Are you in Manzanillo (Costa Rica, Limón) and you want to find a quiet beach away from people? Punta Mona is a beautiful place where you can breathe a lot of calm
I tell you how to get to Punta Mona, what to do on this beach and what is the best itinerary to visit Manzanillo
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What is PUNTA MONA like (Costa Rica)
If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica (👉COSTA RICA GUIDE), you should know that it is a country characterized by the beauty of its beaches, mountains, volcanoes and the diversity of its wildlife.
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Punta Mona is located in the national park of Manzanillo (Limón), and is much more relaxed and authentic than the main beaches in the park. If you go, for example, to the main beach, you will see that many families or groups of friends come by car to have a picnic and spend the day.
Although in some areas there may be more people, in general all the beaches of Manzanillo are beautiful, but in Punta Mona the difficult access and the views give it a peculiar charm.
The main reason that makes it a quiet place away from the crowds is that it can only be accessed on foot or by boat.
One of the advantages of the place is that it has a small hotel that looks very nice, it has hammocks, juices and a grassy area to play volleyball, you don’t need more in Costa Rica. I didn’t plan the tour too much, but if I had known, I would have stayed there for at least one night.
How to get to Punta Mona
Below I describe the two options to get to Punta Mona with their advantages and disadvantages:
You can hike through the Manzanillo jungle and reach Punta Mona in about 2 hours. If you choose this route, I recommend that the day before (or the two before) it has not rained, because otherwise the entire path will be full of mud and the walk will not be entirely pleasant.
You can also deviate from the main road to visit different beaches where you can bathe in the sun, but be careful because in Costa Rica snakes abound and there are some that are poisonous.
As a personal opinion, the landscape of the trail did not seem spectacular to me. It’s pretty monotonous because you can’t enjoy the views, although it’s nice and you see little red frogs, little birds and giant nests of ants. In my case, I suppose that my experience is very conditioned by the discomfort of the mud (mud pools), which makes it very charming.
I did the return by boat due to my reluctance to repeat the path on foot. I don’t know how often it comes and goes, not even if it happens every day, since it is the boat that takes the fruits and vegetables to the small hotel there, but you can ask about the beach or even send an e-mail to the hotel before going.
The ride costs 5,000 CRC and the views are beautiful.
Visitting PUNTA MONA
After having visited Punta Mona and having experienced what the area is like and the ways to get there, I recommend that you follow the following itinerary:
1) The best option is to leave early for the Manzanillo National Park, and walk along the path from the main beach until you reach Punta Mona. Along the way you will see some very beautiful views and beaches.
Once you arrive at Punta Mona, you will see that there are two areas to explore: the one on the right facing the sea (which is the one seen in the photo above) will take you to Gandoca, another beautiful beach in the park. The walk there is like a postcard: the beach is looooong full of palm trees and without a soul.
On the left you can see a beautiful islet covered by palm trees and plants while you bathe or sunbathe.
You can spend a night in Punta Mona (or two, depending on the time you have), and thus watch the sunset and lay down leisurely in a hammock enjoying the scenery, and make an excursion to Gandoca.
2) The next day, when you have already soaked up the beach and sand, you take the boat and return to Manzanillo while enjoying the views of the entire coast.
To get to the Manzanillo park from Puerto Viejo there is a bus that costs 670 CRC and will leave you at the main beach.
Below you’ll find the map with the exact location of Punta Mona so that you can easily locate it and organize the excursion.
Useful stuff for your trip to Costa Rica
Below, you will find some products that will be very useful during your trip to Costa Rica.
In addition, the options that I recommend are committed to the environment/social causes and are vegan.
Carrying a waterproof windbreaker in your suitcase is essential in case temperatures drop, it rains unexpectedly, or to go hiking.
When traveling, it’s important to choose a jacket that is lightweight, takes up little space and that you can use in different situations; that is to say, that transpires, is waterproof and has a hood to protect you properly from bad weather.
Gopro 11 Black
The GOPRO 11 (👉 PRICE) is a great choice if you are visiting natural areas, practicing adventure sports or want to make videos underwater, e.g. while scuba diving or snorkeling.
In addition, with its stabilization and Horizon Lock function, it will allow you to make incredibly stable videos even in adverse situations (such as walking, running or riding a motorcycle). In addition, it comes with an amazing 5.3k image quality.
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3-in-1 hiking shoes
These La Sportiva shoes are designed to run in the mountains, thanks to this you can use them for hiking, go out to run and do tourism ; saving space in your suitcase.
They are made with goretex, which means they protect you from the inclement weather weather (such as rain, ice or cold) and are adherent to the ground. This makes them ideal for traveling due to their versatility.
Tours & activities in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a natural paradise that cannot be lost. From volcanoes to virgin beaches, through giant waterfalls and their fairytale fauna.
I leave you some excursions and activities that you can do, to enjoy your visit to this beautiful country even more.
What to do and see in PuERTO VIEJO
Puerto Viejo is a small hippie town on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. It is surrounded by two National Parks (Manzanillo and Cahuita) and is known for its beautiful golden sand beaches.
I explained more about these places and why they are a must-see during your trip.
👉 Learn about how to get to Puerto Viejo from San José or about transportation to Tortuguero
Cahuita National Park
Cahuita is a national park that is located north of Puerto Viejo and is easily accessible by bus. You can visit it walking along the beach or along the path that follows the coast through the jungle.
In Cahuita live different types of monkeys, one of them are howlers. These monkeys make a jaguar-like sound to communicate (don’t panic if you hear them!). You will also meet hungry raccoons who will want to steal your food.
If snorkeling is your thing, there are good places to see fish in the park, but you’ll have to rent a small boat to take you to the right spot (it’s a bit out to sea).
If you are into surfing or you are looking for a beach that is far from the center of Puerto Viejo, Cocles beach meets these two requirements. It is easily accessible on foot, or you can also go by bike or bus.
If you feel like surfing, there are stalls on the beach where you can rent boards, and you will surely find it easy to find an instructor. In addition, there is a nice viewpoint where you can see a panorama of the entire coast.
Manzanillo National Park
This is the park where Punta Mona is located. Manzanillo has a lot of underwater wealth, since it is home to the best preserved reef on the Atlantic coast.
If you do scuba diving you can see turtles, manatees and dolphins. If you don’t like water sports, you can also spot dolphins if you sign up for an organized tour.
Apart from the fauna, it is also worth mentioning the virgin beaches full of palm trees with coconuts, they are perfect for a day trip and enjoy the sea and the sun.
Is Costa Rica SAFE to Travel?
Costa Rica is a moderately dangerous country, where nothing should happen to you if you go carefully and take precautions. Remember to follow these recommendations:
- In case of robbery, do not resist physically.
- Do not show a high purchasing power, that is, do not go with jewels, bags, etc … that are expensive.
- Be careful if you go out at night, and stay in crowded places where you are surrounded by other people.
- Thefts are usual, so don’t go with the camera or mobile in your hand or hang out of your neck.
- Try to avoid carrying the backpack on the back. Put it in front of you, or use a belt pouch or a cross bag.
Personally, I spent 3 months traveling alone in Costa Rica (I visited San José, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Dominical, Uvita, Bay Drake and Puerto Jiménez) and I did not find myself in any really serious situation.
Going down the street with the camera, several Costa Rican people approached and warned me that they were carefully with robberies, since they told me that they are very frequent.
In my case, during the trip they tried to steal 2 times and, luckily, I realized on time and I could avoid it. In any case, it is always a good idea to have travel insurance (👉5% discount) that can compensate you financially and help you if a medical emergency occurs.
If you are interested in traveling alone, I recommend this article about the reasons and benefits of traveling alone and this other article with tips for traveling alone being a woman. I encourage you to try it since it is a great and very profitable experience for oneself.
Eating VEGAN in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is not a country faced with vegan food. Anyway, they have some traditional dishes that are vegan or that you can ask without egg or sauces such as the pico of rooster (rice with beans for breakfast), black bean soup or rice with vegetables.
You should always ask if the purés or soups are made with some type of dairy product or meat broth, since at first glance they might seem vegan dishes but not be.
In San José you can find some vegan restaurants, but when you leave the capital the offer is very limited or non -existent. Next, I make three recommendations and in this link you can read tips to travel vegan.
- Try to stay in hotels that are characterized by cooking vegan and vegetarian dishes. This is the best option and the most practical for not having to be looking for places where to eat comfortable without always repeating the same dishes.
- Before going on a tour that includes a meal, always mention that you are vegan or vegetarian, so that they can adapt the food.
- Costa Rica is a country where you can find a variety of fresh products (fruits and vegetables) to prepare salads and breakfast with fruits. In any city or town, you will easily find some supermarket or stalls on the street where you can buy groceries.
I hope you find the information useful and that you fall in love with Costa Rica during your trip!