Stretching from the rough-and-ready port of Puntarenas to the tiny town of Uvita, the central Pacific coast is home to wet and dry tropical forests, sun-drenched beaches and a healthy dose of wildlife. On shore, national parks protect endangered squirrel monkeys and scarlet macaws, while offshore waters nurture migrating whales and pods of dolphins.
With so much biodiversity packed into a small geographic area, it’s no wonder the region is often thought of as Costa Rica in miniature. Given its close proximity to San José, and its well-developed system of paved roads, this part of the country is a favorite weekend getaway for domestic and international travelers.
While threats of unregulated growth are real, particularly with a new $3.5-billion international airport approved for construction in Orotina, it’s also important to see the bigger picture: namely the stunning nature that first put the central Pacific coast on the map.