The small town of Palmar is a service center for the banana plantations of the Valle de Diquis and a major crossroads at the junction of the highways to/from Dominical  and the Central Pacific  coast (north), Golfito  and the Osa Peninsula  (south), and San Isidro  and Valle de El General  (east).
The town is divided into Palmar Norte and Palmar Sur by the Río Térraba. Palmar Norte is the main center, but there is nothing here of tourist appeal. Palmar Sur, southwest of the bridge over the river, displays pre-Columbian granite spheres in the plaza alongside a venerable steam locomotive that once hauled bananas. They’re now preserved in the Parque Temático y Museo de las Esferas de Piedra (The Stone Sphere Museum & Theme Park, tel. 506/2786-7433, open daily year-round, free).
The little town got street signs in 2010. However, instead of beginning at a logical Calle 1, they begin at Calle 143!
Cabinas Ticos Alemán (Calle 147, tel. 506/2786-6232, $18 s/d, $25 pp with a/c and TV), on the Pan-American Highway, has 25 basic but well-lit motel-style rooms with private bath; some have a/c, TV, and hot water, while others have cold water only. It has secure parking.
Hotel y Cabinas Casa Amarilla (tel. 506/2786-6251, $10 pp shared bath, $18 s, $25 d private bath), on the west side of the town plaza, has 19 clean but basic rooms in an old wooden home, with shared bath and cold water only. The 16 slightly better rooms in a modern motel-style unit to the rear have private bath with cold water only. There’s a TV in the lounge.
The nicest place in town is Brunka Lodge (Calle 149, Avenidas 9/11, tel. 506/2786-7489, www.brunkalodge.com , $35 s, $46 d). It has nicely furnished, well-lit rooms with modern bathrooms, cable TV, refrigerator, and WiFi. There’s secure parking. Across the street, the open-air Restaurante Diquis is the nicest eatery in town and has a bakery.
SANSA and Nature Air both fly daily to Palmar.
Tracopa buses (tel. 506/2223-7685, 6 hours, $8) depart San José  for Palmar from Calle 5, Avenidas 18/20, at 5 A.M., 7 A.M., 8:30 A.M., 10 A.M., 1 P.M., 2:30 P.M., and 6:30 P.M. daily (five hours, $5). Return buses depart Palmar Norte at 4:30 A.M., 7:30 A.M., 8 A.M., 11:30 A.M., 1:30 P.M., and 4:30 P.M. daily.
Buses for Sierpe  leave from Supermercado Térraba in Palmar five times daily ($1).