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We leave for Costa Rica Thursday and I'm a nervous wreck....

We leave for Costa Rica Thursday and I'm a nervous wreck....

Aug 23rd, 2004, 06:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 39
We leave for Costa Rica Thursday and I'm a nervous wreck....

We (are supposed to)arrive into San Jose at around 12:00. We have a 4 wheel drive reserved at Alamo and then we are going to drive to the Four Seasons in Papagaya Peninsula. I am soooo nervous about driving all that way but after reading a few posts back a few weeks ago I figured it will be okay. Does anyone know how to obtain the best directions to get to the Four Seasons? From the hotel, or buy a map? And I've read about paying for an exit tax when you arrive into San Jose the first day. Is that correct? Should we not bring to much cash and plan more on using the a.t.m. card? Are there pay phones to call home? Any questions answered would be GREATLY appreciated!!
LuvNYC is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 06:38 AM
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We just returned from CR on Friday. How far is the Four Seasons from San Jose? We arrived at San Jose at 12:40PM. Immigration & Customs were a breeze. Then we picked up our rental car at Dollar Rental Office & left there by 2:00PM. We arrived at Manuel Antonio by 5:30PM. We used the Berndston & Berndston map. The rental agency will give you a map, also.

We paid our exit tax at the airport the day we left CR. It cosst $26.00PP. We waited in line for about 15 minutes.

There is an ATM at the airport. We used a combination of travelers checks, ATM, Credit cards & also brought some cash with us. The hotels could only cash $50 worth of travelers checks at a time. There were plenty of ATM's in Quepos & La Fortuna. CR accepts both US dollars & colonnes.

Hope this helps.

You will love Costa Rica. It is probably the most beautiful country we have visited.
Kwoo is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 23
In my opinion Costa Rica's reputation for bad driving and terrible roads is way over-hyped. I have been to other countries (such as the Dominican Republic) in which the driving is MUCH worse. CR 's roads are fine, you only run into trouble when you hit smaller towns that do not have dirt roads, and even this is not so hard to stomach.

We drove from San Jose to Tamarindo (in Guanacaste) last January and it was fine. While we did see several accidents along the way, we felt very safe driving through various parts of the country.

And I agree with the previous reply. RELAX, you are going to love Costa Rica. Particularly if you are headed to the Four Seasons!
sturgeon0 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 08:23 AM
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Thanks for the quick responses! I'll try to relax It's in my nature to be nervous. My husband will be fine though. I've read other posts that have said it is about a four to five hour drive! I'm just afraid of getting lost... As suggested, I'll go buy a Berndston & Berndston map before leaving Thursday morning. Thanks again.
LuvNYC is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 09:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 10,212
No way are you going to get lost driving to the Four Seasons. It is a pleasant and easy 4.5-5 hour drive. You will head west on the Interamerican (by the airport), follow signs to Liberia. From Liberia, head southwest on highway 21, not too far. You will come to a new Do-It hardware store on your right. Make a right at that intersection. The Four Seasons is at the end of the road. When we were there in March, we noticed there were no signs to Four Seasons, but there were signs to Allegro Papagayo. The entrance to 4S is right there by the entrance to Allegro--both just a few km down the road from where you turned at the Do-It Center. Relax, you are going to have a great time!

Big thumbs up on the Berndston & Berndston map--get it at Barnes & Noble. If you can't get one, the map from the rental agency will do just fine.
shillmac is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 09:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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One other thing, I'd wait and pay the exit tax when you leave. It's not a big deal. Get to the airport 2 hours before your flight. You'll have plenty of time. Because you will need ALL the time you can get to drive to Four Seasons before dark, don't spend any longer than you have to at the airport. You need to be on the road by 1:30. Don't panic if you aren't--you'll still be able to drive almost the entire distance in daylight.
shillmac is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 10:10 AM
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Just want to add that the driving was much better than we expected. All the roads we traveled on were paved, there were some potholes (not a lot); you do have to be patient because there are numerous slow-moving trucks on the roads. And it is very slow-going over the mountains...slow but gorgeous scenery! All in all, much easier than we anticipated. You will have a great time! I hope we can return some day.

Kwoo is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 10:46 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 138
Kwoo: Did you rent a 4x4 or sedan?
arbegold is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 10:51 AM
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i think your hardest driving will be in the city itself, just because there is a lot of traffic, and people drive extremely close together. Otherwise, you'll be fine.
trevorjoyce is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 10:56 AM
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To arbegold,
We rented a 4 x 4 Pathfinder from Dollar Rental. If you are interested in reading my trip report, it is titled "Costa Rica Trip Report - Just Returned". When are you going?
Kwoo is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 11:11 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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We ended up getting into Guancaste after dark - and had some other drives in the dark too. While I don't recommend it, we didn't have any problem & you will be fine even if you get on the road later than you expect. Relax!! You will have an incredible time!
sclubb is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 01:33 PM
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Thanks Shillmac, I'm going to print your directions and buy the map! Thanks to everyone else for their responses too. Can't wait to go even though I am a little nervous
LuvNYC is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 02:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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If it's the driving you're nervous about, please don't worry. I know that is easier said than done, but I do think you will be pleasantly surprised. Some people post on this board that the roads and the driving are nightmares. Yes, the roads are more narrow with only 2 lanes (most of the time) and, as someone mentioned, you'll get behind some slow moving trucks. That said, there is no need to be nervous. You will be driving slowly. Anywhere from 20-55 miles per hour, basically. Usually around 40 mph. Enjoy yourselves!
shillmac is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2004, 07:26 PM
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You have enough replys without one more but hey....

1. Don't worry, most of your trip will be flat and easy driving roads. Costa Rica people are very friendly. You can not get too lost if there is only one road to take! Stay on it. You will be given a map and directions at your car rental place.

2. Once in the Papagallo area you are in country! People will help if you just stop them on the side of the road. Easy to do!

3. Exit tax is $26 per person, I think. Get to airport, sorry...3 hours early, international flight...the airline will send you to a special line just to pay your tax....if you get it in advance, you might loose the slip of paper and it is not necessary.... at the airport!

4. Traveler's checks are advised and work at all banks with your passport! Also, ATH atm machines carry all types of cards. IF one bank does not give you cash with an ATM card, go to another or ask the guard. Some banks say Visa but it is only their visa.... they are everywhere! Do not carry a great deal of cash.... be smart. Hotel's have a safe.

(leave your expensive jewelry at home, too.... this is an ecological country, very casual here)

5. There are two types of calling cards. And, there are special phones in some places to use a credit card to call home. The two types come in prices.... one is 3,000 colones or about $7 it will call home for 10 or 12 minutes. If you are fast you can use it twice. Get them at drug stores, tiny grocery stores, look outside for a little square sign that is yellow with a blue phone on it. That tells you they sell calling cards there. (if they are not out!

Have a wonderful time!
Costa Rica is a beautiful country!

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