Safe to rent a car and drive?

Old Feb 20th, 2008, 10:03 AM
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Safe to rent a car and drive?

I know this has been asked numerous times, but, I am going to Costa Rica with my best friend (both in our twenties) We are going from San Jose to Arenal, then to Manuel Antonio. Is it safe/reccommended to rent a car ourselves and drive to these destintations? When we arrive in San Jose, it is too late to get a semi private, or public transport, which leaves us with private driver or rental car. We arrive at about 2:30pm. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
bejjie is offline  
Old Feb 20th, 2008, 12:03 PM
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If you arrive at 2:30, it could be 3:30 or later by the time you get out of immigration and customs, pick up the rental car and get on your way. Sections of the road to Arenal can really fog over quite a bit by afternoon, and it gets dark between 5:30 and 6:00. Personally, I wouldn't want to drive that route that time of day. Can you get an early start the next morning? As many people have pointed out on this board, there are a lot of great places to stay near the airport without having to go into San Jose.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2008, 07:25 AM
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I completely agree with Jeff_Costa_Rica!
Depending on your preferences I recommend you to stay at a hotel near the airport or in Alajuela and let a rental company deliver the car to your place (I always use and recommend ) . Or you could stay in San Jose enjoy the nightlife, some life music and pick up the car the next day. The roads to Manuel Antonio and to Arenal are good roads, but you shouldn't drive there in the dark. In Costa Rica it is dark at 6 pm.
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Old Feb 21st, 2008, 08:01 AM
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Thanks! We are actually already booked at the Tabacon on the night we arrive, so sounds like the best bet is to hire a private driver to take us there from San Jose? Thoughts on driving from Arenal to Manuel Antonio, with an early morning start?
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 10:02 PM
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My flight was also supposed to arrive around 2PM-2:30PM and was delayed in Miami for 3.5 hours. It will take you at least an hour to get through customs and grab your bags, plus you will be tired from traveling all day. My advice is to hire a driver. We used Danny and thought he was one of the best additions to our trip. His website is:

Also, check out my highlights and advice tips from my recent trip. I went to the same places you are intending to go to, and had a similar itinerary.

Hope this helps.

ttrain is offline  
Old Mar 1st, 2008, 06:56 AM
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Thoughts on driving from Arenal to Manuel Antonio with an early a.m. start:

No problem! It's about a 5.5 hour drive, depending on your stops. Could be 5 hours, could be 6. . .

Get yourselves a good map (recommend the Berndston & Berndston) and go for it!

Head down to San Ramon, get on the Interamericana Highway, headed EAST (backtrack a few miles), take the exit for ATENAS, follow signage from there to OROTINA, and on to MANUEL ANTONIO. Beautiful scenery along the way. . .

OR take the Interamericana Highway WEST toward PUNTARENAS, follow signs to QUEPOS and finally MA. I really think the first route is probably the best. You could go down one way and return the other way or vice versa.
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Old Mar 1st, 2008, 11:35 AM
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It is safe and nice to have a rent a car...most of our roads are in great shape...even if you start driving at 3pm to will be safe..just common sense and drive carefully!!

From La can drive the San Ramon way...once there...take Pan Am Hwy a few miles to the entrance of Palmares...and follow signs to Zaragoza and then Atenas..take the Monte del agucate...then San Mateo, Orotina, jaco...Parrita, Quepos, Manuel Antonio...about 4 and half to 5 hours drive...

Of course you can do do not need a driver...maybe a little hlep from a GPS..most rent a car have that option for a few more dollars!!

GPSCOSTARICA is offline  
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