Driving to and around Arenal

Old Feb 25th, 2006, 08:59 PM
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Driving to and around Arenal

I am in the process of planning our transportation to Arenal from the San Jose airport. I am wondering if it is necessary to get 4-wheel drive for traveling to, and around Arenal. Thanks for the advice...

Bryan
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Old Feb 25th, 2006, 09:39 PM
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No, not necessary... but if you're inclined (as I am) to say "OH... this looks like an interesting road, let's try it!"... then yes.
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Old Feb 26th, 2006, 09:41 AM
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For this area, probably not. But in CR we always rent 4x4. I drive an SUV at home, my husband drives 4x4 truck, so we are both more comfortable and accustomed to this type vehicle. So for us it is probably due to the comfort level, higher clearance, and just in the event factors.
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Old Feb 27th, 2006, 05:39 PM
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My advice for renting a vehicle in Costa Rica is always the same : It's better to rent a 4x4 and not need it, than to need the 4x4 and not have it. If you want to drive, spend the extra few bucks and enjoy the peace of mind, as road conditions can vary greatly depending on the weather and what road you are on. That being said, the main roads from San Jose to Arenal shouldn't be TOO bad.
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 10:09 AM
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You will not have trouble on the paved roads between SJ and Arenal. However, the road to the volcano park is gravel with many deep potholes. If you are planning to visit the park you will want 4WD for that alone. Enjoy!
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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Is the road to the volcano park the same road that I will need to take to get to the SkyTram/SkyTrek, if I am coming from La Fortuna?
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 01:37 PM
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I just came back from CR, and made the drive from San Jose to Arenal via San Ramon...I would certainly take an SUV with 4X4....it is a very curvy, hilly road and I felt more comfortable in SUV than I would have in a regular sedan. We then drove from Arenal to Monteverde and also was glad I had it.

Only used it a couple of times because of some steep loose gravel roads but still worth it!
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 04:56 PM
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I cannot recommend enough a 4x4 for getting around Arenal. Especially the road to SkyTram/Arenal Park. It will eat your car alive. Horribly bumpy and potholed.
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 07:06 PM
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Curious how much you all ended up paying for the 4x4 rentals. They seem to be at least double the cost of a 2 wheel drive. Any recommendations are appreciated.

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Old Mar 4th, 2006, 06:00 PM
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I agree you can drive from SJ to ARenal without SUV but you will be hampered once you're there. We rented from Tricolor. Don't remember the price but they were great. We don't usually drive SUVs so that's not why I recommend it. One thing I would caution you though is to pack light since there is not much of a "trunk" in the SUV.
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Old Mar 4th, 2006, 07:28 PM
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I second Tricolor. We have had great luck with them, lowest prices we've found. Usually we rent something like the Suzuki Ignus, a small SUV. And Millie is right on--there is very little space luggage between the back seat and the rear door. Not a problem at all with only 2 people. If more, a larger SUV would probably be necessary.

Our cost for one week usually runs between $375 and $450, depending on time of year.
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Old Mar 4th, 2006, 07:30 PM
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I should add that the cost I quoted is always all inclusive. We make arrangements online ahead of time and show up with a confirmation letter, confirmation number, and all correspondence to avoid any confusion. www.tricolorcarrental.com
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Old Mar 28th, 2011, 05:36 PM
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I rented a 4X4 from San Jose to drive up to Arenal and then down to Pacific Coast. All I can say is I wouldn't want to have done it without it. The rounds leading up and around were filled with pot holes that easily could bottom out a standard car. Go for the 4X4.
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Old Mar 28th, 2011, 06:06 PM
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Why would you pullup a 5 year old thread to post this!!
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 09:13 AM
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Good question!

One possibility is to take a shuttle or private driver from the airport to the Arenal area and then rent a car for your time there.

Some people use 4x4's in that area..... some do not. Either will work. However, the small 4x4 SUV's are very popular because of ground clearance, etc.

And, yes, if you intend doing a little exploring, a 4x4 comes in handy -- not that you will get stuck and actually need the 4 wheel drive part, but just that they are a little higher off the ground and built a little more sturdy to cope with off-highway conditions.

If you can rent a sturdy SUV without 4x4, that would work, too.
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Old Mar 29th, 2011, 09:56 AM
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I think these people went on their trip five years ago.
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