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Heading to puntarenas for vacation with 4 adults and 5 kids ages Any recommendations for beaches that have swimming and surfing? Puntarenas is a Province and Puntarenas is a town. Are you going to the Province or the town? How long will you be here -- what time of year -- what are you interested in doing -- what kind of lodging are you looking for -- what made you choose Puntarenas, etc.
We consider staying for 5 days in Puntarenas town Alternatively we can go to Jaco. Where is the better beach and more fun in the New Year eve? Frankly, neither one of them are all that nice. Puntarenas is a port town and commercial center and not that attractive.
Jaco is the second most popular destination for "escort services" and all that goes with it. Of the two, probably Jaco would be better -- but there are much better choices than either of these two.
I would consider going to Samara. It's a family-friendly town with a very nice beach and there will be a good time on New Year's Eve. Jaco is great if you are into hookers. As is Puntarenas a bit outside of town. Puntarenas really has nothing to offer to the average tourist. It's a commercial center with basically no to little tourist infrastructure. Given the many fantastic locations in Costa Rica , you've managed to pick two that are rather way down on a list of places to visit.
Out of all towns I have been to, only Limon on the Caribbean side is less appealing then Puntarenas. About Jaco , it is not as bad if you are using it only as your base to explore the southern part of Pacific. However, for this New Year you might be already late for getting any other accommodation in more favorable places. But I would try as hard as possible to find an alternative. As an advice, any town or village away from the coast will have better vibe then Puntarenas or Jaco, if with kids.