May we introduce you to one of the least visited places in the hemisphere? "Tranquilo, lindo, sencillo y Pura Vida."
- A Day Trip on your way to the Guanacaste beaches?
- 2 Nights before heading up to Monteverde or Rincon de la Vieja?
When asked to describe Chira, the people of the island communities explain how it is tranquilo (calm/peaceful), lindo (beautiful), sencillo (simple), pura vida. The largest island in the Gulf of Nicoya (43 sq km) with six primary communities, one main road, one bus and one truck used for island deliveries. No crime. No police force.
Isla de Chira is named after an indigenous chief or “cacique” and many, many years ago became a safe haven from tribal wars.
Located only one hour from Puntarenas and twenty minutes from Costo de Pajaros, Isla de Chira or Chira Island is said to have the most intact biodiversity of tropical dry forest flora in Costa Rica.
Not yet influenced by conventional tourism, Isla de Chira is a great example of ecotourism and of a beautiful unexplored Costa Rican community.
How can you get involved? Simply GO THERE!
Challenges of the Chira Islanders
The communities on the island face a number of difficulties while, as a community, they remain committed to a sustainable livelihood. The primary occupations on the island:
- Tourism and Crafts
Though the vast majority, over 90%, are fishermen and women. Artisan fishing tours, with line/hook or simple nets, are available for adventurous travelers looking to bring home dinner or just experience a simple life!
A trip here will prove worthwhile, as visitors have the opportunity to participate in an authentic cultural experience, learning about the surrounding wildlife, as well as island history. Isla de Chira offers a unique experience for travelers who want to hear local stories, spend time in nature, and see (and help with) environmental preservation efforts first hand.
Chira can be reached by regular boats from Puntarenas or Puerto Morena. And, yes, you can stay on Chira for a night or two or longer at an impeccably maintained rustic lodge or with a local family … experiencing something no other visitor to Costa Rica can.
How can you help? Simply GO THERE!
Your base on Chira - perhaps the Posada Rural La Amistad?
The Lodge has six private cabin rooms and a hostel. With the help of the UN, the Amistad Lodge was built under a program to protect natural resources around the world. There are about 30 or 40 such projects around Costa Rica - the most well known is Nacientes Palmichal about 90 minutes from San Jose. At the Amistad lodge you will be welcomed by the women's association of Chira who have organized in an effort to bring tourism to the island. At the lodge you will find impeccably spotless rooms (including 2 private accommodations sleeping 2 each) and on-site knowledgeable hosts.
In order to book a trip to Isla de Chira, contact the following accommodations. From there, they will help coordinate transportation, meals, and activities during your stay.
Posada Rural La Amistad
Amistad photos here
Phone: +506 2661-3261
Mobile Phone: +506 8331-5754
Other locations you can stay include:
Hotel Las Vegas
Las Vegas photos here
Phone: +506 2661-1821
Cabinas y Restaurante Jireth
Jireth photos here
Phone: +506 2661-1195
- By sea through mangrove estuaries, on an artisan fishing tour, or on day trips to nearby islands Isla Yuca, Isla Paloma or most famous, Isla Tortuga.
- By bike to spend an afternoon at beautiful Playa Muerto, to travel to Las Artesanas (“The Artisans”) workshop for classes, or past sprawling country farms.
- By foot on local trails to see the tropical dry rain forest plant life and to island high points to view breathtaking sunsets over the gulf.
After a day in the sun, be sure to enjoy a nacional beer and the freshest seafood you could possible have in Costa Rica, caught (or cultivated) that day at Chira Fish or El Camaron restaurants. More than a slogan on a t-shirt, the life here in Chira truly is pura vida!
Do you want to sit on a beach with a Mai Tai or experience the reality of a remote fishing island?
Some ideas but once you get here talk to your hosts about what you'd like to do and see:
- Mangrove and Crocodile Boat Tour
- Artisan Fishing Tour with ASOPECUPACHI
- Tour with the Association of Fisherman in Playa Montero
- Isla de Chira Town Tour
- Artisan Classes with Las Artesanas
- Tour to Isla Yuca
- Tour to Isla Paloma, “a bird sanctuary”
- Tour to Isla Tortuga
- Oyster Cultivation Tour with ASOPECUPACHI
- Bike Rental
- Island Bike Tour
- Local Farm Tour
- Stand up paddle boarding classes and tours
- Hike with guide to Isla de Chira Palito water tank
- Hike to Isla de Chira Palito water tank
- Visit Playa Muerto
- Visit Playa Montero
Let your contact know ahead if you do not speak Spanish. But how can I GET THERE?
The Rural Tourism Association of Costa Rica can help you get there
If you can plan ahead contact ACTUAR - the Association of Rural Tourism for Costa Rica. Contact by email: ACTUAR INFORMATION Or Phone (Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm): + (506) 2290-7514 or on the WEB at: ACTUAR Costa Rica
How can you help? Simply GO THERE!
or try it yourself by bus or by rentacar
From San Jose – Puntarenas – Isla de Chira (*easiest route*) – Take the direct bus (or drive) from San Jose to Puntarenas (approximately $5). In Puntarenas, take the public boat (approximately $6) near Mercado Municipal de Puntarenas (Calle 2A/Avenida 5). The public boat that departs from Puntarenas at 12:30 p.m. each day, except Sunday, when it departs at 7 a.m. Once arriving in Isla de Chira, take the public bus (approximately $2) that will be waiting direct to your accommodation.
No idea how to start this rural adventure then contact the Pura Vida Hotel directly and we will assist. How can you get involved? Simply GO THERE!
This web page could not have happened without the efforts of two pioneering volunteers from the Peace Corps now stationed on the island - thank you so much Tory Paez and Dan Edelbeck - email them if you'd like to talk to them directly about their experiences on the Isla de Chira.