Driving in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a very small country and most tourist destinations are within a few hours drive of San José. Not only will you drive through beautiful countryside, but some small, out-of-the-way places will only be discovered by car. The adventure lover will appreciate the freedom to explore.

We do not recommend renting a car during the time you are in San José. Traffic and parking can be difficult and finding your way around is almost impossible as most buildings don't have addresses. Taxis are not only relatively cheap, but the drivers know where everything is. We suggest you pick up your rental car (or have it delivered) on the day you will be leaving San José for the provinces. Driving outside of San José is considerably less frantic.

Driving over the mountains to either coast at night, especially your first night in town is not recommended. During the day you will have the problems of potholes, cars passing where they shouldn't and being stuck behind a banana truck doing 5 mph. However, if you allow plenty of time and drive with care you shouldn't have any difficulty. So many tourists rent cars in Costa Rica , that at times none of the 40 plus car rental agencies have one available. Very few tourist have problems, although there are some real horror stories.

 

San Jose to...Caldera to ...
Arenal 3 Hours & 1/2 Carrillo 7 Hours
Bocas del Toro 14 Hours Papagayo 5 Hours
Cahuita 4 Hours Villa Caletas 1 Hour
Caldera 2 Hours Guapiles / Siquirres to...
Cañas 3 Hours Arenal 6 Hours & 1/2
Caño Negro 4 Hours Cahuita 1 Hour & 1/2
Caño Blanco 4 Hours Jacó 5 Hours
Carrillo 5 Hours Limón 1 Hour
Dominical 4 Hours& 1/2 Puerto Viejo de Limón 2 Hours
Flamingo / Tamarindo 5 Hours San Carlos 4 Hours
Freeman 3 Hours Sarapiquí 2 Hours & 1/2
Golfito 7 Hours Sixaola 3 Hours & 1/2
Herradura 4 Hours & 1/2 Turrialba 3 Hours
Irazú 1 Hours & 1/2 Jaco to...
Irazú / Orosi 1 Hour Dominical 2 Hours
Jacó 2 Hours Puntarenas 45 Minutes
La Cruz 6 Hours LIBERIA TO...
Liberia 3 Hours Caldera 5 Hours & 1/2
Limón 3Hours Dominical 8 Hours & 1/2
Malpais 5 Hours Flamingo 2 Hours & 1/2
Manzanillo 4 Hours & 1/2 Jacó 3 Hours & 1/2
Monteverde 4 Hours & 1/2 La Cruz 1 Hour & 1/2
Montezuma 5 Hours Montezuma 5 Hours
Nosara 5 Hours Punta Islita 3 Hours
Orotina 1 Hour & 1/2 Puntarenas 3 Hours
Palmar Sur 6 Hours Quepos 4 Hours & 1/2
Papagayo 4 Hours & 1/2 Sámara 2 Hours & 1/2
Peñas Blancas 7 Hours Sarapiquí 6 Hours
Poas / Sarchi 1 Hour & 1/2 Tamarindo 1 Hour & 1/2
Puerto Viejo de Limón 4 Hours & 1/2 Tambor 3 Hours & 1/2
Punta Islita 5 Hours Moteverde to...
Puntarenas 2 Hours Caldera 5 Hours
Quepos 3 Hours & 1/2 Dominical 9 Hours & 1/2
Samara 5 Hours Flamingo 4 Hours & 1/2
San Carlos 3 Hours & 1/2 Herradura 2 Hours & 1/2
San Gerardo de Dota 4 Hours Jacó 4 Hours
Santa Cruz 4 Hours La Cruz 5 Hours & 1/2
Sarapiquí 2 Hours & 1/2 Liberia 3 Hours
Sarchí 1 Hour Malpais 5 Hours
Siquirres 3 Hours Montezuma 6 Hours
Sixaola / Panama Border 5 Hours Punta Islita 5 Hours
Sugar Beach 5 Hours Quepos 4 Hours & 1/2
Tamarindo 5 Hours Sarapiquí 5 Hours
Tambor 4 Hours & 1/2 Tamarindo 4 Hours
Teleferico 2 Hours Tambor 5 Hours
Tilaran 5 Hours Nosara to...
Turrialba 3 Hours Punta Islita 2 Hours
Uvita de Osa 9 Hours Palmar Sur to...
Valle Escondido 3 Hours Dominical 1 Hour & 1/2
Villa Blanca 2 Hours Golfito 3 Hours
Arenal to... Puerto Jiménez 6 Hours
Caldera 3 Hours Peace Lodge to...
Dominical 4 Hours Aeropuerto Int. 1 Hour
Flamingo 5 Hours Arenal 2 Hours & 1/2
Guápiles 3 Hours Caldera 3 Hours & 1/2
Jacó 3 Hours & 1/2 Guápiles 2 Hours
La Cruz 5 Hours Jaco 4 Hours
Liberia 4 Hours Liberia 6 Hours
Los Chiles 2 Hours Monteverde 5 Hours
Monteverde 3 Hours Papagayo 6 Hours
Montezuma 6 Hours Puntarenas 2 Hours
Papagayo 4 Hours & 1/2 Quepos (Manuel-A) 5 Hours
Puerto Viejo de Limón 5 Hours San José / Nature Air 40 Minutes
Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí 2 Hours & 1/2 Sarapiquí 3 Hours
Punta Islita 5 Hours & 1/2 Siquirres 4 Hours
Punta Leona 4 Hours & 1/2 Tamarindo 6 Hours
Puntaneras 3 Hours & 1/2 Quepos to...
Quepos 5 Hours & 1/2 Arenal 4 Hours
Siquirres 6 Hours & 1/2 Caldera 2 Hours
Tamarindo 4 Hours Dominical 1 Hour
Tambor 5 Hours Flamingo 5 Hours
Turrialba (via Siquirres) 6 Hours Golfito 3 Hours & 1/2
TAMARINDO TO... Herradura 1 Hour
Jacó 4 Hours & 1/2 Jacó 1 Hour
Malpaís 7 Hours La Cruz 7 Hours
Montezuma 6 Hours Malpaís 5 Hours
Tambor  6 Hours Montezuma 4 Hours & 1/2
Turrialba to... Monteverde 5 Hours & 1/2
Dominical 6 Hours Puerto Jiménez 5 Hours & 1/2
Puerto Viejo de Limón 3 Hours & 1/2 Punta Islita 7 Hours
    Puntarenas 3 Hours
    Sámara 6 Hours
    Sarapiquí 5 Hours & 1/2
    Sierpe 3 Hours
    Tamarindo 5 Hours
    Tambor 4 Hours & 1/2

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