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bernice_nyc Sep 8th, 2005 09:00 AM

Airport to Lost Iguana (Arenal) - private transfer or rental car?
Our trip is set and we leave for Costa Rica in December. We will be arriving at airport at 1:45 pm and will be staying at Lost Iguana in Arenal that evening. We have been planning to rent a car and do the drive ourselves but are now having second thoughts. If our flight is delayed -- and we do have a connection -- and/or if it takes us a while to clear customs, rent the car and set out, I assume we would be making much of the drive in the dark. My husband is a good, experienced driver but after reading all the reports of this drive, I'm not sure I want to do it. The alternative would be to hire a driver and then take taxi next morning to La Fortuna and rent a car there. We feel we will need a car for the activities we have planned (hiking in national park, Sky Trek/Sky Tram, Eco Termales) and for the drive back to San Jose. We are very much looking forward to our stay at Lost Iguana and will enjoy the seclusion, atmosphere, etc. I would appreciate anyone's help in estimating the cost of driver and taxi and your opinions about the choice. Thank you!

worldtraveler25 Sep 8th, 2005 10:34 AM

Wow 1:45 is tough call..most, if not all, rental car places are out of airport and will take you at least 20-30 min to get your own car..I would assume it would take about 4 hours for you to drive..May be best for you to lengthen your stay one more day to accomodate your will see much more countryside during the days..and safer to drive. If you have to drive, last 1-1 1/2 hour to lost iguana is not too bad..just turn left in la fortuna and you wont get lost. I would definitely recommend getting GPS handheld( like garmin ique, which I used. I bought used one for 200 in ebay, and planning to sell it) kinda shaky map from carribean mapping project but you wont be lost with GPS and common logic.

Have a Great time!!

bernice_nyc Sep 8th, 2005 12:06 PM

Thank you WorldTraveler25. I don't think we're willing to invest in a GPS. At the moment, I'm pricing driver + car rental vs. car rental the whole way. I got a quote from of $125 from airport to Lost Iguana. That seems about average given the hotel's location. Their car rental rates seemed pretty good as well. A Toyota Rav 4x4 for $70/day (insurance included), a Daihatsu Terios 4WD for $54/day, and a Montero Nativa 4x4 for $89/day. Does anyone have advice on specific car models?
Thank you one and all!

wanatrvl Sep 8th, 2005 12:24 PM

bernice, check with the owner of Lost Iguana. Her name is Elaine. She told us that they were offering a service where they will have a driver pick you up at the airport and drive you to the resort. Then if you want a rental car, they will arrange one for you to pick up in La fortuna and drop off where it is convenient for you. She said the cost would be comparable to renting the first day at the airport. Worth checking into.

bernice_nyc Sep 8th, 2005 12:35 PM

wanatrvl - Great tip - Thank you! I'll e-mail Elaine immediately and post the details of her reply in case anyone else is interested.

shillmac Sep 10th, 2005 09:56 AM

The drive is about 2.5 hours to La Fortuna and another few minutes to the Arenal area. Haven't been to Lost Iguana, so don't know precisely about time it would take to get there, but I think it is off the road a few minutes?

As for renting a car, it is the only way we go. We have had great luck with Tricolor regarding prices. You should be able to rent a small SUV, such as a Dihatsu Terios or Suzuki Ignus for about $350 for the week--total. You might want to check it out if you decide to go that route. I've never found another company that could beat their prices.

If you could be on the road by 4:00 (and hopefully earlier), you would be able to be ALMOST there (within an hour) by dark. We would do it, but we have driven that road a few times. It isn't a bad road at all. It's just that there are no shoulders, part of it is through cloud forest, and animals and people tend to be on it! It just requires care. The road itself isn't bad. It isn't like you are speeding along and all of a sudden there is horse in the road. You won't ever be driving very fast. Usually around 40 mph. The road is well marked with Volcano signs. Good luck--and have a great time!

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