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SJO to La Fortuna (La Paz on the way? Enough time?)

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Dallas, Texas
posts: 10
reviews: 22
SJO to La Fortuna (La Paz on the way? Enough time?)

Hello All,

I've been to Costa Rica before, but my husband has not. I'm eager to show him how wonderful this place is.

We landing at SJO at 11:48 on 19 October 2012. We are scheduled to pick up our rental car at 13:00 and head towards La Fortuna (hopefully sooner if we can get through customs quickly, which wasn't a problem for me in the past).

I believe that we'll have five hours of daylight to get to La Fortuna (pitch black at 18:00). We'll be ready for lunch in the first half of the drive to La Fortuna, so I figured that we might stop at La Paz on the way for lunch and a visit. My question is if we stay there for two hours, will that be enough time? Is it worth it?

I'm guessing:

13:00-14:30, drive from SJO to La Paz

14:30-16:30, lunch and tour La Paz

16:30-18:00, drive from La Paz to La Fortuna

I'm also open to other suggestions of a stop to make along the way. Hubby isn't a coffee drinker (I LOVE the stuff), so I don't think he'd get excited about that. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!

7 replies to this topic
Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 4,747
reviews: 20
1. Re: SJO to La Fortuna (La Paz on the way? Enough time?)

The road around the backside of Poas volcano is not offically open after the earthquake and mudslides that damaged this beautiful corner of Costa Rica. a number of years ago. While others have successfully navigated this stretch of road from LaPaz to San Miguel, I would strongly suggest you not try during rainy season when the danger of mudslides increases exponentially. October is the rainiest month of the year in this part of Costa Rica. In addition The Springs Hotel in Arenal (LaPaz's sister hotel) notes on their website that the route from LaPaz around the backside of Poas is temporrily closed due to the earthquake.

Instead I'd just pick up the rental car, stop for a late lunch on the road to San Ramon and then hit Arenal sometime around 5-5:30 PM. That assumes you leave the rental lot at 1:30, stop for lunch for and the drive takes you 3 hours.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 38,856
2. Re: SJO to La Fortuna (La Paz on the way? Enough time?)

The Costa Rica DOT have that section of the road as NOT safe at all ...if you do it...which anybody can do it...you will be taking a risk...for you and others...and the insurance will not cover any accident since the road is not ceritified as a safe road...

Good advice as always by crfan...

Honestly even that I love Poas area...in your case is not worth it...I will take the car and drive to Arenal...check in at your hotel and maybe nice relax visit to some of the great hot springs...nice dinner and a good book or movie to finish a great day!

roadadvisor

Dallas, Texas
posts: 10
reviews: 22
3. Re: SJO to La Fortuna (La Paz on the way? Enough time?)

Thanks to both of you. I agree with your advice and will plan accordingly. We'll try to catch La Paz the next go around!

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
posts: 4,021
reviews: 81
4. Re: SJO to La Fortuna (La Paz on the way? Enough time?)

We just got back from a trip and did the road from La Fortuna to the La Paz area. It took about 2 hours and 15 minutes. The road looked brand new and was in great shape. I was wondering how it would be since I know the earthquake hit that area hard a few years ago. I wouldn't advise anyone else yay or nay, but we felt comfortable doing it. We went in sunny weather. I would be more concerned in rainy weather due to potential landslides. Our driver did say that the road has not been certified by the government.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 38,856
5. Re: SJO to La Fortuna (La Paz on the way? Enough time?)

You are WELCOME!

Good idea do not try that section of the road...some very irresponsable drivers will take a chance...that is not nice at all...they basically are playing with your life...and even worse you pay for that...incredible!

roadadvisor

New York, NY
posts: 18
reviews: 1
6. Re: SJO to La Fortuna (La Paz on the way? Enough time?)

Just read this post in my research and I'm confused. We planned to drive from finca rosa blanca North on 126 to La Paz waterfall and gardens spend night at Peace Lodge then continue North west to Arenal. Is this not possible?? I don't understand which road is closed

Baton Rouge...
posts: 361
reviews: 50
7. Re: SJO to La Fortuna (La Paz on the way? Enough time?)

pmd- we took the road twice in mid-late February, both times coming from Sarapiqui or San Miguel towards La Paz, then to Varablanca. You will have no problem at all on the road. There is still a bit of gutter work being done, but it is brand new pretty much from San Miguel to La Paz. The section from La Paz to Varablanca is rough in spots since it has not been rebuilt, but it's not a problem. The posts you are reading are five months old, so a lot of work has been completed since then.

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