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Driving to Montezuma from San Jose not using ferry?

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New Jersey
posts: 6
reviews: 1
Driving to Montezuma from San Jose not using ferry?

We will be arriving on 2/11 and our friends are considering not using the ferry. They plan on driving up and around to Motezuma. Do you recommend any particular route or roads? They don't want to take a chance on missing the ferry and waiting for the next one. How long would getting there from the airport in San Jose take?

Ramer, Alabama
posts: 467
reviews: 3
1. Re: Driving to Montezuma from San Jose not using ferry?

you might want to reconsider and take the ferry. Even if you have to wait for the next one, it will be quicker and you will avoid "the road from hell".

We took that route last June, it was quite an experience, but I don't know that I would do it again.

It is a very scenic drive, but it will take you on some very rocky, rough roads, the likes of which you probably have never seen. In places, you can only go 5-10 mph and you still fear that you might lose a wheel or break an axle.

If you do it, it will be an experience you will never forget. Definitely rent a 4WD SUV for the extra road clearance.

posts: 153
reviews: 2
2. Re: Driving to Montezuma from San Jose not using ferry?

I was planning on doing this drive also in a couple of weeks, although we would be coming from arenal observatory lodge and traveling around the lake. Hm...maybe we should reconsider and try the ferry instead? Anyone else have thoughts on the long drive vs. the ferry? Thanks!

Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Sarapiqui
posts: 3,765
reviews: 75
3. Re: Driving to Montezuma from San Jose not using ferry?

We did the ferry, and it was a lovely time. You sit back, relax, have an Imperial with the ocean breeze in your hair as you get a gorgeous view of the coastline of the mainland and the Nicoya Peninsula.

One caveat: For the ferry, to buy your ticket for the vehicle you'll need to take a number--you'll need to get a laminated card from one of the ferry employees walking around. They require that to make sure they don't sell tickets for more vehicles than can fit on the ferry. Once you have that ticket, you park your car in the line of cars and walk to the ticket office to buy the ticket for your vehicle and any additional passengers (who they'll force to leave your vehicle when you're driving it on board the actual ferry).

Just look out for some hustler kid who will give you a vehicle number and then ask for a $20 tip for ten seconds worth of work.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 40,355
4. Re: Driving to Montezuma from San Jose not using ferry?

If you really...really...really like to drive ...driving to Montezuma without the ferry is your dream come true!

Incredible long drive...bumpy, rocky road...perfect to destroy tyres or hit your oil panel...just perfect!

Only one route...drive from San Jose to Nicoya by the Amistad bridge...sorry...but once you get to the road to Nicoya from the bridge you have to make a left...and keep going for well over 3 hours...all the way to Paquera (ferry dock) and keep going to Montezuma...

From San Jose you can easily thing about 6 hours!

Good luck...you will need it!


Just buckle up and enjoy the ride in PARADISE!

New Jersey
posts: 6
reviews: 1
5. Re: Driving to Montezuma from San Jose not using ferry?

Thank you all for your replies. I will forward this to my friends, they are the ones with the past experience in CR. I really don't no how we would get there before dark if we are arriving at Santa Maria airport around 12:30 in the afternoon. By the time we get luggage and our vehicle, we may be on the road by 1:30? What time does the last ferry leave from Punteranos? And how long does it take to get there from the airport?

Ramer, Alabama
posts: 467
reviews: 3
6. Re: Driving to Montezuma from San Jose not using ferry?

why rush when you are on vacation? Do yourself a favor and spend the first night near the airport. Then you can have a leisurely drive to Puntarenas to catch the ferry or even make the drive you asked about. The drive from Alajuela to Puntarenas can also have traffic surprises. You will travel through some mountainous terrain on a narrow road and if there is an accident(very common) it will slow you down considerably.

On our last trip, the drive from Tambor to Alajuela took over 4 hours due to road work and a traffic accident in the highlands. It does not pay to be in a hurry in Costa Rica, it goes against the culture and can cause unnecessary stress, IMO!

7. Re: Driving to Montezuma from San Jose not using ferry?

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