Costa Rica // The Central Pacific and southern Nicoya //


The easiest way to get to Isla de Chira is from Puntarenas: a lancha leaves daily from the dock near the mercado at 1.30pm ($7.50; 2hr), and is met by a public bus, which can stop on request at La Amistad Lodge, 10km east; the lancha returns at 6am. You can also catch a ferry from Costa de Pájoros, 33km northwest of Puntarenas (daily 5.45am, 7.30am & 2.30pm; $7.50; 45min), reached by taking any bus heading towards Cañas and transferring in Chomes; the ferry returns at 7am, 12.30pm and 3.30pm.

Tours can be arranged through ACTUAR (t 2248-9470, w, whose overnight package ($122) includes accommodation at La Amistad Lodge with three delicious home-cooked meals, bike trips, a birdwatching tour and a boat ride through the mangroves, plus the ferry from Costa de Pájaros; they also offer a day-trip departing from San Pablo, southwest of the Río Tempisque Bridge ($62). ACTUAR can arrange direct transfers from Isla de Chira to the Refugio de Vida Silvestre Reserva Karen Mogensen on the southern Nicoya Peninsula.

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