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Should I drive or fly in Costa Rica - what should I do

New Orleans...
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Should I drive or fly in Costa Rica - what should I do

Only have 5 nights/6 days. Trying to decide if driving from areas or flying is most efficient for time.

1. Should we take cab or fly from San Jose to Arenal?

2. Should we take cab or fly from Arenal to Quepos/Manuel Antonio?

3. Should we take cab or fly from Manuel Antonio to SJO airport to leave?

Thanks!!!

Brooklyn, New York
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for Sarapiqui
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1. Re: Should I drive or fly in Costa Rica - what should I do

I would say it depends on the time you arrive in the country and the time you leave. Have you booked your tickets?

San Jose, Costa Rica
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2. Re: Should I drive or fly in Costa Rica - what should I do

Dear mckinneybridg...

If you only have 5 nights 6 days...and can pay the high domestic air fares and sometimes not such a great connections to get from point A to point B....YES flying around is a lot faster!

1. Should we take cab or fly from San Jose to Arenal? Car ride will be 3 hours...good road all the way.

2. Should we take cab or fly from Arenal to Quepos/Manuel Antonio? Car ride will be a 4.5 hours...good road all the way...a lot to see!

3. Should we take cab or fly from Manuel Antonio to SJO airport to leave?

Car ride will be about 3 hours...even less...great road all the way!

roadadivsor

Chicago, Illinois
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for Costa Rica
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3. Re: Should I drive or fly in Costa Rica - what should I do

Check your arrival and departure times against the SANSA schedule posted online. Many visitors have to spend the 1st and last nite near the airport as their flights arrive late and depart in the morning. if that is your case then limit yourself to either Arenal or Manuel Antonio.

The other option to consider is to fly into Liberia and from there you can be on the beach in an hour. You can take a daytrip to Rincon de la Vieja for your volcano fix. This often makes more sense for a short trip than flying into SJO but you have to be willing to substitute beach stops and volcanoes for your original plan.

New Orleans...
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4. Re: Should I drive or fly in Costa Rica - what should I do

Thanks for the input.

We are flying into San Jose at 11:30 am on a wednesday and leaving San Jose at 12:00 pm the following monday.

My worry is if the airport travel will take longer than expected and it would just be as long to drive. I am not worried about the prices of the flights within costa rica, more concerned about the time it takes to check in, etc and if it makes it worth it to fly between arenal and manuel antonio, etc.

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: Should I drive or fly in Costa Rica - what should I do

If you fly into SJO at 11:30 AM there are no available flights to Arenal that day (in low season). SANSA does not fly into Arenal and Nature Air only has 1 flight a day in the early morning. Also Nature Air flies out of Pavas airport, roughly 20-30 minutes from SJO.

Suggest you hire a private driver to meet you at the airport and drive you to Arenal same day. Spend 3 nights in Arenal and fly out the next day. From Arenal there is a daily direct flight on Nature Air to Manuel Antonio (Quepos)departing at 12:40, arriving 1:15 PM. After 2 nights in Manuel Antonio ( 1 full day for the park) you could fly back on SANSA to SJO, departing 8:32AM and arriving San Jose at 8:59. If you are flying high season be sure and recheck flight times as there should be more options.

Flights are occasionally delayed or even canceled in rain weather but driving could just as likley slow you down if you had a flat tire, there was an accident in the road or there was road construction. The drives to Arenal and from Manuel Antonio to San Jose are relatively short but the drive from Arenal to MA takes up a good chunk of the day versus the very short flight.

Bermuda
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6. Re: Should I drive or fly in Costa Rica - what should I do

i would take private trans either limo or shared van to arenl, but fly in and out of manuel antonio.

for private car you can't beat www.tucanlimoservices.com for shared shuttle vans try grayline, ecotrans or interbus, all good companies. be sure to book direct and not use a middle man for bookings.

New Orleans...
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7. Re: Should I drive or fly in Costa Rica - what should I do

Thanks, that is helpful.

We are going Oct 3 - 8th. I think that is considered low season. This is our rough plan.

Wed. 10/3 - arrive SJO at 11:30 am and sleep in San Jose to await friends arriving later that night.

Thurs. 10/4 - take nature air flight to Arenal - explore Arenal/La Fortuna area that day

Fri. 10/5 - drive to Monteverde for the day and back to Arenal that night

Sat. 10/6 - take natureair flight from Arenal to Quepos to get to Manuel Antonio

Sat 10/6 and Sun 10/7 - explore Manuel Antonio

Sun 10/8 - either drive to SJO or take the Sansa flight from Quepos to SJO.

Any feedback?? Thanks again!!

Bermuda
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8. Re: Should I drive or fly in Costa Rica - what should I do

i've done a daytrip to monteverde from arenal before and can say it's doable, but only just. to make it worthwhile you'll need to leave at 6am. it's about a three hour drive and the last 30km is on some of the roughest road costa rica has to offer. it can be done in a regular car, but the extra suspension of a 4x4 would be nice to have. also monteverde is usually very cold as it is so high in the mountains so long clothes would be necessary. you should plan on leaving monteverde at 3pm at the very latest to minimize the amount of driving in the dark.

Brooklyn, New York
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9. Re: Should I drive or fly in Costa Rica - what should I do

Ixnay on the Monteverde day trip. You'd get there just in time for the animals and birds to start taking their naps. At which point you can eat a couple of meals and look at some trees.

Totally not worth it unless you're staying 2 nights, 1 night bare minimum.

New Orleans...
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10. Re: Should I drive or fly in Costa Rica - what should I do

Thanks all. I think we are going to scrap the monteverde trip so we can have 1 night in san jose, 2 nights in arenal, and 2 nights in manuel antonio.

Probably going to get flights for the longer of the trips (arenal to quepos and back) and get a driver for the shorter one (san jose to arenal).

Do those domestic flights fill up or can you wait until the day before to purchase the tickets?