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4WD necessary to Arenal

Old Jun 19th, 2003, 01:39 PM
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4WD necessary to Arenal

We need to rent an 8 person vehicle to go from SanJose to Arenal. Do we need 4WD? Should I rent a toyota minibus or a ford excursion (the minibus is much cheaper to rent.) Nancy Rutherford
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 07:45 PM
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For just San Jose to Arenal the minibus would be fine.
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Old Jun 28th, 2003, 05:48 PM
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A follow-up to Nancy's msg: most places in CR are accessable with a regular sedan if you just take it easy. The roads are rough, some are gravel and there are potholes. It rains a lot and there is a lot of truck traffic so maintainence is hard to keep up with. The distances are short as the crow flies but driving takes a lot longer that it does in the US. Plan accordingly and have lots of fun!
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Old Jun 29th, 2003, 07:13 AM
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Costa Rica has done a lot of paving in the last few years but driving a sedan to many areas of the country would still not be reasonable. There are still many places that do not have bridges over streams and yes, you do have to drive through them. It is not a good idea even during the dry season to try that in a sedan unless it was extrememly shallow (should you flood and stall your motor you could be stuck alone for some time). At the very least for driving on some of the unpaved roads you should have a car with a good clearance to the road with or without 4 wheel drive. During the rainy season even a 4x4 could have problems in some areas, parts of the Nicoya Peninsula for one (read some of Scotts warnings on that). Some of the unpaved roads are okay in a sedan but they take an awful beating and the car companies are not real happy when you return them with lots of gravel and rock dings.
For the area you are driving to, a 4x4 should not be necessary. It will be mostly paved and except for watching out for the ever present pot holes and speed traps you should do okay with the Toyota. If you have plenty of time you could go the scenic route through Sarchi (shop till you drop) and Zarcero (amazing topiary). If you just want to book it to Fortuna I would go through San Ramon.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2003, 02:54 PM
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We just drove this route a few days ago. San Jose to Arenal in minibus is just fine. However, if you want to go any further, like Monteverde, get a 4WD.You will need it.
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