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Guidebook for Paquera, Puntarenas

Frank

Guidebook for Paquera, Puntarenas

Food Scene
This is only about a 3 minute self drive from Mapi's oppisite the main road on a gravel road. It's my favorite fresh FISH home cooked small Restaurant! I love the seafood soup, with milk or water base as your preference (my preference is MILK but those who have a nondairy diet, can ask if they use coconut milk, I'm not sure) having 2 lobsters in it with an array of shells and fish, served in a very large bowl! The service is slow but that's very common in Costa Rica. Don't be fooled by the unique shabby atmosphere, I have eaten many times there and it's one of those places, you "can't judge a book by its cover". When we're at Mapi's we hardly go out to eat because we're consumed with maintaining the place before we leave but it was on the insistence of one of our regular guests, to try the soup there, now we MAKE the time, to always go. Make sure you wear mosquito repellent especially on exposed legs and feet at "night" because they have these biting gnats that will bug you and ruin your dining experience. The price is expensive for the area but it's quality and big portions of food (for example the seafood soup with 2 lobsters is about $20). But if you're on a budget you can share the one meal or buy the smaller portions, either way, we never went home hungry!
Las Vegas Restaurant
This is only about a 3 minute self drive from Mapi's oppisite the main road on a gravel road. It's my favorite fresh FISH home cooked small Restaurant! I love the seafood soup, with milk or water base as your preference (my preference is MILK but those who have a nondairy diet, can ask if they use coconut milk, I'm not sure) having 2 lobsters in it with an array of shells and fish, served in a very large bowl! The service is slow but that's very common in Costa Rica. Don't be fooled by the unique shabby atmosphere, I have eaten many times there and it's one of those places, you "can't judge a book by its cover". When we're at Mapi's we hardly go out to eat because we're consumed with maintaining the place before we leave but it was on the insistence of one of our regular guests, to try the soup there, now we MAKE the time, to always go. Make sure you wear mosquito repellent especially on exposed legs and feet at "night" because they have these biting gnats that will bug you and ruin your dining experience. The price is expensive for the area but it's quality and big portions of food (for example the seafood soup with 2 lobsters is about $20). But if you're on a budget you can share the one meal or buy the smaller portions, either way, we never went home hungry!
This little Ice Cream Shop, has more than a good amount of assorted Ice Creams about 5 minute drive off center of town! I always go to get my favorite fix on Rum Raisen! They offer smoothies (a varied amount of Naturales/Natural fruit drinks like Sandia=Watermelon etc.) but also offer snack and finger foods, which honestly haven't tried but they serve plantains/patacones, hamburgers, fries, burritos and tacos to just mention a few at very affordable prices! At the present their special is a Coke and hamburger for $2, so when it gets too hot for you, cool down with one of your favorite ice creams!
Heladeria Passion Fruit
This little Ice Cream Shop, has more than a good amount of assorted Ice Creams about 5 minute drive off center of town! I always go to get my favorite fix on Rum Raisen! They offer smoothies (a varied amount of Naturales/Natural fruit drinks like Sandia=Watermelon etc.) but also offer snack and finger foods, which honestly haven't tried but they serve plantains/patacones, hamburgers, fries, burritos and tacos to just mention a few at very affordable prices! At the present their special is a Coke and hamburger for $2, so when it gets too hot for you, cool down with one of your favorite ice creams!
Go right on gravel road about 3-5 min from Mapi's. Just tried out this other Seafood place, it's just as good as Las Vegas! I haven't tried everything on their menu and one day at Las Vegas, they said they ran out of lobsters and fish, when I remembered Grey's from google maps, they were only a hop and skip away from Vegas, so skipped out to try them instead and glad I did because I found out, they deliver to Mapi's! I liked their ceviche better! Didn't notice any bugs at night and a better ambiance.
Mariscos Grey's
Go right on gravel road about 3-5 min from Mapi's. Just tried out this other Seafood place, it's just as good as Las Vegas! I haven't tried everything on their menu and one day at Las Vegas, they said they ran out of lobsters and fish, when I remembered Grey's from google maps, they were only a hop and skip away from Vegas, so skipped out to try them instead and glad I did because I found out, they deliver to Mapi's! I liked their ceviche better! Didn't notice any bugs at night and a better ambiance.
Sightseeing
Less than 5 minutes from Mapi's on the left, off the main road, you'll find the Cemetery. It might sound a little morbid in a sightseeing point of interest. But I would drive by it every day until one day, it captured my attention and it's quite beautiful and serene seeing all the burial sites come down on a side of a mountain...
Cementerio de Paquera
Less than 5 minutes from Mapi's on the left, off the main road, you'll find the Cemetery. It might sound a little morbid in a sightseeing point of interest. But I would drive by it every day until one day, it captured my attention and it's quite beautiful and serene seeing all the burial sites come down on a side of a mountain...
Parks & Nature
This is a beautiful natural park, is about 30 minutes self drive from Mapi's off the main road. The entry fee is a moderate price per person. Offering not only different levels of hike trails that leads to many different beaches but be advised that entry fees are automatically included if doing any of the activities there, like a boat trip to Isla Tortuga, snorkeling or diving on the way and night bio luminesce tours (waters glowing). You're sure to see monkies at Curu and other wildlife! But if you do any of the activities, you may not be able to have any time to do any of the trails/hikes. It's my suggestion to do tours with Bahia Rica Tours and then another day just pay the entry for Curu Park, so you can actually do the park. There's also now a new underwater helmet experience Aquanauts, banana boats and other water activities offered at ISLA TORTUGA. There's a small souvenir shop at Curu, as well as Isla Tortuga, lunch can also be included in package prices but you need to call before for 'all activity" reservations.
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Curú Wildlife Refuge
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This is a beautiful natural park, is about 30 minutes self drive from Mapi's off the main road. The entry fee is a moderate price per person. Offering not only different levels of hike trails that leads to many different beaches but be advised that entry fees are automatically included if doing any of the activities there, like a boat trip to Isla Tortuga, snorkeling or diving on the way and night bio luminesce tours (waters glowing). You're sure to see monkies at Curu and other wildlife! But if you do any of the activities, you may not be able to have any time to do any of the trails/hikes. It's my suggestion to do tours with Bahia Rica Tours and then another day just pay the entry for Curu Park, so you can actually do the park. There's also now a new underwater helmet experience Aquanauts, banana boats and other water activities offered at ISLA TORTUGA. There's a small souvenir shop at Curu, as well as Isla Tortuga, lunch can also be included in package prices but you need to call before for 'all activity" reservations.
This is the closest beach to Mapi's, taking about 25 minutes self-drive on the main road back to ferry direction. The best time to visit this beach is early morning so you can catch the howler monkies up on the trees. There's an up hill drive through wooded areas and sometimes due to heavy rainfalls, the roads could have it's fair share of potholes, so it's highly recommended, to use a 4x4 to reach this dark sand beach (hardly any waves). Once there, if you walk towards your right, you'll reach a fork of waters, where a river of sweet water combines with salt water. I believe it depends on the moon phase that you can also see the biolumense, shining waters when swimming in it, a phenomenon that happens at night. These tours are also available at Curu Reserve and Bahia Rica Tours.
Playa Órganos
This is the closest beach to Mapi's, taking about 25 minutes self-drive on the main road back to ferry direction. The best time to visit this beach is early morning so you can catch the howler monkies up on the trees. There's an up hill drive through wooded areas and sometimes due to heavy rainfalls, the roads could have it's fair share of potholes, so it's highly recommended, to use a 4x4 to reach this dark sand beach (hardly any waves). Once there, if you walk towards your right, you'll reach a fork of waters, where a river of sweet water combines with salt water. I believe it depends on the moon phase that you can also see the biolumense, shining waters when swimming in it, a phenomenon that happens at night. These tours are also available at Curu Reserve and Bahia Rica Tours.
This is an easy 35-minute self-drive from Mapi's, to a flat level dark sandy beach (hardly any waves). Once there, If you walk to your right, you'll reach a fork, where salt water and sweet water meet. If you walk towards your left, there's like an inlet where fisherman dock their boats. You can either ask anybody there to give you a lift to Playa Muertos, for a FEE or if you're a good swimmer you can easily swim across. Playa Muertos, is a must see beach, it's one of the few light colored sand having smooth rocks of all colors deposit along its shores. It's advisable to wear and bring rubber water shoes. There's a spiny jagged rock formation that can hurt your feet, if walking barefoot on it but makes a great spot to snorkel.
Pochote
This is an easy 35-minute self-drive from Mapi's, to a flat level dark sandy beach (hardly any waves). Once there, If you walk to your right, you'll reach a fork, where salt water and sweet water meet. If you walk towards your left, there's like an inlet where fisherman dock their boats. You can either ask anybody there to give you a lift to Playa Muertos, for a FEE or if you're a good swimmer you can easily swim across. Playa Muertos, is a must see beach, it's one of the few light colored sand having smooth rocks of all colors deposit along its shores. It's advisable to wear and bring rubber water shoes. There's a spiny jagged rock formation that can hurt your feet, if walking barefoot on it but makes a great spot to snorkel.
This is about a 30 minute self drive from Mapi's, it's another dark sandy beach but no waves. There's a cement slab where you can build your tents or have your picnic. You would have to drive slow to get there because the road is very rocky with gravel.
Playa Pájaros
This is about a 30 minute self drive from Mapi's, it's another dark sandy beach but no waves. There's a cement slab where you can build your tents or have your picnic. You would have to drive slow to get there because the road is very rocky with gravel.
Taking the main road it will take about an hour and a half, self-drive from Mapi's to Santa Teresa, its right next to Mal Pais and both beaches can be seen on the same day. This area is known for its surfing, tourist friendly, and hipster style, having small eateries and shops.
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Santa Teresa Beach
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Taking the main road it will take about an hour and a half, self-drive from Mapi's to Santa Teresa, its right next to Mal Pais and both beaches can be seen on the same day. This area is known for its surfing, tourist friendly, and hipster style, having small eateries and shops.
Mal Pais and Santa Teresa Beach are right next to each other easily to see both in one day and about an hour and half from Mapi's. This area continues to be hipster trendy with surfing as it's main attraction. Having small shops and eateries making it tourist friendly.
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Malpais
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Mal Pais and Santa Teresa Beach are right next to each other easily to see both in one day and about an hour and half from Mapi's. This area continues to be hipster trendy with surfing as it's main attraction. Having small shops and eateries making it tourist friendly.
This ALL INCLUSIVE Beach Front Resort, is on main road 40 minutes away from Mapi's and offers guest day passes (10:30AM-12AM), includes even your pool/beach towels! You can participate in all the daily activities: small hike to see in captivity birds, snakes, frogs and butterflies. There's also volleyball, rock climbing (age limit), trampoline (age limit), ping pong, mini golf, pools, water sports, kayaks, archery, a small gym and sauna (be aware of their activity schedule, when I was there, we couldn't do any of the activities after 4PM). The price includes night shows, buffet meals, unlimited snacks and beverages (alcohol and nonalcohol) for $48-$60 per person depending on the season, please call before to verify or subject to any changes. For additional fees, they have horseback riding, arcade games, billiards, and Spa available. Best time to visit is Low Season when there're not so many people but you may run into maintenance issues, like I did (they had a few closed pools for repairs but there were still others open, so it didn't bother me).
Barceló Tambor
This ALL INCLUSIVE Beach Front Resort, is on main road 40 minutes away from Mapi's and offers guest day passes (10:30AM-12AM), includes even your pool/beach towels! You can participate in all the daily activities: small hike to see in captivity birds, snakes, frogs and butterflies. There's also volleyball, rock climbing (age limit), trampoline (age limit), ping pong, mini golf, pools, water sports, kayaks, archery, a small gym and sauna (be aware of their activity schedule, when I was there, we couldn't do any of the activities after 4PM). The price includes night shows, buffet meals, unlimited snacks and beverages (alcohol and nonalcohol) for $48-$60 per person depending on the season, please call before to verify or subject to any changes. For additional fees, they have horseback riding, arcade games, billiards, and Spa available. Best time to visit is Low Season when there're not so many people but you may run into maintenance issues, like I did (they had a few closed pools for repairs but there were still others open, so it didn't bother me).
Takes about an hour and half from Mapi's, you'll end up in a scenic beach strip of different laid back hipster area, eateries, bars and shops... The beach is very different there, with big scenic boulders you can climb on, makes beautiful pictures and a lot of waves for surfing. It also offers many water activities as well as zip lining.
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Montezuma Beach
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Takes about an hour and half from Mapi's, you'll end up in a scenic beach strip of different laid back hipster area, eateries, bars and shops... The beach is very different there, with big scenic boulders you can climb on, makes beautiful pictures and a lot of waves for surfing. It also offers many water activities as well as zip lining.
Shopping
This is about 5 minutes from Mapi's self drive on main road not even a minute down the road from Pali Super Market. Sometimes you'll find here brands that Pali doesn't carry. Also just another grocery store where you can find your main staples and toiletries, I find it to be a little smaller in comparison to Pali.
Palí
This is about 5 minutes from Mapi's self drive on main road not even a minute down the road from Pali Super Market. Sometimes you'll find here brands that Pali doesn't carry. Also just another grocery store where you can find your main staples and toiletries, I find it to be a little smaller in comparison to Pali.
Getting Around
This is a small airport about 45 minutes away from Mapi's, for those who want to get there quickly. Be advised they are small planes, so turbulence may be an issue...
Port lotniczy Tambor
This is a small airport about 45 minutes away from Mapi's, for those who want to get there quickly. Be advised they are small planes, so turbulence may be an issue...
Drinks & Nightlife
Interesting place to enjoy finger foods at a great price, good ceviche and drinks, even the seasonal raw turtle egg shots, along with usually loud music. There's also a pool table, there's a dance floor but nobody's ever dancing...
Bar La Gallada
Interesting place to enjoy finger foods at a great price, good ceviche and drinks, even the seasonal raw turtle egg shots, along with usually loud music. There's also a pool table, there's a dance floor but nobody's ever dancing...