First impressions are generally very accurate and set the tone for the future of any relationship. And such will be the case when 1,800 tourists from the luxury ship “Disney Wonder” have the opportunity to base their first impression of Costa Rica solely on their short visit to the fishing town of Puntarenas.
Since moving to Costa Rica two years ago, I visit Puntarenas periodically for the sole purpose of filling my freezer with fresh fish. But as one walks the streets of that town, you can’t help but feel depressed at the rundown, shanty town look that Puntarenas portrays. Other than a few hundred meters of souvenir stands directly adjacent to where ships dock, there is little the town has to offer a visiting tourist. The beach areas are filthy, strewn with litter and rotting driftwood. Neighborhoods are in disarray and are uninviting.
Puntarenas has such a huge potential of being a tourist mecca, the possibilities are endless. It’s a shame, so many of these first-time visitors will see and experience Costa Rica and base their opinions of this country on their first (and possibly last) visit to Puntarenas.
I know Costa Rica is cash strapped and there are many items on the financial agenda that are demanding money. I hope the powers to be consider making our two main sea ports more inviting to our visitors. Costa Rica is an incredibly beautiful country with so much to offer. We need to create a better first impression.
Playa Hermosa, Guanacaste