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Driving ourselves for excursions

Colorado Springs
posts: 190
reviews: 16
Driving ourselves for excursions

Hello, My wife and I are going to the Allegro Papagayo in October, this will be our first time in Costa Rica. We are renting a car and was wondering how hard is it to find the local attracitons. We are looking to go the some hot springs and mud baths, Try surfing, and go to Coco for some shopping. Is there a good maps for these things in particular or are the roads marked for easy navigation? Looking to spend some time outside of the resort but don't want to spend the whole vacation lost. Thanks

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 6,047
reviews: 22
1. Re: Driving ourselves for excursions

1. Rent a GPS. It won't have all the local roads on it but will have many of them and make driving and wayfinding a lot easier.

2. Buy a good map of Costa Rica before you get there. I like the Toucan map of Costa Rica which we bought on Amazon. Our GPS died on the last trip adn we would have been dead in the water without a good map.

3. Singage is a lot better than it used to be but it's still nothing to write home about. Ask your concierge to mark the route on your map before you head out and just be prepared to stop and ask for directions. most everyone will be glad to help out.

4. For hot springs, mud baths and more adventure check out Hacienda Guachipelin near Rincon de la Vieja at http://www.guachipelin.com/

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 122
reviews: 36
2. Re: Driving ourselves for excursions

As said from crfan, rent a GPS from the rental company you won't regret it! You can input all of the attractions you want to go to, you should be fine.

Also a good idea to have a actual map, in case.

Enjoy the your trip

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 44,918
3. Re: Driving ourselves for excursions

Witha GPS...you will find places very easy...chck...Hotel HAcienda Guachiplein by Rincon de la Vieja Volcano...very much what you are looking for an about 2 hours from most areas in Papagayo...good road all the way!


posts: 132
4. Re: Driving ourselves for excursions

It's not too hard. The major attractions will have signage. GPS is a good idea and try to get a map ahead of time if you can as finding one here sometimes (esp in high season) is difficult. Go on the attraction web sites and you'll usually find driving directions and/or maps there too.

Remember that getting lost is sometimes the best part of the adventure!

Colorado Springs
posts: 190
reviews: 16
5. Re: Driving ourselves for excursions

Thank you all, we have a Tom Tom GPS and i think i can download a map of Costa Rica. The thought of a GPS did not occur to me. XplorCR you're right about the getting lost, i have seen way more of the Yucatan Pennensula than i originally planned but that was half the fun.

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 44,918
6. Re: Driving ourselves for excursions

If you have a problem with your Tom Tom...you can buy a use GARMIN and try the mapping by NAVSAT.


Winnipeg, Canada
posts: 69
reviews: 11
7. Re: Driving ourselves for excursions

How safe is it to tour/drive on your own? We did not feel safe driving on our own in st. lucia. People were always yelling for rides, trying to jump in car or accosting you at viewing stops.

La Fortuna de San...
Destination Expert
for La Fortuna de San Carlos
posts: 1,200
reviews: 7
8. Re: Driving ourselves for excursions

It is nothing like that here. You will be safe. Nobody will bother you after you wade through the initial pool of taxi drivers at the airport. The only concern is not to leave valuables in your car when parked.

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 44,918
9. Re: Driving ourselves for excursions

Just common sense...driving in Costa Rica is fun ...a lot of fun!


Annapolis, Maryland
posts: 10
reviews: 2
10. Re: Driving ourselves for excursions

My husband and I did a self-drive trip from San Jose to Arenal to Monteverde to Manuel Antonio and back in a week and had an absolute blast. Definitely get a 4-wheel drive and the GPS is a must. Just keep in mind that a lot of driving up in the mountains is on dirt roads with no guardrails or precarious roads that wash out frequently. Don't drive at night since the road conditions are extremely unpredictable and lots of heavy fog. And, if the estimated driving time is 4-5 hours to get somewhere -- believe it! The only safety issues we ever faced were roads washing out in downpours, but that was during the rainy season. The only real "rip-off" attempt we encountered was a guy in a small village on the way up to Monteverde who had turned a directional sign around so you couldn't see it and was trying to sell tourist hand written maps up to the Cloud Forest for $10. All in all, quite an adventure!