Getting Here and Around

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Getting Here and Around

Highway 27 connects San José to the Pacific port of Caldera, near Puntarenas. The 77-km (46-mile) tollway varies from four to three to two lanes, but eliminates the former tortuous, winding drive through the mountains, and puts the coast just one hour from the capital. Costa Ricans, who never refer to route numbers, call the modern road the Carretera a Caldera (Caldera Highway). Before the coast, an exit to the two-lane coastal highway, or Costanera, leads southeast to Tárcoles, Herradura, Jacó, Hermosa, Bejuco, and Quepos. It is well marked and paved. An asphalt road winds its way over the hill between Quepos and Manuel Antonio National Park—plan on about 1½ hours to drive to Jacó and 2½ to Quepos. If you're headed to the southern Nicoya peninsula (Curú, Tambor, Montezuma, Malpaís, or Santa Teresa), the ferry ride from Puntarenas to Paquera across the Gulf of Nicoya has great views of the mountainous coast and the islands. Public buses to and within this entire region are timely and economical, but if you prefer an air-conditioned ride, shuttles leave from San José and can drop you off at your hotel's doorstep.

The 20-minute flight between San José and Quepos, on Nature Air or SANSA, can save you the three-hour drive or bus trip. Flights from San José to Tambor, on Nature Air or SANSA, take 30 minutes—a fraction of the time it takes to drive to Puntarenas and ferry over, and from here it's a reasonable taxi trip to Montezuma and Malpaís.

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