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First time to Costa Rica-Travelling from San Jose to...

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Toronto, Ontario
posts: 3
First time to Costa Rica-Travelling from San Jose to...

Hi everyone,

My boyfriend and I will be travelling from San Jose to Montezuma for 5 days and then to Mal Pais for 5 days. We are flying in from Canada and are arriving at 2PM. We are not planning on staying in San Jose overnight, but rather are planning on travelling to our destination that day.

I have looked at the Air Sansa and natureair flight timetables, and it appears as though we won't be able to fly into Tambor after 2pm (there are only morning flights). What would you suggest that we do-rent a car, or take the bus? Is there a website that offers bus schedules? How much does renting a car cost? Are the roads difficult to navigate without previous experience driving in Costa Rica? What would you imagine to be the quickest and most effective way to get there?

Are there any alternative ways for getting around or getting to our destination that you would suggest? I am very excited for our trip but also a little bit nervous about the travelling from place-to-place. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

San Francisco...
posts: 4,592
reviews: 101
1. Re: First time to Costa Rica-Travelling from San Jose to...

I wouldn't recomend trying to make the drive to Montezuma or Mal Pais that late in the afternoon. If your flight arrives at 2pm, you wont clear customs and get into your car rental until at least 3:30pm. It's about 5 hours driving to Mal Pais (including the ferry ride) and it gets dark at 6pm. You do not want to me driving at night as the roads are dark, potholed, and have other obsticles such as pedestrians, livestock, and stray dogs. Your best bet is to spend the night in Alajuela (where the airport is located) and heading out the next morning.

New England
posts: 177
2. Re: First time to Costa Rica-Travelling from San Jose to...

The trip from San Jose to Montezuma or Mal Pais is 5 to 7 hours long including the ferry ride. If you are not arriving until 2PM this puts you still on the road well after dark. The sun sets at 6PM more or less and night falls quickly. Making the trip at night, even if you have done it before, is not advisable. The advantage to the buses is that someone else is doing the driving (and their bus drivers are VERY good). I don't have a clue as to what the schedules might be, though, especially as they relate to the ferry. Since you have ten days on the coast you might consider spending the first night near San Jose and resting up to start early the next morning. If you rent a car it is a very pleasant ride and the scenery is beautiful (actually, it's beautiful even if you don't rent a car). The route is very straightforward: San Jose to Puntarenas (via San Ramon), the ferry to Paquera, Paquera to Cobano and then to Montezuma or Mal Pais (the road to both towns starts in Cobano). There is a road from Montezuma to Mal Pais, over the mountains, but it is not always passable. If you rent a car, a four wheel drive will be good to have for Montezuma and Mal Pais. The added ground clearance is helpful as the roads are very rocky and rutted. I have always rented cars from Thrifty and they work out to about $50 to $65 dollars per day after all the taxes and insurance are added in (depending on the season). You can also hire cab drivers who will make the trip. Just be sure to negotiate the fee in advance. They can get you to Puntarenas and there are cabs and buses on the dock in Paquera when the ferry puts in.

Oklahoma City, OK
posts: 400
reviews: 1
3. Re: First time to Costa Rica-Travelling from San Jose to...

I would check again on Sansa Air. Our flight from SJO to Tambor leaves at 4:30 p.m. That's specifically why we chose this flight, it still leaves us time to catch the Sansa flight. If you could catch that flight, it would put you way ahead of driving.

Toronto, Ontario
posts: 3
4. Re: First time to Costa Rica-Travelling from San Jose to...

I have checked the flights and for November 17th (when we are arriving) there is nothing, unfortunately.

I am thinking that we will probably have to take a shuttle there and fly back when we depart, although my preference would be to fly both ways.

costa rica
posts: 1
5. Re: First time to Costa Rica-Travelling from San Jose to...

Main things to considered.

1: the ferry to Naranjo gets packed, so you must spend one night in San Jose and relax. I was in mal pais recently and i rush to get on time to take the ferry across, bad luck there 20 other before me and i got there 1 hour before loading time.

I hope not but you will find yourself starring at the cheap colombian soup operas for hours or worse overnight at puntarenas town.

So, find a hotel with easy acces to the road that leads to Puntarenas, get on the line at the ferry at least 1 hour before and by the way, get you ticket when you get there which is about $7 us for you car and 1 driver.

I will not recommend you a car rental if you are plannig to crash on the beach but if you want to see things, you will better of.

If you take the bus: after getting in the country, get a taxi to the Puntarenas Bus station (make sure is an official airport taxi in orange color, otherwise you might get a nasty surprise with people offering taxi services and they are not official), the buses leave every hour and take very close to the naranjo's ferry. Remember NARANJO'S FEERY.

IF YOU RENTA CAR: Best choice if you are getting to know the country but more expensive.

Feel free to email with Q? to nativoscr@yahoo.com

New England
posts: 177
6. Re: First time to Costa Rica-Travelling from San Jose to...

If you are going to Montezuma/Mal Pais you need the ferry to Paquera. Most definitely NOT the ferry to Naranjo.

Oklahoma City, OK
posts: 400
reviews: 1
7. Re: First time to Costa Rica-Travelling from San Jose to...

Diva-

That stinks! I just looked...and sure enough, high season starts November 24th...we arrive on November 25th, so there is a 4:30 flight. I'm sorry, sure that must be frustrating.

Good luck! Since I'm going a couple of weeks after you, I'd love to hear your experiences in the area....we can't wait.

Sherie

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 1,313
reviews: 88
8. Re: First time to Costa Rica-Travelling from San Jose to...

We are thinking of driving from Montezuma to San Jose/ Alajuela and wonder if there are any good things we could see on our way there, special sidetrips that won't be too, too far off the route. We love nature, hiking, etc. Am I correct that you drive from Puntarenas to San Ramon then San Jose? Is there somewhere near the ferry that we can rent a car when we get to Puntarenas? Can we just do it when we get there? Is there a company there that you recommend? Thanks for the tips.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 1,313
reviews: 88
9. Re: First time to Costa Rica-Travelling from San Jose to...

Any thoughts on renting a car from Puntarenas to San Jose? I'd love to know if they're available there, and if there are recommended things to see along the way. Thanks!

chicago
posts: 2
10. Re: First time to Costa Rica-Travelling from San Jose to...

Well, here is what I think you should do. Since you can't leave that night, you should do what I am planning to do. Look at www.montexumaexpeditions.com. For $45 apiece, they will pick you up at the airport, take you to their nice-looking airconditioned hotel in Alajuela (way nicer although quieter than San Jose) and then drop you off at your hotel in Montzuma. It's the "Montezuma transfer package" and it's a hell of a deal!

neely

chicago, il