Post # 1
Hello! My fiance and I are going to Costa Rica for our honeymoon and traveling throughout the country. We are renting a car to go from San Jose to Arenal (I was told to have a car there because a cab to the volcano is expensive!). Because we will be there in the rainy season and because of the terrain we’ll be driving through all the books are saying not to drive. So…we don’t know how to get from city to city. We need to get from Arenal to Monteverde, then Monteverde to Nosara, then Nosara to just outside San Jose.
Did anyone hire any type of service or company to transport them around the country? I tried emailing Grayline (when trying to book reservations they didn’t go to some of our cities/hotels) but haven’t heard back yet.
A friend of a friend gave us the contact info of a private driver but he was SO expensive.
Any help or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!!
Post # 3
I just came back, so I think I can help!
There is one thing I cannot stress enough. You HAVE TO HAVE TO HAVE TO have a GPS in your rental. You will be completely lost without it. There are no road signs at all in CR.
We rented a car. It really was very easy going from San Jose to Arenal. The roads were perfectly fine, we got there no problem. The roads are difficult from Arenal to Monteverde. You will have to go VERY slowly. In Monteverde itself the raods are terribly bumpy, but otherwise you will be fine. I certainly would not agree that you can’t drive it. Just plan to take your time. Did you pick a hotel yet? If you want to see lava in Arenal you really should stay at the Obsdervatory Lodge. WE stayed there and saw laval every night, yet we saw many tour groups standing around in the fog waiting for the lava and they never got to see it.
I don’t know Nosara. We went from Arenal to Monteverde to the Manuel Antonio area. It was a fantastic trip- I could certainly help you plan, if you need it. IF I had to do it again, I’d probably not go to Monteverde. Oh, make sure you have bug spray and good sunblock, too! tripadvisor. com forums were amazingly helpful in planning.
You will have an awesome time!!
Post # 4
We didn’t drive when we were there and I think it would be more relaxing for you if you did not. But then again if you are staying a bit off the beaten path you may want one to be able to get back and forth to destinations. Just read some tips on how to drive there because it’s a bit different than here, especially in the mountains (like beep when you go around curves and if you hear a beep it means stop so someone can come around the curve without smashing you)
We took buses, which was fine but they don’t have schedules too regular that we could find so we had to wander around and ask people in our shotty spanish. It worked out well but again don’t know that it’s really honeymoon material.
Here are schedules of more tourist friendly companies for transport but they are a lot more expensive $40/pp vs $4/pp that the bus costs.
https://www.interbusonline.com/home/home.asp# (I think this is the most well known)
We had a very similar trip as you and we took the bus from Monteverde to Puntarenas and then they have a ferry over to the Nicoya Pennisula, not sure if it’s shorter than driving all the way around. You could always just rent a car once you cross to drive to Nosaro, the roads are much better around that area. Just make sure there’s a car rental place where you get off the ferry.
Post # 5
Oh and I’d put this on tripadvisor forum too, there’s lots of people who know good transport there and were really helpful for our trip.
Post # 6
This was so helpful, thank you! We will definitely look into the links. We’re fine doing the $40/pp…a private guy was quoting us $240 from one city to another!
Post # 7
Sorry menobride…just saw your post! We’re only staying two nights in Monteverde…in a tree house! I’ve also heard it’s not the “must visit” place but I just had to say I had stayed in a tree house in a cloud forrest at least once in my life :p
What car rental place did you go through? We were thinking of renting just from San Jose into Arenal (we’re staying at the Tabacon…was told it wasn’t the best resort but it’ll be our first night and I’m sure our bodies will crave those hot springs!).
Post # 8
cabs also arent *that* expensive. i know to take a cab from san jose to jaco (where we stayed) was about $90 each way. driving was a bit of a hassle and we got lost (luckily had a cell phone..even gps was confused!).it was easy to get around in a car once we got to our destination, but the city was confusing for us. next time, we are totally taking a cab to our main destination and then renting a car in town to explore. it would have saved us a lot of stress!
also we rented a car through budget in costa rica and didn’t have any issues..we returned it a day early and they actually lowered our rate, which i was shocked about 🙂
Post # 9
My husband LOVED Monteverde, I liked it alot, but I’m more of a beach person, it is a super cute little town with lots of artsy people. When you go to the park give yourself a lot of time and walk very slowly through it, you see so much more, I heard some people grumbling that they didn’t see anything but we saw tons of birds and butterflies and ran into a troup of monkeys. Also, it might be one place I sort of wish we hired a guide to help spot the animals. Luckily we ran into tours who were pointing up in the air so we sort of cheated. But there is an absolute terrific little cafe right in the park area, outside the gates, that has hummingbird feeders. It’s such a beautiful sight. I have about 10000 pictures of hummingbirds from there.
Post # 11
I went to Costa Rica in 2008 and we used the bus system the majority of the time. It is SUPER HOT, super crowded, seriously people were standing up in the aisle the entire time we were on the bus. Our longest bus ride was like 4 hours. We used the bus because it was cheaper (4 dollars!)
I will say though, the first time we took the bus, our first day in costa rica, my friend got his wallet stolen. Be careful! Have your hand on your wallet at all times. We actually stayed in costa rica for a month, so it was quite a hassel dealing with that at the time.
After that experience we decided to take the Interbus private shuttle from Arenal to Montezuma. It was the best experience ever! A nice van, air conditioning, and a few other people to share the ride with (one couple was actually honeymooning!). I think at the time the interbus was $30pp but definitely worth it. I would suggest using that service. They were very easy to book and reliable.
Post # 12
Jen, are you staying at Hidden Canopy Treehouse? We did, and it was AMAZING! But I think it was the best part of Monteverde.
Post # 13
We rented from Tico Travel. I am not sure I would recommend them. although the car and GPS were great! OUr flight got in late, and with those circumstances, they were supposed to wait for us (we checked into this beforehand). WEll, they didn’t, so we dind’t get our car until the next day (had to take a taxi to the first hotel- we spent our first night in San Jose due to a late flight). Anyway, it did tie us up for a bit, and they told us when we checked in that they waited (they didn’t- we had people trying to help us find the car and it was not there).
Post # 14
I actually just got engaged in Costa Rica in March! We rented a car and drove down to the Manuel Antonio area, and then drove up to San Jose and to a volcano (just about 40 mins north of San Jose, I don’t remember the name). The driving was SO easy. We had heard so many bad things about the conditions of the roads, but they were great!
We loved having a car. We were able to day trips as wanted/needed and it was so cheap. We used Budget, they picked us up at the airport, and took us over to the rental cars. For 6 whole days, not including insurance, I think we paid $120. I think we opted up for insurance and paid $30-40 for the week. We didn’t have any problem with keeping it secure or anything, which I had also read about.
Good luck with whatever you end up doing. It was literally the most beautiful place I had ever seen! Perfect place to get engaged, and I’m sure it will be even better to be there as husband and wife!
Post # 15
We were in Costa Rica last week. We opted to hire a private driver b/c we had heard that the roads were bad, the drivers worse, and that getting lost is easy since there are no road signs. I didn’t want to be stressed driving while on our honeymoon. we deal with a tough enough commute in our day to day lives. We used Toucan Limo Services toucanlimo.com. We went from San Jose to Arenal to Manuel Antonio back to San Jose. It was just under $500, we also used them to book our tours. Our driver was Luis and his wife, Rocio, was the one I spoke to on the phone. Our experience with them was fantastic. Luis was always on time, very informative and an all around pleasure.
For us it was perfect to spend the extra money and not have to deal with the driving. Am sure there are other companies also. As someone mentioned above Tripadvisor is a great tool in planning.
Happy planning and I hope you have a great time!!!