How far from Tamarindo to Manuel Antonio?

Old Jul 15th, 2004, 07:38 AM
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How far from Tamarindo to Manuel Antonio?

We are leaving for CR on Tuesday for our second visit. Our itinerary is this:
Arrive SJO leave directly for Arenal
2 nights in Arenal,
2 nights in Tamarindo
2 nights in Manuel Antonio
last night night near San Jose

How long is the drive from Tamarindo to MA? What is the best route to take? Would it be too much of a risk to stay in MA our last night? We have to be at the airport at noon for our flight out.
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Old Jul 15th, 2004, 08:12 AM
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Last July we did the opposite and drove from MA to Tamarindo, it took us 5 hours. Could be less or more depending on rain, traffic, etc. The main road out of Tam to the only main highway(that I know of) and follow signs to MA/Quepos. Nice ride, parts along the ocean and stop at the Brigdes of Tarcoles to see the largest Crocodiles below, lots of fun. I would leave early and get to MA before it gets dark. Have fun, wish I were going.
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Old Jul 16th, 2004, 12:53 PM
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Did you use the ferry at Puntarenas or the new Friendship bridge at the Nicoya peninsula?
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Old Jul 16th, 2004, 02:22 PM
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gabeck,
From Tamarindo, you would drive to Belen, then follow 21 south through Santa Cruz and Nicoya. A few miles south of Nicoya, you will take a left onto highway 18 which will take you across the new Friendship Bridge. Once you arrive at the main highway (interamerican), you will turn right and head south to Puntarenas. From there, follow the signs to Jaco and then on to Quepos and MA. Ewesthoff is right on at about 5 hours. There is a nice little restaurant across the highway when you reach the interamerican. Makes a good rest stop before you head south to Puntarenas. Also a soda with a good bakery.

Definitely don't stay in MA your last night. Way too risky. It is a good 3 or 3.5 hour drive to San Jose from there, and you need to turn your car in by 9:30 to be at the airport by 10:00. Too many things can (and do) happen on the road. A great place to stay is Las Orquideas in Alajuela. About 10 minutes from the airport. You can arrive there easily by noon and either just enjoy the property to take an afternoon trip. You might really enjoy the short drive up to Grecia and Sarchi, a couple of neat central valley towns. Sarchi is great for souvenir shopping!
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 08:43 AM
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Thanks for all of the helpful info. Shillmac- I love all of your trip reports! It sounds like you had so much fun. Only 2 more days until we arrive, I can't wait!!!
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 09:21 AM
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We hope you have a great time! Wish we were there again already. . . But now it is time to go back to work to try to make enough money to return one day! Such is life, huh? Enjoy and let us hear all about it when you return!
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 11:16 AM
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My wife and I are going to CR in August and Our trip intenerary is very similar - We are flying into Liberia and are going Tamarindo, Arenal, Manuel Antonio and then back to Tamarindo. When I was looking at the map, I was thinking of taking the Ferry from Puntarenas - is there a good reason not to consider this way?
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 11:32 AM
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The ferry from Puntarenas is certainly an alternate route, but not one people usually take unless their destination is the southern end of the peninsula (Montezuma, Tambor, MalPais). The ferry ride in itself is 1.5 hour (not counting the 1/2 to one hour you need to arrive in advance to get in line). Then the drive to Tamarindo is another 5 (or close to it) hours on less than desirable roads, some not paved. Slow going.

Your best option is Manuel Antonio to Puntarenas, continuing north toward Liberia, but turning left on highway 18 and the Friendship Bridge (used to be a ferry over the Rio Tempisque here), then up through Nicoya and Santa Cruz to Tamarindo. It will save you a good amount of time (probably 2 hours) because the roads are in better shape and you won't be sitting around waiting for anything. The new highway (18) to the bridge is excellent. Smoother travel for sure.

Also, when taking the ferry you have to coordinate your travel time with ferry times. Distinctly another disadvantage.

IF you have all the time in the world and particularly want to have the ferry ride experience as well as see this area between Naranjo and Nicoya, the Puntarenas ferry is certainly an option, albeit an unusual one!
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 12:23 PM
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Thanks for the advice! Sounds like I'll ditch the ferry ride idea.
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 01:09 PM
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Since I goofed the route from MA back to Tamarindo, any suggestions on the route from Arenal to MA?

Should we drive back around the northern part of Lake Arenal and over to Canas and then south on the IAH

OR, the other route I was looking at was South to La Fotuna, then to San Carlos (or Cuidad Quesada) and then working to the southwest?
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 01:15 PM
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Definitely take the San Ramon road. Although the drive around the lake is nice, it isn't a good road and will lengthen your time. From San Ramon, there is a road that cuts straight south to Atenas. This is your best option and quickest. Although, you can also get on the Interamerican at San Ramon and drive to Puntarenas and down. We have not done this drive all at once, but have driven all of these roads with the exception of the short road from San Ramon to Atenas, which, on the map, looks to be a main paved road.
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 01:17 PM
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Be sure not to confuse San Carlos (Ciudad Quesada) with San Ramon. You'll want the San Ramon road. It is straight south out of La Fortuna--it goes through La Tigra and San Lorenzo. San Ramon is just off the IAH.
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 01:30 PM
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Thanks for the advice, When I was looking at the map the road through San Carlos looks to be a better road?

Sounds like the road through La Tigra isn't as bad as the road around the northern part of Lake Arenal?

Thanks again - I'm beginning to think I should pay for such good advice! Really it is my wife who should thank you! The less time we spend on the roads the happier she will be!
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 02:07 PM
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The road through San Ramon is definitely the most direct route. It is the one generally used for your particular plan. Have a wonderful time. Tuesday is just around the corner!
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