Puntarenas, Costa Rica

About Puntarenas, Costa Rica

  • Population: approx. 100,000
  • Distance from San José: 51 miles
  • Distance from Monteverde: 53 miles
Palm trees line the boardwalk of Puntarenas.

Palm trees line the boardwalk of Puntarenas.

Puntarenas offers the peace and rural beauty of a small beach town while at the same time affording easy access to the activities of the capital. During the nineteenth century it was Costa Rica’s major seaport, but Puerto Limón and Caldera (11 miles to the southeast) have assumed that role. Now primarily a tourist destination and transportation hub, it is a bustling town, particularly during the dry season months (November–April). During the wet months (May–October) it is hot with refreshing afternoon showers. The geography of the city is unique since it is located at the end of a sandy peninsula almost five miles long, but only 120 to 700 yards wide. Consequently, one is always close to the ocean, and there are many beaches from which to choose.

Finishing up a day of surfing

Finishing up a day of surfing

Puntarenas offers access to the Nicoya Peninsula on two ferries. Nicoya is best known for its pristine beaches and resorts, as well as for its native folklore. From Puntarenas, you can travel up and down the coast to world-class surfing beaches, nature reserves, and plantations. This central Pacific region offers something for every outdoor enthusiast. Students find buying a used bike upon arrival is the easiest form of transportation for getting around Puntarenas.

Quick Details

2017-18 App. Cycle

Summer II (5 weeks): Open for late application

Fall: Open

Yearlong: Open

January 2018: Open

Spring: Open

2018-19 App. Cycle

Application opens 9/1:

Summer I (5 weeks)

Summer II (5 weeks)

Summer I & II (10 weeks)


Minimum GPA: 2.5

Program Type



U.S. Credit

Program Capacity



English | Spanish