Puntarenas offers the peace and rural beauty of a small beach town while at the same time affording easy access to the activities of the capital. During the nineteenth century it was Costa Rica’s major seaport, but Puerto Limón and Caldera (11 miles to the southeast) have assumed that role. Now primarily a tourist destination and transportation hub, it is a bustling town, particularly during the dry season months (November–April). During the wet months (May–October) it is hot with refreshing afternoon showers. The geography of the city is unique since it is located at the end of a sandy peninsula almost five miles long, but only 120 to 700 yards wide. Consequently, one is always close to the ocean, and there are many beaches from which to choose.
Puntarenas offers access to the Nicoya Peninsula on two ferries. Nicoya is best known for its pristine beaches and resorts, as well as for its native folklore. From Puntarenas, you can travel up and down the coast to world-class surfing beaches, nature reserves, and plantations. This central Pacific region offers something for every outdoor enthusiast. Students find buying a used bike upon arrival is the easiest form of transportation for getting around Puntarenas.
The Maastricht program is ideal for students interested in earning credit toward their degree while engaging in hands-on, student-led learning in an international setting. Regardless of the term you choose, your coursework will be supplemented with experiences such as field trips, museum visits, and seminars on locations. Since the majority of Dutch citizens are fluent in English (and extremely welcoming!), connecting with locals couldn’t be easier.
One of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, Maastricht boasts picturesque architecture, medieval city walls, cobblestone alleys and streets, seventeenth-century facades, and a Roman bridge. Maastricht is conveniently located in the heart of Europe, with major capitals such as Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, and London only a short train ride away. However, once you arrive in Maastricht, you may not want to leave—with a historic city centre; countless numbers of inviting sidewalk cafés, pubs, and restaurants; sports facilities; shops; and numerous film, music, and theatre venues, Maastricht has everything a student could wish for!