San Jose

TOWNS: Puntarenas

(101.000). The name literally means "sandy point". The town is situated on 6-kilometres long, narrow peninsula stretched into Nicoya Bay. It`s made by the currents silts. It`s 600 metres wide at its widthst point and less than 100 metres at its other parts. It`s strategic point for ferries running between Nicoya peninsula coast, islands in the bay and the solid land. Sometimes it`s called "the Costa Rica Acapulco". It used to be considered also as the "capital od weddings". In the last week of February, the Puntarenas Carnival is held.
Founded in 1770, in 1914 was opened for foreign ships. In 1920 was linked with San Jose by rail. Till 1980`s was the most important pacific port of Costa Rica. In the south part it consists of four beaches: San Isidro, Chacarita, Angostura and Pochote. Now it`s centre of fishing industry. The town`s patron is Virgin del Carmen. (In June 2002 the very seldom there tornado hit that destroying 26 houses).
Barrio Angostura
It`s in the narrowest part of town (on its eastern side). There is placed the big, modern hotel Fiesta (for 310 rooms). It`s often attacked by so called "big waves".

Casa de la cultura
[Av.Central/calle 3]. It stands next to the museum. There are the art gallery and the point of tourist information. It exhibits turn-of-the-century photographs documenting the past prosperity of town. There are held concerts and theater performances. In 1993 in front of house a few trees were planted and the fountain was installed.

[Av.Central-1/calle 7]. It`s placed in the town centre. It`s a massive, stone building under the invocation of Heart of Jusus. It`s one naved and stoned. (The rough rock of smooth and shiny surface was used by the peasants to sharpen their working knives). It`s destinguished by high tower, covered with 4-sided dome. On every of its side are put the clocks. Built in 1902 of flagstones is the only Catholic church in the country that faces east. In 2004 a complete renovation.

Court Building
[Av.Central-2/calle 9-11]. Modern, concrete building with accented main entrance (glassed first ground and massive wykusha of the second ground).The rest of the building is devided by very large concrete bars covering large parts of the structure.

On every year, on February has been held the carnival. Besides on every year, on the nearest saturday of July 16th is arranged the Fiesta of the Sea Virgin (The Day of Saint Carmen), during which there is a parade of ornated boats with flags and lights, dances and race of vessels. It was started in 1913 after four fishermen narrowly escaped drowning during a storm in the Gulf of Nicoya.

Hospital San Rafael
There are two hospitals: San Rafael and Monsenor Victor Manuel Sanabria. The first one is placed not far from the National Mole, at the corner of The Tourist Promenade and the 9th street. The second one stands in San Isidro quarter (one of the eastermost quarter of town) close to San Isidro beach. San Rafale is no longer in use now. It is designed on quadrate base, it`s only first ground building with verandas around, arched topped windows and two-sided roof. It was built in 1852.

Till today remained many characteristic, light colorful houses. Some of them are paled partly in the water at the northern seacoast of the town. Many of them has plank structures with lattice work below the roof to permit the breeze.

Laborathory of Marine Biology
It was introduced in February 1998. It provides trainings on the coastal zone and the Bay of Nicoya. It consists among others with the laborathory of algae. It`s one-storey concrete, modern building, which central part is destinguished by row of windows stuck together. It`s sided by two concrete parts resembling the falling triangles.

Lighthouse and the swimming pool La Punta
Very impressive hotels and yachts clubs are situated at the entrance to the peninsula. There the only street line is developed into 5 other lines running paralelly until the westernmost peninsula point, where the lighthouse and municipal swimming-pools La Punta are situated.

Mercado Central
[Av.3/calle 2]. Low, elongated building with sided metallic roof. On its sides runs roffed table and lawns with small palms. In concrete walls there are square windows and rectangular gates. Beneath the roof there are vent-holes. There are sold mainly the sea goods.

Mercado de Artesania
[Av.2-4/calle Central-1]. Modern square consisting of few storey square buildings. They have tent four-sided roofs, glassed walls and teraces. Between them there is a concrete square with fountain and steps. They houses souvenir shops, touristic information and exchange office. The entire square was founded in 1998 by China.

Museum of Sea
[Av.Central/calle 3-5]. It`s situated in former prison building from XIX century, to the east from the cathedral. There is presented the history of Puntarenas in audiovisual way and the fishing equipment plus a gigantic marimba. There is also featured the collection of old pictures of the town. It`s fortresses-like building with crenelage topped windows. The first ground is rustificated. In front of that is placed a cannon from pirate ship.

The tourist promenade
[Avenida 6]. It`s full of life palms-lined walkway. It runs along the southern beach. It stands out of stone benches and new elaborate lights. There are a lot of night clubs, hoteles and restaurants offering local and international meals. Along that there are also the streets vendors offering everything from artifact souvenirs to ice-creams.

National Mole
It spreads from the middle of the southern coast. It`s linked by the goods train. There call the international big ferries from which the tourists are taken by the buses and travel to the interior of the country.

Park Mora and Canas
[Av.1-3/calle 9-11]. (Park de los Jobos). The biggest park in the town. It`s between avenidas 1/3 calles 9/11. There is a town hall, ping-pong tables and a high water pressure tower (the last one was built in July of 1935). In its northern part there are two busts of gen. Jose Maria Canas and Juan Rafael Mora that were revealed in 1960 and a tableau from 1918 (that`s the place where both men were shot in execution).

Park Victoria
[Av.1-3/calle 3]. It`s one of the least park in the country. It has very narrow shape. It stands out with stunted trees, iron fences and whitened stone benches. In its central point there is a concrete kiosko which looks like a gigantic screw put on 8 pales. Next to park are placed some educational institutions (Centro Universitario, Colege of Montserrat and School of Delia Urbina de Guevara). It was established in 1978.

Square of Cannons
[Av.4/calle 1]. It`s situated next to the Port building and faces the beach and Nicoya Bay. It`s covered by concrete and consists of a monument of four cannons (each of them head for different sides of the world). On the edge of the square the streets vendors offer souvenirs and postcards.

Port building
[Av.4/calle Central]. It`s a terace two storey construction that is situated on Paseo Leon Cortes, close to the National muelle. The second storey is surrounded by wooden terace, that in the town side advances and is supported by a few pales. It has large. rectangular windows and gates. It`s topped by the mansard roof. The ground floor is surrounded by a concrete fence.

Tenement house of Fait
[Av.3/calle 5]. It is placed at the Park of Victoria, close to the coast. The oldest house in town (1924). It was designed by Italian Alberto Fait. It is built on rectangular base, has rounded corners. It`s two storey building topped by tent roof with lookarens. The windows of both floors and gates are arched and embraced in ornate frames. It stands out with narrow, thin columns (pales) which support veranda and roof. There are also vent-holes with flowers ornaments and iron historical safety fence of second ground. At the beginning, for two decades it was used as consulate of USA. In 2005 it won the Architectural Restoration Award by Ministry of Culture. The owners got $64.000 to help with the project.

[Av.3/calle 9]. It`s placed in the corner of Park Mora and Canas. Big, massive, grey, 4 storey structure on L-base. Its stepped sides looks like a ship. It has horizontal rectangular windows and massive concrete attic. The higher floor, the wider it is (each is advanced against lower one). In the corner is put massive, rounded tower which looks like to be a bullet.

Terminal of ferries
In north-west part of town, there is a ferry terminal, from which ferries departure to Playa Naranjo on Nicoya peninsula.

University College of Puntarenas
[Av.2/calle 1]. It used to served as a port custom-house. A wide concrete two storey massive building. The front wall is accented by central wide rysalite that is topped by massive stepped attic. It has big rectangular windows of second floor. The corners stands out of massive pilasters and big immitation of prolongate windows.

2004; SLUPSK; Rafal Cezary Piechocinski