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What's the best way to get to Mal Pais?

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Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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What's the best way to get to Mal Pais?

Hi, guys! If we fly into CR, what is the best way to get to Mal Pais? Would we fly into SJO or Liberia? And then what's the most efficient combination of flight/driving/ferry from there? We wouldn't drive, so any driving would be via private driver. Thanks for any guidance you can give me! How long would the entire trip take?

Santa Teresa, Costa...
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for Mal Pais, Santa Teresa
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1. Re: What's the best way to get to Mal Pais?

Volcanogirl:

This is a partial copy of my answer to a post from Aug. 12 about the same topic: (skip the car rental if you are not doing this).

If you can get a reasonable flight to Liberia instead of San Jose, the idea is not bad at all. If I had my choice, I would fly to Liberia over San Jose just to avoid the drive down the mountain, I don't mind the ferry ride, it gives you a chance to rest and take a deep breath!

You can hire a driver or rent a car to do this route. The bus route is not direct and can be very long and convoluted. If you were to fly Sansa or Nature Air from Liberia to Tambor, you might be lucky enough to catch one of their specials, flying is faster, but more expensive.

If you rent a 4x4, you can take the road toward Tamarindo and then turn south to Santa Cruz and Nicoya.

At Nicoya, you can decide whether you want to cross over to Samara and take the coast route. A good map is necessary as well as a 4x4, even during the dry season (only advisable from Jan. - May due to river heights and the need to ford them, it is impassable at many points during the green season); or you can continue to drive south to Jicaral and cross over to San Francisco de Coyote and get on the coast road to Mal Pais; or you can continue south on a very rough and washboard road to Paquera.

The route down the Nicoya Peninsula is scenic, the coast route is beautiful.

If you fly to San Jose, you can catch a shuttle bus with one of the Mal Pais/Santa Teresa companies for $35-40 per person; or for $10, get on the direct bus that leaves from the Coca Cola station (it doesn't make scheduled stops until they reach the ferry in Puntarenas, so you can't get on near the airport, but they do stop at the airport on the way back into San Jose).

Volcanogirl: you posted about a driver you hire from SJO to Arenal, he could also drive you to Mal Pais...find out what he charges.

From SJO to Mal Pais, you are looking at about a 6 hr. trip including the ferry (if you get on the ferry you are shooting for and not waiting for another sailing).

From Liberia to Mal Pais, probably around the same time if you hire a driver.

If you fly, you are looking at about a 30 min. flight and a 30-45 min. cab ride from Tambor to Mal Pais.

You will need some type of transportation to get around the Mal Pais area, everything is scattered and far to walk.

Atlanta
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for Jaco, Bocas Town
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2. Re: What's the best way to get to Mal Pais?

If you fly into San Jose, then get to Jaco, you can take a taxi boat over to Montezuma, then short drive to Mal Pais. This is a fun and beautiful way to go. Flying into Tambor is also a good option and an easy way to travel. Taking the ferry is a long way to get to Mal Pais. Some people love it, I am not one of them ;)

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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3. Re: What's the best way to get to Mal Pais?

Thanks very much guys - I appreciate the help!

Housotn
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4. Re: What's the best way to get to Mal Pais?

Hey Volcangirl, I'm going to Mal Pais next spring, and I figured the easiest and fastest way would be to fly into San Jose; especially if you're leaving form Houston since there are multiple daily flights via Continental. You can then take Sansa Regional Air (http://www.flysansa.com) to Tambor. This is great since I believe this airline is out of the same airport you would be arriving in from Houston, and it's defiantly faster than driving. Once you get into Tambor, you can take a taxi, or rent a car to Mal Pais, which I understand is only like a 30 min drive or so. Hope this helps.

- Thanks

Texas
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5. Re: What's the best way to get to Mal Pais?

Thanks, swift; that sounds like a great plan. You're right - Sansa's terminal is right next door to SJO. Love the convenience of using them. Have a wonderful trip!

Alexandria, VA
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6. Re: What's the best way to get to Mal Pais?

Hey, I echo the early comments. I loved the drive from Liberia to Mal Pais! It really is beautiful! A couple of additional thoughts though.

1. Depending on when you are going, the ferry can be tough. We were going to grab the ferry on the way from Mal Pais to Liberia (it was the wet season and we knew it would be slow going on the island of the inlet). Our driver cautioned that if we didn't get to the ferry an hour ahead of departure time, we would risk not getting on the ferry. We would have to wait about 2 hours and would have missed our flight! So, factor in that. You can control the road, but not always the ferry!

Either way you go, it'll be beautiful!

2. Liberia airport is tiny, which makes it so easy to get in and out of. If you are running late on your trip back to the states, it is not a big deal (i.e., the 2 hour rule... isn't a solid rule like in the states). Also, getting out of the airport is like getting out of your local convenient store. There is a lot to say for that!

Have a great trip.

Texas
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for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
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7. Re: What's the best way to get to Mal Pais?

Thanks, Florida!

Phoenix
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8. Re: What's the best way to get to Mal Pais?

Last year my wife and I took the route through playa naranjo and paquera. While there was some beautiful scenary, I would not reccomend it. The road is from hell. It is not just washboard. It is wash board with steep incline/declines. Milk jug sized boulders everywhere. Extremely narrow at times. No resources anywhere if somethinng went wrong.

I would take fly to tambor or take the ferry.

Phoenix
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9. Re: What's the best way to get to Mal Pais?

Last year my wife and I took the route through playa naranjo and paquera. While there was some beautiful scenary, I would not reccomend it. The road is from hell. It is not just washboard. It is wash board with steep incline/declines. Milk jug sized boulders everywhere. Extremely narrow at times. No resources anywhere if somethinng went wrong.

I would take fly to tambor or take the ferry.

Seoul, South Korea
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10. Re: What's the best way to get to Mal Pais?

If money is no object then flying Sansa to Tambor then takng a taxi the remaining distance is the best way. It will be adventurous too. It is a little 12 seater plan and lands at a runway strip by the ocean, which is basically all there is to the airport. Note that the Sansa terminal is not right in the main airport. You will exit the airport and walk left about 1/2 a block walk through the Sansa parking lot on the left.

If you decide to go by road, you will go to Puntarenas take the ferry for about 1 1/2 hour ride. Make sure it is the right one because there is one to Playa Naranjo too. Then by road on the other side. Buses or a shuttle is an option. This is a long trip.

I believe the ferry from Jaco is a faster ferry but I think it might be pricey. Unless you are fearful of flying on a small plane, I think flying is the better option.