We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Drive or Fly Back to San Jose?

Which Santa Teresa hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
San Diego...
posts: 10
reviews: 3
Drive or Fly Back to San Jose?

I'm traveling for 11 days with my wife and two kids from SJO to Arenal, then to Santa Teresa. I am considering dropping our rental car in Tambor and flying back to SJO at the end of our trip rather than drive. Anyone know how long the drive is and if flying is the way to go?

Dallas, TX
posts: 293
reviews: 29
1. Re: Drive or Fly Back to San Jose?

The drive back to SJO was an outstanding part of our trip. The drive from Cobana to the ferry was "pot hole heaven" but once you get off the ferry in Puntarenas you will enjoy the trip. Just outside Puntarenas you will get on the "new road" and that highway is as nice as any road that you will travel in the United States. The signage is not the greatest to get on the "new highway" but once you're there it is a wonderful road.

Save the money that you would spend on the flight from Tambor. That flight would cost you over $300 plus the cost for luggage.

Santa Teresa to San Jose took us about 5 hours and that included the ferry - which we totally enjoyed.

Question: Where did you rent your vehicle? If you haven't already done that I can recommend a rental company that will save you a lot of money and you will have a dependable vehicle with GPS. We did the exact trip six weeks ago and stayed at Nayara in LaFortuna and Villas Hermosas in Santa Teresa.


San Diego...
posts: 10
reviews: 3
2. Re: Drive or Fly Back to San Jose?

Thanks. I havent rented a car yet... was looking at Budget. Did you also drive from Arenal to Santa Teresa in one shot? How was that?? We are staying at Leaves and Lizards in the Arenal area and then at Florblanca in Santa Teresa. Any tips or adivice is much appreciatted. Thanks.

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 3,527
3. Re: Drive or Fly Back to San Jose?

If you can do the flight you will not regret it as it will save you many hours on the road.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 39,884
4. Re: Drive or Fly Back to San Jose?

Dear San Diego...

The drive from Tambor with the ferry time...is about 3.5 hours..nice ferry ride...worth it if you have time...we drive a lot of people to Santa tereza...Mal Pais...Tambor...and we advice to drive since is such a nice kind of free boat tour...


Dallas, TX
posts: 293
reviews: 29
5. Re: Drive or Fly Back to San Jose?

I will once again tell you to blow off the airline and drive. It really is a great trip if you can schedule this to coinside with the ferry. Save the money!!!!!

The last company that I would rent a car in Costa Rica from Budget. Last year we had a miserable expericence with Budget and I will never use them again.

Contact Target Rental in San Jose. They will deliver a car to your hotel in San Jose at no cost and pick the car up anyplace that you want to meet them. Contact an individual by the name of Jorge and he will take care of you. We flew into San Jose and planned the first night at the Hampton. It was located less than a mile from the airport and it was a value hotel with a casino and restaurants right accross the parking lot.

I promise you that Target Rental will save you at least $200 and provide a clean dependable vehicle with a GPS. Last year when we rented a vehicle from Budget the tires had less rubber on them than a used condom. Sorry, but it is the truth.

We really enjoyed LaFortuna and the drive to that area from San Jose. From there we traveled to Santa Teresa and I recommend that you listen to Wefish for travel instructions She and Roadadvisor will really help you.

But again I will tell you to blow off the idea of the airplane. We did that last year but this year drove to San Jose. The ferry ride is really cool and please be certain that you have directions to get on the "new highway." It is really a beautiful drive and you will totally enjoy it. I promise.


appleton, wi
posts: 48
6. Re: Drive or Fly Back to San Jose?

Mahalo...We are driving from Lost Iguana to Santa Teresa and then from Santa Teresa to SAn Jose. Can you tell me how long you took you from Arenal to the ferry and what time did you take the ferry.

Did you enjoy yourself in Santa Teresa..this is the first time for us in this location.


Dallas, TX
posts: 293
reviews: 29
7. Re: Drive or Fly Back to San Jose?

The drive from LaFortuna to Puntarenas will take you approximately 3 1/2 hours. We arrived there just in time to take the ferry. You will have to check the ferry schedule but I think that it runs every two hours. Wefish or Roadadvisor will help you with that

We loved Santa Teresa. We were there a year ago and knew pretty much what to expect.

When we went in November it was just after the rainy season had ended. Unfortunately they had just experienced a significant storm and the main road from Cabano to Santa Teresa had a lot of damage with the bridge closed for a couple of days. The roads were absolutely terrible. When I posted the message that the roads were the worst on the planet that was not an overstatement.

We spent four days at arenal and five days at Santa Teresa. Without doubt the single most experience that we enjoyed was Sky Trek. We were fortunate enough to do that on a clear morning and the views were breathtaking. We took video, with and I-Phone, of the zip-line and show this to people every day. Santa Teresa is all about the beach and the Pacific Ocean. I still think that this is the most beautiful beach that we have ever be lucky enough to see. That includes 6 trips to Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Cancun and the Rivera Maya. You will really enjoy Santa Teresa, I promise

posts: 15
reviews: 24
8. Re: Drive or Fly Back to San Jose?

Just got back from CR, and would say the drive back is about as easy of a drive as you can get in CR. Pretty nice, and roads are in great shape along the new highway. Someone else suggested 3.5 hours, which is probably about right. the only other thing is, make sure you research directions to the airport from the highway in detail. don't assume you'll see signs that say: "Airport this way".

We were supposed to have a GPS with our car, and that somehow didn't work out. So luckily I had done some research on how to get where I needed to get. You'll probably get a GPS, but you never know!

Bon Voyage

boston, ma
posts: 84
reviews: 1
9. Re: Drive or Fly Back to San Jose?

Can't tell you much about the drive, however, wife kids and I have stayed at Leaves and Lizards the past 2 years and LOVE it - truely a unique experience and the BEST view of the volcano you'll get in the area. Tried again this year but all booked up. Enjoy!!

San Diego...
posts: 10
reviews: 3
10. Re: Drive or Fly Back to San Jose?

That's great to hear about Leaves & Lizards - that is where we are staying... really looking forward to it.