Night driving safety from San Jose Airport to Arenal

Old Jul 18th, 2005, 05:11 PM
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Night driving safety from San Jose Airport to Arenal

I just made a reservation in February at the Lost Iguana, near Arenal. My flight arrives at San Jose around 9:00 p.m. and the hotel said they could arrange for a private van and driver to pick us up and bring us to the hotel. How long is the trip, and,more important, how safe? I understand the roads can be bad, and I'm nervous about the trip at night. Our alternative is to stay overnight at the airport and catch a flight the next afternoon. Neither alternative thrills me. If safety isn't an issue, I'd rather arrive at night, and wake up at our final destination.

Also - has anyone been at the Lost Iguana during February school vacation week? I'll be with my eleven-year-old son, and am hoping he can find some kids to hang with.
andib is offline  
Old Jul 18th, 2005, 07:01 PM
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I'd never drive this route myself at night, but I take it the driver the hotel arranges probably has experience doing it. (So many flights arrive at night that they must have picked guests up before.) Immigration and customs can be such a crapshoot. You could breeze through, or it may be after 10 by the time you get out of there.

You're looking at 2-2.5 hours from the airport to Arenal. Sections of the road can get foggy anytime of the day, but especially at night.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Old Jul 19th, 2005, 07:54 AM
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Like Jeff, I would not make the drive myself either, but would feel confident using a hotel shuttle driver who has probably made that trips dozens of times. However, I would be so tried from the traveling that I don't think I'd want to then sit in a car for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, in the dark, when you can't even see anything. Stay somewhere in Alajuela where you can go and have a nightcap and relax, then leave for Arenal the next morning after a good rest and breakfast and can enjoy the scenery. That's just my opinion.
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Old Jul 19th, 2005, 11:04 AM
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Took us 3 hours to drive from the airport area to the Lost Iguana in the daytime. I would NOT recommend having anybody drive you, nor would I recommend driving, in Costa Rica at night. The driving conditions just aren't very safe. for example there aren't any guard rails on the narrow curving mountain roads going up to Arenal. Lighting is poor, not like here, at night. I would only drive or take a taxi 10-20 minutes down the road at night!

Just my viewpoint. Stay 1 night near the airport and get an early ride the next morning. Even if you arrive to the Lost Iguana in the dark, you haven't gained anything as it's dark so you're not going to be doing anything anyway. If you arrive early the next morning before 10:00 am you can still have a day-time activity.

Also the taxis we did take were very inconsistent on safety conditions. One of them only had lap belts, and I didn't notice til we were inside with all our luggage. In an accident lap belts cause injuries. We did have our own car so only had to take taxis a couple times.
Melissa5 is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2005, 05:00 PM
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Melissa, you forgot about the villa bonita hotel in san jose?. I saw the recomendation that you made to some body else.
I also stayed there.
It is a small and nice hotel and they have a web site
if you need they will send some body to pick you up for about 7 dollars.
Or in the internet they will give you the address and taxi information;
to use the taxis from the airport for only $3.00 Usd.;which I used and found very helpfull.
Umberto and Carmen are really nice and they salso offer a delicious breakfast.
A lot of people in your situation stay there going in and also on their way back.
It is not expensive and also you will go so relaxed the next day and enjoy the view.
Good luck
You won't regret it!
marlu is offline  
Old Jul 28th, 2005, 04:06 AM
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I would not want to do this drive at night ..... There is unfortunately a high rate of road accidents in Costa Rica , and this drive is tricky in daylight . I would play it safe and do it in daylight . PLUS .... then you will actually SEE the great scenery !!!! Faith
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Old Aug 9th, 2005, 10:26 AM
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That drive is beautiful in the daylight. It would be a shame to miss the scenery by driving up the dark. That first view of the volcano is very dramatic. Besides, you'd be so tired the next day from all the travel the day before. It's a waste in more ways than just time.

Anita_ is offline  
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