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-   -   drive or get transfers? (https://www.fodors.com/community/mexico-and-central-america/drive-or-get-transfers-294760/)

rockytop Mar 5th, 2003 06:43 PM

drive or get transfers?
 
Going to Costa Rica in early May for my honeymoon and am trying to decide whether we should rent a 4x4 or use transfers. I've heard both extremes - that driving is not too difficult and that driving is a nightmare. Can anyone offers any suggestions? We'll be largely in the arenal/monteverde/MA area. Thanks.

dncee11 Mar 5th, 2003 09:27 PM

Driving in CR is not really that bad, its just different from the US. The roads are more narrow, there are many potholes, more 2-laners, etc. Distances are short (its a small country) but it takes longer to drive them. If you are only going to stay for a week in just 1 or 2 different places, a car is not really necessary. If you want to stay longer and explore, by all means, rent a car. Some will tell you that 4WD is necessary, I did not find it so. Good luck, you'll have fun no matter what you choose!

JeanH Mar 6th, 2003 05:06 AM

Driving between Arenal and Monteverde is an experience in itself. I've never seen a road so bumpy as the one from Tilaran into Santa Elena. Huge potholes, but to make things worse, also huge rocks embedded in the road. It took us 2 1/2 hours to drive about 24 kilometers. Never got out of second gear. But, it was fun! Sun was shining, scenery was awesome, it was beautiful. Other than that road, the others are just narrow, have some potholes and lots of curves. Whether to drive or not, depends on whether you would enjoy the 'adventure'. I'd also recommend 4x4, just for the extra clearance one would afford.<BR>

JKP Mar 8th, 2003 06:13 PM

When we are on vacation, driving in an unfamiliar area seems to be 80% of the stress. Add to that the rock filled unpaved road to Monteverde and you have all the makings of your first marital fight. Seriously, the road to Monteverde was one of my favorite rides, but I would guess that I can only say that because we weren't driving. The scenery is beautiful and the roads difficult, so why drive yourself? From what I understand, the expense of the car rental will be close to that of hiring a driver or booking a tour. I would definitely choose to be a passenger and enjoy the scenery!

Suzie2 Mar 9th, 2003 06:24 AM

Having done both I prefer other options. It is fairly inexpensive to take the Jeep-boat-Jeep across Lake Arenal and up through the mountains. There is also a beautiful horse transfer through the mountains. Either one of the above actually take less time than the road through Tilaran and the scenery is just beautiful.<BR>Except for the road to Monteverde, driving isn't too bad once you are out of the cities. You need to go slow to watch for pot holes. The street signs are not good and for the most part non existent. There are lots of speed traps. You don't want to leave anything in your car while sight seeing. I prefer to be with a guide/driver so I can feel free to get out and look at what I want to and not have to worry about if my stuff is still there when I get back.

sandyd Mar 16th, 2003 03:16 PM

We just got back from CR today. We went to Arenal, Monteverde, and San Jose (yes...San Jose is as bad as everyone says, but we were there for the orchid show which was terrific). We did the entire trip with drivers the whole way. Definitely worth it! They were knowledgeable and very helpful!They are very easy to arrange thru your hotel or your travel company. Our initial driver from the airport to Arenal was arranged by arenal.net.


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