Costa Rica timing the day of arrival.

Old Nov 20th, 2012, 06:59 PM
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Costa Rica timing the day of arrival.

Most of the published itineraries for CR include an overnight in San Jose on the day of arrival. If I can get a flight that arrives around 1 or 2pm, is there enough time to get through customs, pickup the rental car, and drive to the hotel in La Fortuna/Arenal by nightfall? I'd really like not to spend an extra night in San Jose if I can help it but I don't want to be stupid either since it's my first time there. What do you think?
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Old Nov 20th, 2012, 07:17 PM
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It takes around 2.5-3 hours to get to Arenal from the airport. It gets dark about 5:30 p.m. Another concern is that sections of the road to La Fortuna can get foggy in the afternoon, and those sections are twisting and turning. Personally, I wouldn't set out that late in the day unless someone else who knows the route well were doing the driving.
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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 03:12 AM
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It's possible that you could make it, but also possible you could get stuck driving in the dark. We've had customs/immigration take as little as ten minutes and as long as three hours when several planes landed at once. You could have a private driver take you to La Fortuna and then pick up a rental car once you're in town if you want to play it safe.
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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 04:35 AM
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Agree w/ all the above. If you want a very nice hotel about 20 minutes north of the airpot on the way towards Arenal, you could look at Vista del Valle Plantation Inn. Lovely spot to decompress on a first night.
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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 06:31 AM
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Agree with above--in that case, either stay the night between the airport and Arenal (Vista del Valle, Xandari for a splurge, Orquideas Inn for a nice place with great value) or have a private driver take you straight there from the airport.

Too many things that can go wrong to try to drive out the first day (delays in flight, baggage claim, immigration, customs, picking up rental car, getting oriented/lost, road construction, fog or rain).
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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 06:32 AM
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I'll also add that TACA/LACSA/Avianca have flights that arrive between 9:00 and 10:0 am, if you live near an airport in the US they use.
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Old Nov 21st, 2012, 08:15 AM
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Great feedback from everyone! Thanks!
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