Post # 1
We’re planning our honeymoon in Costa Rica, staying at the Los Suenos Marriott near Jaco. What the best way to get from the airport in San Jose to the hotel? Taxi is a little expensive, ~$100. I visited the website of a couple of shuttle bus companies, Grayline and Interbus, but I couldn’t figure out if they do or how to book door-to-door travel from the airport to our hotel. Has anyone done this? The other option is renting a car… how good or bad is the drive from San Jose to the Jaco area?
Thanks for the help!
Post # 3
We went to Costa Rica about 2 years ago, but stayed in Tamarindo…about a 5 hour drive from San Jose. We rented 2 cars (had a group of people), and it was actually pretty fun. The roads are totally entertaining (huge potholes, crazy drivers, cows, etc.) but it was fairly easy to navigate. We even had to go through a toll and use the local currency! It would be a pretty short drive for you, and you might actually enjoy it. We had a member of our party join us later, and he just came by the Grayline (still 5 hours) and loved it. They kind of just drop you off in town somewhere. The towns are tiny, though, so it may only be a block or so off from where they drop you, or if you are staying in a pretty big hotel, it should drop you off there…probably 🙂 If Jaco is a more touristy area…it should be pretty accomodating to visitors. Let me know if I can help you with anything else.
Post # 4
Costa Rica is gorgeous! You’ll love it! Costa Rica travel can be a little tricky but it’s not too bad when you get used to it. I went to Costa Rica and flew into San Jose, but stayed at Lake Aranel (approx 6 hours away). From San Jose, we had a taxi driver take us to the bus station, we paid like $7 for a bus ticket that took us to the main bus station. From there we took a taxi to our hotel. Costa Rica does have many potholes, washedout roads, etc. It is a true rainforest, and tourists do get lost from time to time, but if your hotel isn’t too far, you should be fine. If you decide to rent a car… make sure it’s 4×4! You will find most Ticos (natives) outside of San Jose are nice, and generally try to help, and many can speak some English. There are also a surprising amount of people from the United States, England, and Germany that retired there. My only caution is be careful converting colonies to dollars.. My FH accidently paid $60 instead of $20 for our taxi ride 🙂 You’ll have a great time.. it’s a beautiful country! I don’t know how long you are staying, but if you get a chance, visit the Tabacon resort… Natural hot springs right next to a live volcano… Well worth the visit! One of my favorite memories ever!
Post # 5
I went to Costa Rica last year with one of my best friends. WE flew into San Jose and we booked a Grayline Bus that took us to our hotel in La Fortuna/Arenal area (about 4hr drive). It was pretty simple. Didn’t need to rent a car the entire time we were there
Post # 6
Just went to Arenal and past Jaco to Manuel Antonio this past summer. We took cheap buses everywhere (less than $10!!). Honestly, the buses are dingy and knowing Spanish is VERY HELPFUL to figure out where you’re going, how to get there and to barter for touristy things. However, the people are very kind and the buses got us there (plus – we didn’t have to worry about maps). If you get carsick, be VERY prepared. The buses weave through "mountains" and the forest to get to the Jaco area. Also, if you’re taking the buses, be VERY careful at the bus stop in San Jose. It’s a mess. Watch your stuff like crazy and watch yourself as well. The bus areas in San Jose are known for trouble (as is much of San Jose). We were fortunate enough to have a large Tico friend escort us (I was there with some girlfriends visiting my fiance as he studied abroad to finish up undergrad and we stayed with a family part of the time). Oh yeah, and it doesn’t hurt to buy your tickets in advance for buses (if leaving from San Jose or from Jaco) just to ensure you’ll get a spot. Almost learned that the hard way trying to get back from Manuel Antonio!
If you’re driving, and have been to Mexico, you’ll have an idea of what it’s like, I’m told. Driving is nuts in CR. If you’re feeling brave, go for it. Like someone said above, definitely get four-wheel drive. The roads are something else!
Taxis don’t have to be quite so expensive, shop around. Then again, you don’t want to go with just anyone. Some hotels in the San Jose area book taxis (or vans) to take small groups – that might be a cheaper option. Don’t know if you have to stay with those hotels or not. There are also tourist companies that book just the transport to places like Jaco. Check that out, too. We looked into some, but I don’t remember the names. Sorry! There’s no reason they shouldn’t take you directly to your hotel though.
If you feel like splurging a bit (it’s not /that/ bad), small flights go out from San Jose to popular places, too.
We had a very safe trip, but I would advise you to be oh, so careful in busy places. CR is known for pickpocketing. In all likelihood though, you will be just fine — we were! It was one of the best trips I’ve taken, absolutely breathtaking and I would recommend it to almost everyone. What lovely people — only wish my Spanish was better. You’ll have a blast! If you have any questions, I can try to ask my Fiance for more advice.
Post # 7
oh, by the way, the way to Jaco has some pretty steep drop-offs next to the road and the roads are curvy and pretty narrow. That said, if the driver is comfortable with such, you’ll be fine. The good thing with a hired driver is that he/she is more familiar with the route. That’s all opinion though. I probably worry too much?
Post # 8
The roads can defiietly be crazy in Costa Rica. Right next door ( like a three minute walk) to the San Jose airport is Sanza Airlines … they are small planes, that I normally hate, but I was AMAZED at how smooth these guys are. Most flights are around 50.00 or so each way and you are most places in about 20 -30 minutes. It is cheaper then gas driving I think and allot quicker.
Good Luck, be safe!
Post # 9
I just wanted to jump in and encourage other Costa Rica travelers to use the tourist vans. There is a very organized system of airconditioned Vans that are roughly $30-$40 a person to get from one place to the other. The country isn’t that big , so even long van rides stay in that rough price range.
^ Amanda Bowers Photography, no travel fee in western U.S.A