Driver for part of trip & car rental ?

Old May 24th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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Driver for part of trip & car rental ?

We have a driver for our June trip to take our family of 5 from San Jose area to M.A. then M.A. to Arenal. We are thinking of picking up a rental SUV in La Fortuna to have for our 4 days in Arenal, drive back to Alajeula, and see the La Paz area on our last full day in Costa Rica. I think that way we can familiarize ourselves with C.R. alittle before doing any driving ourselves and I hear you don't really need a car in M.A. Does that sound like a good idea?
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Old May 24th, 2007, 12:52 PM
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Sure! I would actually just rent the car in MA, and drive to Arenal from MA. My wife and I did the same exact thing a few years back - private driver to MA, car renatl to drive from MA to Arenal, drop car off in Alajeula.

It was the first tome either of us had driven in a foreign country, and we LOVED it. It's a BEAUTIFUL drive, and not nearly as difficult as some make it out to be...that includes the road conditions.

Oh, and one more thing...we made the drive the day after the biggest earthquake to hit the Costa Rica in 15 years or so...epicenter of which was less that 5 miles from where we stayed, so I'm betting the roads were a bit worse that day!
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Old May 24th, 2007, 01:25 PM
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I would rent in San Jose and drive your whole trip, IMO. Just depends on your comfort level. I too, didn't find the drive to MA difficult at all. Just bumpy in spots. I thought having a car in MA was very helpful going to different restaurants and to the beach, park, etc. It gives you a lot more flexibility.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 09:38 PM
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Would we need to worry about our suitcases being in the car when we stop to do some sightseeing on our drive? I thought having a driver who could show us around and watch our stuff would be a better way to go. What are your thoughts on this?
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Old May 24th, 2007, 09:40 PM
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You literally can't afford to leave your vehicle with stuff in it while you are sightseeing. You'll either need to take turns "babysitting" the car, or make arrangements for a driver. It's so unfortunate, but reality. We all just have to be careful; there have been a LOT of horror stories, and it's just not worth it!
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Old May 25th, 2007, 01:52 AM
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One thing that a lot of people don't seem to think about is that it's just a lot more fun to have a driver. Luis Chinchilla has driven me for quite a while now, and he's not only a great driver, but a barrel of fun. [email protected]

By the way, in reference to a previous post, I go to CR a couple of times a year, and I've got four cats.

Carol
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Old May 25th, 2007, 04:56 AM
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We love having a private driver. There are all types of drivers. Some just drive and point out things along the way. Others just drive. Ours is also a naturalist guide with spotting scope and night vision goggles and a love of nature who will gladly keep his eyes out for birds and animals for you. It is not unusual for him to just stop in the middle of the road if he sees something exciting. He is fully licensed and has worked in the business for some big tour companies for several years before going out on his own.

I guess Fodor's doesn't mind drivers coming on here so I might suggest that he start contributing as well. [email protected]

We have driven and will be driving on our own when we get our own car down there but it has been so much fun going out with Orlando that we just really prefer it. We will probably continue to use him for short trips even when we are living down there. He has shown us so much that we would never have seen on our own.

Kimmarinelli, that sounds like a great idea but do head the warnings about leaving things in your car.
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Old May 25th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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Thank you for all your advice! I think we will stick to our plan of having our driver, Wilson, drive us the first leg of our trip, and having a rental the last leg. That way we can experience both!
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Old May 25th, 2007, 09:40 AM
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Sounds like a good plan. Have a great trip!
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Old May 26th, 2007, 03:33 AM
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In the event that I have erroneously perceived sarcasm in the reply to my post, please forgive me. Should my interpretation have been correct, I have two comments:
1. I am not a driver or other tourist professional.

2. I believe that I am as free as others to make recommendations.

Carol
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Old May 26th, 2007, 09:40 AM
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There was no sarcasm on my part. Just noting that Luis has been able to give some good advice and that our driver might enjoy doing it as well. I just never thought, nor did he (Orlando) think that it would be okay with the rules but it appears to be. I don't see why you would take offense at my suggesting that my driver do the same as yours.

It is really important to me, and has been for many many years on various boards, to be able to give unbiased honest opinions on places I have been and that people understand that because I do recommend Orlando frequently. Periodicaly I do mention that. Leo Rodriquez, from all reports, is an excellent driver as well, he might enjoy sharing his knowledge too. There is everything to gain for the travelers and nothing to loose by them all helping out.

For the record, I have been traveling to CR for many years. I have dogs, a cat, birds, I have had a hedgehog, Iguanas, fish, chameleon, gerbil, a snake, frogs, a horse and there is always room for one more. Since 1978 my home has been the place people go on the holidays to be with family when they don't have one of their own. It started because my husband was in the military and we didn't have family either. It frequently looks like a United Nations meeting in my home. I ran the Cub Scout program in the town I used to live in and I was in charge of the Boy Scout camping including having to spend several weeks every year in a tent at the camp. At the same time I volunteered in two of the LD classes in the elementary school several days a week. When my children moved out, 3 University students moved in.

Sometimes I don't always sound as nice as I could but it isn't because I don't have a huge heart.
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