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Drive from Manuel Antonio to Arenal in one day?

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Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
2 posts
18 reviews
Drive from Manuel Antonio to Arenal in one day?

We are debating starting our trip at Manuel Antonio for a few days relaxation at the beach then going to Arenal for a few days. Is this too long a drive in one day?

An alternative was to go to Samara then Arenal.

We fly in and out of San Jose and arrive very early on a Sunday morning and plan to drive out of town that day (and to drink a lot of coffee en route)


Destination Expert
for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
Level Contributor
5,467 posts
153 reviews
1. Re: Drive from Manuel Antonio to Arenal in one day?

No, not too long. We did it in about 5 hours. That included time to stop at the Rio Tarcoles bridge to see the huge crocs down below. MA park is closed on Mondays so just a heads up when you're scheduling things.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
45,028 posts
30 reviews
2. Re: Drive from Manuel Antonio to Arenal in one day?

It is a nice ride...I do it at least 2 times a week...without to much or long stops...no more than 4.5 hours...great road all the way...you can do it by Esparza way or Palmares way...both will get you to San Ramon...then to La Fortuna...

From Samara you can drive back to Nicoya...Amistad Bridge...Cañas...Tilaran...Nuevo Arenal...road around the lake...Tabacon..La Fortuna...at least 5 hours...of course depending on vehicle and traffic....get a GPS if possible.


3. Re: Drive from Manuel Antonio to Arenal in one day?

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