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Do I need a Car??

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Do I need a Car??

I know this question seems to come up a lot in this forum but I am still a little confused! My husband and I are traveling from San Jose to MA staying at Issimo Suites than to Arenal staying at Nayara. We were not planning to renting a car, we rented one in Spain on our last vacation and found it to be more trouble than it was worth in many cases. I really dont want to have to drive between destinations but not I am wondering about a car once we are there. We would like to be able to go into town for dinner and to walk around. We also want to go on tours (do most pick up from hotel??) What are cab prices like are we better off just renting a car? Also is it possible to rent them in those destinations or do we have to do it at San Jose airport?? Any advice appreciated!

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St. Petersburg...
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1. Re: Do I need a Car??

MA is quite easy to get around sans car. The bus runs during the day every 20 minutes or so, is cheap, and runs between Quepos and the dead-end at the park, so determing where to get off is quite easy. Taxi's are also plentiful and cheap and I've yet to go on an excursion where they do not pick you at the hotel (in both MA & Arenal). Arenal is much more spread out and you'd have to rely on taxi's to go out to dinner but I got around there easily without a car, the only time it was really needed was at dinner.

North Palm Beach...
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2. Re: Do I need a Car??

We just returned from Arenal and did not have a car. The tours we booked picked us up at the hotel, some charged extra for that, so it depends upon where you are staying. We were at Lost Iguana, which is further out from La Fortuna. We used a cab once, to go to Eco Termales - that cost us $36 total round trip. They do have a shuttle at LI that goes into town at intervals, but it depends upon how full it is of their employees as to whether they can fit guests in. I know you can rent a car once you get to La Fortuna and have it delivered to your hotel.

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3. Re: Do I need a Car??

you won't need a car in either place

tours usually pick you up and cabs are abundant and inexpensvie

St. Louis, MO
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4. Re: Do I need a Car??

You will not want to drive in MA. Our hotel was down the same road as yours and there's no way I would drive myself down that road.

Pensacola, Florida
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5. Re: Do I need a Car??

I usually self guide do not do tours so car best for

me.Nayara well over 4 miles out of town might consider that.Quepos/MA more spread out also car

is a benefit for me.Considering what I would pay for shuttle taxis almost always come out ahead.I do enjoy challenging driving for me great fun.But if it would stress you out let someone else do it...

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6. Re: Do I need a Car??

Does anyone know how I might go about finding a car that can be delivered to my hotel as someone had mentioned??

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7. Re: Do I need a Car??

My two cents:

Once you are in your location, being Manuel Antonio or Arenal, you don't really need a car. Tour companies pick you up and taxis are relatively cheap, though sometimes in smaller beach towns they'll try to gouge you a little bit. (It can be helpful to ask locals what a taxi should cost, and hotel staff will usually know.)

As for getting to Arenal from Manuel Antonio, a rental car is your fastest option and has the added benefit of letting you stop where ever you like.

If you don't want to drive, your best bet is a shuttle company. I recommend Grayline - they'll probably get you there for around $35/person. They're faster than local buses and more comfortable because you can stop for a decent bathroom if you like and have air conditioning. A local bus will probably cost around $10-12 and you might need to make a transfer. Coming back from Arenal on a local bus, half the passengers were forced to get off and walk an hour or more due to the steep road. Needless to say, a private shuttle would avoid this.

Having a rental car allows you a bit more freedom. They can be found in both locations, or they will be driven to you per your request. If you plan on going into the highlands around Arenal I would definitely recommend a 4WD vehicle. Avoid the cheapest 4WD, the Daihatsu, as they are really narrow and top heavy. An SUV will probably run you about $60/day.

If you want more car rental and driving advice for costa rica check out this page on my site:


Hope that helps some. And have a great trip!

New York
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8. Re: Do I need a Car??

i just got back from the places you mention... while I had a car, it is very possible to do without one. There are shuttle services, as has been mentioned earlier, or you could rent a car for that one day. You should be fine.

9. Re: Do I need a Car??

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