At the intersection of the country’s two major highways, this crossroads town serves as a gateway to the Península de Osa and Golfo Dulce. This functional banana-growing settlement makes a convenient base for exploring the Sierpe area if you have a particular interest in pre-Columbian stone spheres, which the area is newly famous for; it was declared a world patrimony by Unesco in 2014. The Festival de la Luz in December is worth stopping for.
Palmar is actually split in two – to get from Palmar Norte to Palmar Sur, take the Interamericana southbound over the Río Grande de Térraba bridge, then take the first right. Most facilities are in Palmar Norte, clustered around the intersection of the Carretera Interamericana and the Costanera Sur; if you're heading to Bahía Drake via Sierpe, this is your last chance to hit an ATM. Palmar Sur is home to the airstrip and a little park with an excellent example of a stone sphere.