Puntarenas is one of the most polarizing cities in the entire country, it is surrounded on all sides by a tropical paradise, but the city itself is a twisted collection of rust and beaches. Though the shipping industry that brought great wealth to the area dried up years ago, Puntarenas was one of the last places within the country to embrace tourism as a potential route for economic growth. Only recently have many of the city's accommodations popped up along the city shores, many of them luxury buildings such as the Doubletree Hilton Puntarenas.
But for all the streets left in semi-decay, there is a certain crumbling beauty to the city, most evident in the scraped architecture that hints at the city's importance a hundred years ago. Puntarenas sightseeing is certainly different from the rest of the country that has tried so hard to convert everything imaginable into postcard perfect sights, but the city's resignation is sadly striking in its own way.
Part of the city's cultural renaissance has been the inclusion of the newly developed Pacific marine Park, a likable stop of any Puntarenas sightseeing tour, with 28 separate tanks doing their best to recreate what lies below the surface of Costa Rica's Pacific coast. Nearby, you can also charter a boat to take you to the wildly popular Tortuga Island, far and away the most beautiful spot in this region. The most significant cultural landmark in the city is the museum which focuses on the region's historical relationship with the nearby ecosystems
The city's accessibility is one of its main drawing points. Within just a few hours, you can land in San Jose and have already begun your travels here, along the scenic Pacific coast. The outlying region from the city is another main draw, and Puntarenas sightseeing can include the Manuel Antonio National Park, the Carara Biological Reserve, plus trips across Golfo de Nicoya, tours of the nearby Cocos Island and a short trip south to the famous Jaco beach.