Puntarenas, Costa Rica
The popular beach on this "sandy point" is lined with open-air cafes. For most cruisers, however, Puntarenas is simply Eden's gate. Some will ride the Pan-American Highway across coffee plantations and farmland to San Jose's gold and jade museums, and famous Opera. The animal kingdom holds sway over the rest of the Costa Rican countryside, be it cloudforest or coral reef. River rafting through jungles singing with chattering monkeys and colorful parrots; brushing off butterflies and hummingbirds at a nature preserve; tip-toeing through the rainforest in search of shy jaguars and sloths--all adventures in the wild that are not to be missed.