Central Pacific

Central Pacific

The Central Pacific region of Costa Rica extends from the north of Hermosa de Jaco to the southern town of Uvita. The Central Pacific is known for its extensive biodiversity, mountainous landscapes, and beautiful beaches. Easily accessible from the capital of San Jose, the Central Pacific is a popular tourist destination for both foreigners and Costa Ricans. The area’s main draw is the spectacular Manuel Antonio National Park. Outside of the park, the Central Pacific offers many opportunities for travellers to experience Costa Rica’s famous surf culture and relax among the area’s small towns. Head to the Central Pacific for some of Costa Rica’s best sights and stunning natural landscapes. 

Playa Jaco 

Located two hours from San Jose, Jaco is a beach town known for its party and business atmosphere. The town’s beach, Playa Jaco, is the main draw for tourists and the closest beach from Costa Rica’s capital. Despite a large amount of Tico visitors on weekends and holidays, Playa Jaco remains a remarkably well kept beach that is perfect for a morning walk or cycling. Jaco’s main streets are dotted with palm trees, surfside hotels, boutique shops, and an enormous selection of restaurants and bars. For those interested in nature, Jaco also offers a variety of ecotourism activities. Travellers can visit a local wildlife centre, take an aerial tram ride through the rainforest, go ziplining, or hop on a crocodile boat tour. Many foreign residents choose to make Jaco their home, thanks to its convenient location and large number of activities. 

Central Pacific
Central Pacific
Central Pacific

Manuel Antonio National Park

Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, located in the Northern region of Puntarenas, is Costa Rica’s most popular national park thanks to its immense biodiversity. Biologists estimate that the park has 109 different species of mammals and 350 species of birds. Established in 1972, Manuel Antonio was created to protect wildlife from residential and commercial developments, as well as to ensure local Costa Ricans would have continued access to the rainforest. Playa Manuel Antonio, the park’s beach, is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Costa Rica thanks to its white sand and turquoise water. 

Visitors to the region usually stay in the nearby towns of Manuel Antonio and Quepos. Manuel Antonio is a very quiet ocean-side town offering plenty of lodging options- from luxury hotels to rustic eco-lodges. Visitors to Quepos can expect a bustling harbor town famous for big game sport fishing. 

Bejuco 

This small fishing and agricultural community has become an open secret among many Costa Rican visitors and residents. Known for its quiet atmosphere and secluded location, Bejuco is a hidden gem among the Central Pacific coastline. Enjoy traditional Costa Rican cuisine, walk on the golden-sand beach, and hangout with the local surf crowd. Due to the town’s winding gravel and dirt roads, horseback riding has become a popular pastime among visitors.

Central Pacific

Puntarenas

Puntarenas, meaning “Sandy Point” in Spanish, is the quiet capital city of Costa Rica’s Puntarenas province. Although most travellers visit Puntarenas as a day trip, the city has a variety of interesting experiences to offer. At Parque Marnio del Pacífico, tourists can visit a marine park filled with three hectares of aquariums. Cultural attractions include a popular art gallery called Casa de la Cultura and a historical church called Catedral de Puntarenas. Take a stroll down Paseo de las Turistas, Puntarenas’ main street, which features a large variety of vendors, stores, restaurants and bars. One of the most popular tourist attractions is the city’s Carnival celebration in February, which attracts local Costa Ricans and foreign visitors from around the province. Whether visiting in February or another time of the year, make sure to try the local delicacies of fresh fish ceviche and a shaved ice dessert called the “Churchill”. 

Central Pacific
Central Pacific

Playa Hermosa 

Located near the town of Jaco, Playa Hermosa is a small community with world-renowned surfing. Playa Hermosa is mostly home to local Costa Ricans, with a few restaurants, hotels, bars, and resorts. From April to November Playa Hermosa has some of the best waves for surfing in Costa Rica. In fact, during the month of August professional surfers from all around the world come to Playa Hermosa to compete in the Quicksilver International Surf Championship. During this period waves can grow up to 13 feet high, creating an exciting experience for both the surf participants and beach spectators. For those looking to encounter Costa Rica’s famous surf culture, Playa Hermosa is a great place for a quick stay or day trip.

Dominical

Beautiful rainforests and mountainous landscapes surround the small town of Dominical. Frequently compared to Playa Manuel Antonio, Dominical also offers a great mix of lush rainforest and scenic beaches. Throughout the year, Dominical is home to a dedicated surfing community and international surf competitions. Due to the presence of enormous waves and strong riptides, travelers looking to swim during their visit should head to the calmer beach of Playa Dominicalito. Dominical is a great example of a pleasant Costa Rican town, consisting of dirt roads that are lined with small shops, restaurants, and bars. For day trips, visitors can enjoy wildlife observation at nearby National Parks or try a canopy tour of the Costa Rican jungle.

Central Pacific

Uvita

Beautiful rainforests and mountainous landscapes surround the small town of Dominical. Frequently compared to Playa Manuel Antonio, Dominical also offers a great mix of lush rainforest and scenic beaches. Throughout the year, Dominical is home to a dedicated surfing community and international surf competitions. Due to the presence of enormous waves and strong riptides, travelers looking to swim during their visit should head to the calmer beach of Playa Dominicalito. Dominical is a great example of a pleasant Costa Rican town, consisting of dirt roads that are lined with small shops, restaurants, and bars. For day trips, visitors can enjoy wildlife observation at nearby National Parks or try a canopy tour of the Costa Rican jungle.

Central Pacific
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