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Getting to the JW Marriott Guanacaste from Liberia

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Sacramento, CA
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Getting to the JW Marriott Guanacaste from Liberia

Just got to the JW yesterday and it is my first time in Costa Rica so I thought I'd post for those people that are also coming for the first time.

BTW, used the nonstop Delta flight from LAX. If you can handle redeyes then you'll love the flight because it is fast. We actually got in about 20 minutes early, something like 6:30am.

It took no time to get through Immigration. There were around 5 agents there to help the flight out. We were the only flight to arrive at that time however I saw a Continental and other Delta plane on the tarmac.

Ten steps from immigration is the baggage carousel. It's the noisiest thing ever. Then another ten steps and your past customs and out in front.

We rented from Avis. If you are in a rush then this is a bad choice as they don't open til 8. There were plenty of legit taxis (the red ones) and guys holding their taxi signs when you walk out. Dollar, Alamo, National were already there to pick up people. Avis ended up coming by around 7ish. Wasn't bad.

It took a long time to get the car at Avis! Be prepared before you get there. Find out if you credit card covers your CDW insurance before arriving. Get the GPS from Avis. Not needed yet but it works and gives you that sense of comfort if you are a first time traveller here (like us). BTW, It's a Garmin Nuvi. Avis rented us a diesel Mitsubishi medium-sized SUV that is an automatic, whereas the website said manual.

Then we hit the road. We were kinda worried about the driving conditions but I was pleasantly surprised. The road from the airport (Avis is outside the airport on the main road) is smooth. Nothing abnormal from the US. It's a 2 lane drive all the way here.

We thought the biggest things to watch out for were the Tico's passing at anytime, the ditches instead of paved shoulders and people lining the road. The cars and trucks seem to drive much faster than the posted speed signs. For example, in front of the airport the sign clearly says the speed limit is 60km/h and we were easily being passed by cars going at lease 80.

They also pass one another frequently and with minimal views and passing time. Sometimes the road becomes 3 lanes. But never did we feel very unsafe on the road. It's just different. I also noticed that it wasn't just the Tico's doing the passing but also the other tourists! I think as we drive here a few times we'll start driving the same way. :)

Again we didn't find it unsafe to drive here just different.

There are road signs that direct you toward towns, so make sure you know which towns are along the way toward the hotel. We started by following the signs to Tamarindo. Then there were signs to Hacienda Pinilla. The Hacienda Pinilla signs WILL take you where you want to go. The GPS is pretty accurate. It only tried to take us on an old route once on the property. Once here, just follow the map given to you at the gate. Once at the gate it is still 5 minutes or so to the hotel.

Every was paved EXCEPT for about 3km. From the turn to Tamarindo to the turn for Hacienda Pinalla. The unpaved part is VERY bumpy like other posters say. And the ticos drive fast on this part too. No real pot hole issues until after the turn to Hacienda Pinilla. Then watch out, they'll eat your car. :)

It took us 1 hour and 15 minutes from Avis to the JW.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Playa Hermosa
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1. Re: Getting to the JW Marriott Guanacaste from Liberia

Welcome to driving in Costa Rica!

What you say is true, and also normal for here.

Just a few words of caution. Don't drive at night if you don't have to. If you do drive at night, most people drive in the center of the road and pull into there own lane when approaching oncoming traffic. The reason for that is because Tico's walk on the road at night, sometimes 2 or 3 abreast, and you won't see them until you're right on them. Also, 99% of the bicycles have no reflectors or lights on them.

So be very cautious when driving at night.

Washington, DC
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2. Re: Getting to the JW Marriott Guanacaste from Liberia

When you get a chance, please post a review of the JW restaurants. Also, did you eat anyhwere notable off of the hotel property?

Thanks.

Heneson@comcast.net

Sacramento, CA
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10 posts
7 reviews
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3. Re: Getting to the JW Marriott Guanacaste from Liberia

Hi heneson,

I'm posting about the JW on this link. Still here for a few more days if there are ?'s

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g309251-i8659-k247…

Charlotte, North...
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19 posts
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4. Re: Getting to the JW Marriott Guanacaste from Liberia

Thanks for the detail! I'm headed to the JW in April from Liberia airport and based on your review am leaning toward a regular rental car rather than a 4x4 SUV. For road conditions - did you ever feel like you NEEDED the SUV?

Sacramento, CA
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10 posts
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5. Re: Getting to the JW Marriott Guanacaste from Liberia

The roads are really bumpy off the main highways. So a SUV is way more comfortable. If it rains hard while you are there I think you might wish you had a SUV.

San Francisco
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174 posts
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6. Re: Getting to the JW Marriott Guanacaste from Liberia

We drove from to Liberia to JW as well. You don't need 4 wheel drive, but they have small SUVs that are probably better than a regular car. We loved our GPS...saved us from once looking at a map. Also, beware of speed traps. We were stopped on way back to airport. All about it in another post about ticket extortion.

Weeki Wachee Florida
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7. Re: Getting to the JW Marriott Guanacaste from Liberia

Hi, Eat at the Hotel Posado in Hacienda Pinilla. There is a cute nature trail with lots of birds at Hotel Posada.Great food and great prices. Don't forget to go to Lola's. Another good hike, at dusk,to see howlers is the horse trail by Playa Langosta ( a gorgeous beach) in Hacienda Pinilla. Have fun!

8. Re: Getting to the JW Marriott Guanacaste from Liberia

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