These photos comprise just a little snapshot of the beach at Puntarenas…”Sand Point.” Our ship docked in a cargo port, Puerto Calderas, so the city provides free shuttle buses to the Tourist Walkway in Puntarenas, about a 20-minute bus ride. Along the way, the area looks about like most Caribbean islands, with small stores and beach vendors of all sorts. Once we started walking in Puntarenas, we must have passed at least 100 small kiosks the size of hot dog carts, most offering “Churchills.” But what is it? It sounded too sugary for us, but apparently every kiosk makes a Churchill in their own way. It is a concoction of shaved ice; cream or ice cream; fresh fruit such as strawberries, apples, grapes, and pineapple; and some add cola syrup. A man in the 1940s started to order it in various venues back in the 1940s, and locals thought he resembled Winston Churchill. Thus, an iconic local dessert was both created and named! You can see in the photo of one stand, If you don’t like it, you don’t pay. We also saw lots of stands offering vigoron, a local Nicaraguan and Costa Rican dish consisting of cabbage salad, hot chiles, boiled yucca, and fried pork rinds wrapped in a banana leaf.
It was very hot at the beach, about 95 degrees F, windy, and crowded. We wanted to try some robust Costa Rican coffee, but at the venue where we tried it, the coffee pretty much tasted like water. We liked the name of one small restaurant…Bum Bum Kiosk. We thought it funny that bathrooms were “for rent”….perhaps by the month?? We tried to get into our usual, ubiquitous tourist attraction….the local church, but even though it is Sunday, it was locked. So we only have a photo of the exterior. We end with artwork we saw along the way…a beautiful, proud bird, a quartet of statues outside the church, and a very well-endowed Costa Rican senorita. Enjoy!