Paquera is not a place that most people spend much time. Usually, it is known as just the town you drive through after taking the ferry from Puntarenas on the way to Santa Teresa or Montezuma.
However, we think it is not a bad spot to spend a night or two. The town itself is not the best, but there are a few places to visit nearby that we really love.
As with most of Costa Rica, the dry season here runs from mid-December until April or May.
From May until August you can expect some afternoon rainstorms. They tend to roll in like clockwork around 2pm.
From mid-August until December a lot of things close down because the weather can be really rainy and there just isn’t enough tourism in this area at that time.
Even during the green season, this area tends to be super hot and sunny during the day.
Learn more about Costa Rica weather here.
The cheapest way to get to Mal Pais is with the public bus from (if coming from San Jose). This is actually not a bad trip. You only need to take the public bus to Puntarenas and then hop on the ferry to Paquera. From the ferry you can grab a taxi to your destination. You can check out the bus schedule here.
For the most comfort, we like to take a private shuttle. Our go-to shuttle company is Adobe Transfers. We have worked closely with Adobe for almost five years now and trust them completely. You can get a private transfer quote here.
We always suggest renting a car and driving to Paquera on your own. The best way to do this (if coming from San Jose) is by going on the Puntarenas ferry to Paquera. In total this trip will take about four to five hours (depending on how early you get to the ferry terminal).
Check out our ferry guide for more on that.
We like to rent a car because Paquera is nice, but we highly suggest visiting more of the Nicoya Peninsula from here. For day trips you will likely want a car and there are not many car rental places in the Paquera area.
You do not necessarily need a 4×4 for the drive to Paquera, but an SUV with decent clearance is suggested for once in Paquera because some of the roads are not paved in this area.
Having a rental car will be the easiest way to get around in Paquera. This isn’t a popular tourist area so there are not many day tour companies. You will have to drive yourself to most things you would like to see or do.
In the Gulf of Nicoya, it is possible to experience bioluminescence year-round. The best time to experience this is during a new moon when it is completely dark.
Curu Reserve is a great hiking spot with several trails of varying lengths and difficulty. There is also a nice beach. We have a Curu Reserve guide for more info.
Tortuga Island is a white sand beach island without inhabitants. It is a fun day trip option that includes snorkeling and swimming in clear turquoise waters. Check out our Tortuga visitors guide for more info.
Eco Boutique Hotel – A nice hotel with incredible ocean views. We like this place for the amazing property with a nice pool.
B&B La Casa de Manito – Very budget-friendly accommodation option with breakfast included. The staff here will go above and beyond to make sure you have a nice stay.
Isla Chiquita Glamping Hotel – One of the best glamping spots in the country. Isla Chiquita is on its own island, so this is more of a destination for a honeymoon or romantic getaway.
MACHO – I’m a bit confused because apparently there are two MACHO restaurants. One focuses on seafood and the other is more burgers with a relaxed vibe. I have been to the seafood one and it was great!
Kincho’s Pizza – Great place for takeout or just relaxed pizza vibes. They have a wide variety of topping choices.
Mariscos Grey – Excellent place for seafood. It really does not look like much from the outside, but the food quality and presentation is impressive.
We suggest spending about two nights here before moving on to Montezuma, Santa Teresa, or Mal Pais.
This is a great few-day stop, but we don’t suggest spending your whole vacation here.
Keep in mind that there is almost no tourism here. The small town does not have the same touristy vibe that some other parts of the country have.
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