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Best route from Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo?

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Los Angeles...
posts: 4
Best route from Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo?

My husband and I are currently in Manuel Antonio and we'd like to make our way north to Tamarindo (and then on to Nicaragua). We have about five days to get to Tamarindo and we would like to head north up the Nicoya peninsula. We were going to take the ferry from Jaco and then head north from Montezuma, but We've heard that driving from there to Tamarindo is pretty much a no go at this time of year. Is the ferry from Puntarenas to Naranjo the best route? How hectic is it to get out to the coast from Naranjo (we would like to use buses, but aren't closed off to the idea of renting a car)? What are the best places to stop between Naranjo and Tamarindo? We'd love to get in some more beach time before heading to Granada.


Destination Expert
for Bermuda
posts: 2,836
reviews: 26
1. Re: Best route from Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo?


quite a long drive, but doable. do you have gps?

Los Angeles...
posts: 4
2. Re: Best route from Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo?

If we decided to rent a car we would have GPS yes.

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 44,925
reviews: 3
3. Re: Best route from Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo?

From Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo the best way by 34 then to Pana Am Hwy...then in Limonal to Nicoya by Amistad bridge...then to Santa Cruz and then take the road to Tamarindo...

Yes rent a car and hopefully a GPS it is a nice ride...about 5 hours total driving time...sorry I base my driving times on my experience driving around Costa Rica for the last 45 years...some times my driving times show more or less than some links...I think is just natural...


Grecia, Costa Rica
posts: 916
reviews: 15
4. Re: Best route from Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo?

As a reminder, and I am surprised none of the experts thought to mention this, you will be unable to take a rental car from Costa Rica into Nicaragua, so your option is to get to the border at Peñas Blancas and have a Nicaraguan rental waiting, or arrange for it at your Granada destination. The bus system http://www.ticabus.com/ingles.html is excellent and smooth, and you can pick the bus up in Liberia directly to Granada as another option. Granada is a very beautiful and interesting city, lots of excellent hotels of all price ranges as well.

Have a great trip.

Tamarindo, Costa...
posts: 61
reviews: 70
5. Re: Best route from Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo?

We rented a car from Alamo Car Rental in Costa Rica and then in Nicaragua, with arrangments made when we initiated the rental in CR. We went to the rental car agency on arrival in Peñas Blancas to return the CR car. They drove the car into the border area and provided a representaive to assist in getting through the border. They had another car waiting on the Nicaragua side, less than 100 ft from where we got out of the CR rental car. The transfer of car and luggage and the assistance with border paperwork went very smoothly - it was a great way to rent cars across the border.

FYI, we did have to pay an extra fee on the Nicaragua side as they had to have a driver bring a rental car from San Juan del Sur to the border as they did not have cars on the Nica side at Peñas Blancas.

Overall, I was quite impressed with how smooth the process was.

Manuel Antonio
Destination Expert
for Manuel Antonio National Park
posts: 2,171
6. Re: Best route from Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo?

Wow Pokey that is great info.....thanks!

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 44,925
reviews: 3
7. Re: Best route from Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo?

Thank you Pokey...that means you can almost keep the car with the same company at the two countries...that is great...I hope some people take a note and learn about...it is possible now days to almost drive across the border...different car same company!

Thank you once again!


8. Re: Best route from Manuel Antonio to Tamarindo?

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