Paquera, Costa Rica
The Paquera Vibe
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.
Map Of Paquera
Paquera is located on the eastern shore of the Nicoya Peninsula.
The waters here are somewhat protected from the open ocean.
Paquera at a Glance
Nearest International Airport
Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (SJO)
Popular Things to Do
bioluminescence kayak tour, fishing, visit Curu Reserve
Best Way to Get Around
Best Time of Year to Visit
Dry season is from late December until mid-April
Book Your Trip
Getting to Paquera
Flights to Costa Rica
Paquera is great because it is easily accessible from the Liberia airport and the San Jose airport.
More and more airlines are starting service to Liberia so check out the rates. It may be worth it for you.
If you haven’t booked your flight yet, we suggest using Skyscanner. We consistently find the best rates through their website.
Cheapest Way to Get to Paquera
The cheapest way to get to Paquera 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.
Most Comfortable Way to Get 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.
Our Favorite Way to Get 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.
The Fastest Way to Get Here
The fastest (but most expensive) way to get to Mal Pais is by plane. From San Jose, it is possible to fly with a domestic airline to Tambor Airport.
From Tambor, you can take a private shuttle or taxi 45 minutes to Paquera.
Getting Around in Paquera
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.
Unfortunately, Adobe does not have an office on the Nicoya Peninsula. This is part of the reason we suggest using a rental car to get here so you will be able to have transportation while in the area.
Book Your Transportation
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.
Grab a free copy of our Costa Rica guide
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.
Things to Do in Paquera
Go Bioluminescent Kayaking
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.
Bahia Rica Adventures is our favorite fishing tour company in the area. Captain Thomas will take you out for a half day adventure. This area is amazing for Roosterfish, but you can also expect to maybe catch Mahi Mahi, Tuna, Jack Crevalle, Needlefish, or Cubera Snapper.
Visit Curu Reserve
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.
Take a Day Trip to Isla Tortuga
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.
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.
Packing for Paquera
For Paquera we suggest focusing on very casual clothing. There is no need to dress up nicely here.
We suggest fast drying shirts and shorts, sun blocking gear such as UV protecting shirts and hats, and rain gear for the rainy season.
For footwear we usually opt for flip flops with a good sole when in town or on beaches and sneakers or low hiking boots for hikes.
Check out our Paquera Packing List on Amazon for all the essentials.
Paquera Travel Tips
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.
Don't Forget Travel Insurance
The Puntarenas Ferry in Costa Rica
Did you know that there is a ferry that can be taken from Puntarenas, Costa Rica to either Paquera or Naranjo on the Nicoya Peninsula?