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Transportation Advise needed ASAP (Arenal-MA-San Jose)

Transportation Advise needed ASAP (Arenal-MA-San Jose)

Old Jul 16th, 2009, 10:13 AM
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Transportation Advise needed ASAP (Arenal-MA-San Jose)

I am leaving for CR in a couple of days and have not coordinated any travel for our itinerary! I am stressed!

We fly into San Jose and the same day will travel to Arenal (3 days)
Arenal then to Manuel Antonio (6 days)
Manuel Antonio to San Jose (1 night)

I am torn between hiring a driver to bring us to all these locations
Renting a car
Renting a car for one of the two locations/driver for the other portion

Knowing these locations what do you think? I was thinking if there was one place we drove to it might be from San Jose to Arenal - but I am not sure if this is a difficult drive?

I am thinking the 5 hour trip would be best to have a driver as I heard the road conditions to MA are nuts. Just unsure how "challenging" or expensive it will be to not have a car at the resorts etc.

Please recommend drivers that you have used with their email addresses.
ParkerSunshine is offline  
Old Jul 16th, 2009, 12:37 PM
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San Jose to Arenal is a winding, twisty drive but not difficult. Just be sure you have good directions. You might even rent a GPS when you get your car. We did see some landslide damage when we were there. We hired a driver through our hotel and paid $140. Most people do not have a car in MA; things are close together and taxis are affordable.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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We love the flexibility of having our own car in Arenal and my husband really enjoys driving in Costa Rica. To be honest, we don't find most of the roads too much different from home (Southeastern PA - countryside). You do however have to watch for some sharp drop offs and very windy curves. There will occasionally be people walking along the roads or maybe animals in the road. So be careful. You wouldn't want to make the drive at night. But the roads you would take are well paved and the drive is pretty easy to follow with directions. You can usually get them from your hotel. We didn't care much for the GPS - found it wanted to lead us in ways that were not necessarily the way the map or hotel would have suggested, and many of the places we wanted to go weren't even found by the GPS. If you have a decent map and can read it - I don't think you need a GPS for the locations you're talking about. For us it wasn't worth the per day rental. We ended up leaving it in the glove box for most of the trip.

For Arenal to MA, the drive is much longer and we did decide to use a drive on our last trip because it was at the end of a two week vacation with two kids and felt maybe it would be less stressful to have someone else do the driving. In hindsight - we'd just drive ourselves if we do it again. The driver was wonderful however. I'd highly recommend him: Wilson Rojas [email protected] He was a joy to talk to and we learned a lot about the countryside as we drove along.

It's true that everything in MA is close together, but again - it would be nice to have a car - and then we could have just driven back to San Jose on our own.

I didn't think the road conditions to MA were nuts at all. There are two bridges that are nicknamed the OMG bridges - but I believe at least one has been widened. Those would be the only two areas that would be stressful - mainly because they are one lane, former railroad bridges.

Either way, you can't really go wrong. You could do a combo like we did last time, or do one or the other. Check out some drivers. Just be sure if you rent a car to drive in the daylight and don't leave valuables in the car in plain sight.

Have a great trip!
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 01:56 PM
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I too am debating the car rental vs driver. I am flying in late august and doing day 1-3 days at Arenal day 4 driving from arenal to MA and then 3 days at MA, total of 7 days. I like the added value of having a local driver so there is more info as we drive along. At the same time I am thinking it is nicer to have my own car in Arenal so we can go into town when ever we want and eat where ever we like instead of taxis all the time and or beng confined to eating at the hotel Los Lagos in our case.
Price wise it seems to work out the same renting the 4x4 for the week or paying for the cab SJ-Arenal-MA-SJO. Any recomendations of which car rental place has good deals for a 5 or 7 seater SUV.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 02:59 PM
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Tricolor always gets good reviews on the board.

One thing about driving; be very careful in bad weather. We had some huge torrential downpours and lots of fog. In good weather, no problem; the roads are in pretty good shape.
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Old Jul 16th, 2009, 04:35 PM
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How many people are you traveling with? Other than renting a car which will offer you a lot of freedom, getting from place with Interbus is a good way to go. I've used it many times and it's always been great. For 2 people it's about half the price of a private driver. In MA, it's easy to hop on and off the bus. Taxi's aren't that expensive. Arenal is a little bit more spread out.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 01:27 AM
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We walked just about everywhere in MA; things are much closer togther there than they are in Arenal. You just have to be careful along the roads. We walked to dinner every night, only took a cab to Ronnie's Place because it's further out; the taxi was only five dollars. For our tour to the park, our guide picked us up and dropped us off. I think Interbus is a great suggestion.
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