Costa Rica: Puntarenas

The only thing keeping my eyes open as we descend below the cloud deck was the site of San Jose nestled in a deep green valley.

Arriving in Puntarenas

The only thing keeping my eyes open as we descend below the cloud deck was the site of San Jose nestled in a deep green valley. Theresa and I had been up for over 30 hours having left Seattle the day before. And we still have a couple of hours to go before we arrive at our final destination, Puntarenas on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

I had researched every aspect in regards to traveling to Costa Rica; shots, visas, car rentals, customs, etc. What I wasn’t prepared for as we cleared customs and looked for our rental agency was the number and aggression of competitors trying to lure us away. Luckily, that was our only brush with such aggression.

Rental car secured we headed west towards our first objective, finding Villa Guarias. It quickly became evident that driving in Costa Rica was going to take a little getting used to. Passing on the left or right, passing despite double yellow all seemed to be the norm. Did I mention the toll stations? Well, they there…and there…and everywhere. Best be prepared with some local currency.

iNaturist

The hope had been to work with La Tortuga Feliz and their conservation effort with the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. Apparently Mother Nature had other plans as our turtles were on a different schedule this year.

I had somewhat anticipated this and had decided that I would use the application iNaturist to document as many different species while in the Puntarenas area. By the end of the trip, I had logged over 138 different species. You may have noted that I’m already posting short bios of the more interesting ones under featured animals. Obviously, I won’t post all 138 but more like 30 or so.

For those of you who might not be familiar with iNaturalist here’s a short description from their website;

One of the world’s most popular nature apps, iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over 750,000 scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! What’s more, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature. iNaturalist is a joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.

What appeals to me is the fact that you can post your findings straight from your phone while in the field. Of course, this is assuming you have connectivity. Often in Costa Rica, I was out of range of any cellular coverage so I’m having to go back and manually enter my data on some of the findings.

COASST training a huge success!

So apparently the training session for the Outer Coast of Washington was a huge success and deserves a huge thank you to all the new volunteers. So…thank you! 

If you’re interested in further trainings, whether for the Outer Coast Team, or something closer to home, you can find more information here.

If you care to see some behind the scene shots of our adventures on the Outer Coast Team click the button below. 

Puntarenas Past Glory

First known as Bruselas, in colonial times it linked Costa Rican commerce with Panama and South America. A royal order of 1814 initiated improvement of the harbor facilities; and a cart road from San José, the national capital, was opened in the 1840s. Puntarenas was the shipping center for most of the Costa Rican coffee that went to Europe around Cape Horn. Later connected with San José by the Pacific Railway, Puntarenas became an increasingly important port for the export of bananas and coffee and for imports from the West Coast of the United States.

This city is home to over 100,000 residences and sits a peninsula, the width of the town is less than four miles long and a quarter-mile wide, with views of the ocean on either side. Apparently, at one time Puntarenas was quite the tourist attraction. However, it seems that’s no longer the case. Many of the attractions I had read about were closed and in a state of disrepair but the architect is still wonderful to look open and imagine when this port city was the most important commercial port in Costa Rica.

It seems it’s biggest draw is the ferry which will take travelers across the Gulf of Nicoya to the white beaches and parks on the Nicoya Peninsula. The ferry ticket booth was packed with travelers with the line extending around the block.

The only thing keeping my eyes open as we descend below the cloud deck was the site of San Jose nestled in a deep green valley.

Member of the following

We are the learned society for geography and geographers.
as-seal-gr
Working to provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to make a difference as they play in the outdoors.
coasst-logo
Working to translate long-term monitoring into effective marine conservation solutions.
Sea Grant Washington
Provide integrated research, communication, and education to coastal communities that lead to the responsible use of the nation’s oceans.

twitter feed

Follow the team’s latest news and social feeds here. You’ll also find links to articles on the latest developments regarding citizen-science and the conservation of our oceans. 

We also use this feed for updates from the field as we pursue our own science and the occasional short video clip.

And please, feel free to join in the conversation. We’d love to hear what you’re up to as well. 

Latest Instagram

Morning on the Dosewallips River. Heading into the Olympics today to do a bit of exploring.⠀ ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #nature #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics #wastateparks ...

A wonderfully stormy afternoon at the North Head Lighthouse. This has to be one of the most picturesque areas in Washington. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics #wastateparks ...

"When You Find More Mammals Then Birds" - Reflecting on 3 years of data collection for the #COASST project. You can find the link in my bio.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics ...

Spending the day in Westport looking for some photography opportunities.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #nature #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

Cruising Whidbey Island - Where were you when you first heard of the COVID virus? Has it really been that long?⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

Porter Falls located in our Capitol State Forest. Looking forward to our springtime weather. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics ...

Braving The Snow to Revisit Layser Cave - Essex Media & Explorations https://buff.ly/3w3Dt9M ...

Another shot of Toleak Beach which is our survey beach for #COASST beached birds. We lucked out with the weather during the survey, despite the clouds we missed the rain while we were on the beach.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics ...

Although it was a bit stormy and dramatic on the beach, we lucked out and missed any heavy down pours on this weekends #COASST beached bird survey. Have to love the Wild Coast of Washington.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #nature #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics ...

A road less traveled. Sunset at one of our favorite campsites on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Here’s hoping the weather holds for tomorrows #COASST bird survey near La Push. . . . . #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #nature #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler #WildOlympics ...

Cathedral Falls during the winter. If you look closely you’ll see the large ice ball at its base.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #nature #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

Just published our latest adventure, or maybe misadventure. You can find the link in my bio up top. - "A Cold Hike To The Top of Dog Mountain" ...

This is the entrance to Laysers Cave in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Had an entirely different feel dusted in snow. ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

Last nights sunset over Grays Harbor. It took us by surprise due to the forecast of solid rain.⠀ ⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #nature #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

Here's a shot of our latest hike out to Cathedral Falls. The entire base of the falls was encased in ice. Make a special day to be outdoors.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #YourShotPhotographer #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

Yesterday found us driving/hiking snow choked trails to get to Layser Cave. Here we’re looking across the valley at Tower Rock. .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #pnwonderland #pnw #thenwadventure #upperleftusa #pnwdiscovered #cascadiaexplored #pnwparadise #optoutside #wildernessculture #wanderwashington #pacificnorthwest #pnwlife #nature #keepitwild #pnwphotographer #lifeofadventure #exploretocreate #beautifuldestinations #hikingadventures #wanderlust #thatpnwlife #explorewashington #roamtheplanet #thegreatpnw #photooftheday #washingtonexplored @washingtondiscovered @nextstop24 #nextstop24traveler ...

Puntarenas Present Appeal

Things might have been a bit tarnished from days of past glory, but that hardly means Puntarenas isn’t without its charms. What Theresa and I found most appealing was the very fact that it didn’t feel touristy.

True there was a bit of a language barrier since our Spanish is limited, but it wasn’t insurmountable. We both felt it was well worth the trade-off to get this unvarnished version of Costa Rica. It’s also worth pointing out that the people were every bit as helpful and friendly as those areas we visited that were more geared towards an international mix of tourists.

Please share this:

More to explore

Dosewallips Fall
Journal

Incredible Waterfall Hidden Right Under My Nose

I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve driven past this unassuming trail-head. Nothing outstanding or unusual about it; identical to the hundreds, if not thousands, I’ve gone by every weekend here in the Pacific Northwest. But this one had a secret, a spectacular secret; Rocky Brook Falls.

Read More »
Jefferson Lake
Journal

Round 2 with Rocky

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled on Rocky Brook Falls while out with friends. We spent a fair amount of time photographing the Rocky Brook Falls but I wasn’t feeling satisfied.

Read More »

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.