Mountain route from San Jose to Ojochal

Old May 16th, 2011, 02:54 AM
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Mountain route from San Jose to Ojochal

We will be travelling to Costa Rica for a month next February and are wondering about driving the mountain route from San Jose to Ojochal. We have always flown before, but this time, we have the time and definitely the inclination to see more of this beautiful country. Has anyone driven this route lately? I know the new highway is faster but we are looking for beautiful views and somewhere to stop for lunch along the way, perhaps San Isidro? We will have a 4 wheel drive. Gracias to all for your feedback!
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:36 AM
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I took this route from Orosi to Dominical last summer. It is very beautiful. A town worth stopping in is San Gerardo de Rivas. I'd spend the night and hike in the Cloudbridge Preserve. Stay here if you can: http://www.hotelcasamariposa.net/ I'm talking shangrila! Your 4 wheel drive will make it through some quicker detours to San Gerardo--it's a bit off the main highway. The highway, although gorgeous, is a bit treacherous. Lots of trucks that you get stuck behind. Very dangerous to pass. And you must set out early since the fog comes in (around 1 in the afternoon?) making travel way too dangerous. We would do it again, but with some trepidation I must admit. San Isidro is okay, and you can find some good, basic restaurants there if you want. Happy to answer any other questions you have.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 05:52 AM
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Have done the "Cerro de la Murete"

lots of traffic can get pretty dodgy

playing tag in fog with huge gas trucks passing each other

can get pretty scary

Stayed at eltoucanet.com when there last

San Isidro is a dump headed for Dominical on the coast

cunadelangel.com hacindabaru.com 2 nice places I have stayed

Honestly prefer the coast road prettier safer.

mapcr.com Happy Travels,
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:19 PM
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Entirely paved now it's just the fog and big trucks that are an issue. Do drive it in the morning. If you are lucky you can get some fantastic views.

El Toucanet is one option, Savegre Lodge is another. For the latter you don't really need a 4wd, the road is not blacktop but is in good condition.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 04:00 AM
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Thank-you all. We have decided to skip San Isidro and stay at either Savegre Mountain Lodge or El Toucanet. Can anyone give me some detailed info about either of these places? We want to do some birding and hiking and would love if there are beautiful views. I had a good laugh at the name of the road,qwo: Cerro de la Murete (Road of death!!)
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Old May 19th, 2011, 07:02 AM
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I loved Savegre, great birding lodge, gorgeous views of the cloud forest and valley. It's the easiest place to spot quetzals, right in the trees by the cabins, loads of hummingbirds near the feeders at the restaurant. We hired a guide for 1/2 day of birding along the river and around the lodge grounds.

I'd return here in a heartbeat.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 08:58 AM
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I unfortunately didn't make it to El Toucanet (due to a small hurricane that hit Costa Rica the evening I arrived). Their road system turned into a giant swamp. I was however able to make it to Savegre and enjoyed it 100%. They are tops for bird guides and have a number of onsite hiking trails, a cool bar, and have added massage services. I even liked the food. At least in Novemver it gets chilly at night and you'll need some extra warm clothes to sleep in. I had brought a stainless thermos and that worked nicely as a bed warmer.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 09:10 AM
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On your way, pop into Paraiso del Quetzal at the 70 km marker (well signposted) for some wonderful cloud forest views and close up shots of fiery-throated and magnificent hummingbirds right off their deck. They also offer hiking trips up into their cloud forest to spot quetzals.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 10:20 AM
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This is all great info, thanks. I want to make sure the Savegre Mountain Lodge is the one owned by the Chacon family who have been in the business for generations. I am getting 2 different websites and wondering if these are different places.
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Old May 19th, 2011, 10:45 AM
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This is the website I used

http://www.savegre.co.cr/indexeng.html
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Old May 19th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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Both Toucanet and Savegre are geared toward the birding crowd but that's about the only thing they have in common.Savegre lodge is firmly established on the Costa Rican birding trail and has become very popular with tour groups, especially european ones-had a great time drinking Imperials with the Brits!They have great hiking trails(some quite steep),a nice new spa, a happening bar with a ski lodge type circular fireplace and a nice restaurant that usually serves buffet style meals.I would recommend getting a suite instead of a standard room which have very thin walls and a tiny bathroom.Do try to book a tour with Marino Chacon-he's great. El Toucanet on the other hand is a very quiet, lo key Mom and Pop type of place that offers home cooked meals, suites and standard rooms(which are quite a bargain) and you are likely to be adopted by the owners two dogs, Kit and Socks during your stay.When you hike off the property one or both will usually accompany you and are great companions for hiking!Really enjoyed both places.
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