, you might enjoy learning more about the local sea turtles. Olive ridley sea turtles return to Punta Banco each year to nest, and in fact, this is the only nesting site in the world for these beautiful creatures. The Punta Banco Project is a conservation organization dedicated to caring for these critically endangered turtles, and volunteers monitor the turtles each night throughout the nesting season. If you visit between July 15 and December 15, you can volunteer as well and take some time to help watch over the turtles. This completely unique experience is one of the highlights of the area for many visitors.

Getting There

If you're planning to trip the South Puntarenas area of Costa Rica, adding a visit to Punto Banco is fairly simple. The short dirt road from Pavones makes for an easy half-hour drive. If you prefer to take in as much of the surrounding environment as possible, you can also hike from Pavones. It should take about an hour to get to Punta Banco on the scenic trail.

If you're looking for a diverse variety of Costa Rica activities, you can't go wrong with a trip to Punta Banco. The black sand beaches, challenging surf, abundance of wildlife, and numerous trails provide opportunities for adventurers of all ages and skill levels. When you're ready to wind down from the day, enjoy a relaxing meal a local hangout and appreciate the friendly, laid-back lifestyle of this tiny village with a big heart.