We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

driving from monteverde to manuel antonio

Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
124 posts
15 reviews
Save Topic
driving from monteverde to manuel antonio

what is the drive like from monteverde to manuel antonio? What are the roads like? is this drivable if we rent a car? approx. how long will it take??

Thanks!

California
Level Contributor
1,128 posts
70 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: driving from monteverde to manuel antonio

We drove from Manuel Antonio to Monteverde, with a stop at La Finca Que Ama to break up the drive. You will find reviews of La Finca Que Ama in the hotels section.

Driving down from Monteverde or up to Monteverde, the road is very rough, rocky, and bumpy. It is also narrow and can be hairy if you see 2 big trucks trying to pass each other on a curve right in front of you on a mountain curve only wide enough for 2 chickens to run by each other! Is the drive worthwhile? Oh yes, definitely, I loved Monteverde, but I recommend a minimum of 3 nights there, otherwise don't even think about going up, that's my advice.

Once you are down the mountain from Monteverde, and reach the highway, the driving is relatively easy on the highway. This is the only easy driving in Costa Rica in our experience.

Beautiful country, you will never forget it.

It is easy to get lost in Costa Rica because the roads aren't well-marked. I would say it's easier to drive from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio than to do it in reverse. That's because the road to turn off the main highway and get up to Monteverde, which we were looking for, is NOT well marked. In fact the sign didn't say anything about Monteverde, at least not in June when we were there. (There is more than one road up. The road we took wasn't marked from the highway.) But going down from Monteverde is less confusing.

California
Level Contributor
1,128 posts
70 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: driving from monteverde to manuel antonio

Forgot you also asked how long the drive takes. Keep in mind that we broke up the drive with an overnight stay at the peaceful mountain b&b, La Finca Que Ama. It took us about 3 1/2 hours (we took the long way by mistake) to get from Manuel Antonio to La Finca Que Ama, which is near the Turrubares park, and then about 2 1/2 hours the next morning to drive up to Monteverde from La Finca Que Ama. Therefore I believe it would be accurate to say it would take you 5 or 6 hours to drive from Monteverde to Manuel Antonio. Can anyone else confirm this? (Depends on how much time you spend getting lost and how many stops you take.)

Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
124 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: driving from monteverde to manuel antonio

Thanks for your detailed response, that's just what I was looking for. I dont know if we'll stop at least not overnight, we may get up early and power through as best we can. Also, I know you said it is trickier getting up to monteverde. What is the drive like going from San Jose to Monteverde?

Thanks again!

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
299 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: driving from monteverde to manuel antonio

The drive from Monteverde to any place is downhill. Seriously, it's not the worst drive you will ever have but more like an E-=Ticket at a Disney Park. The drive from Monteerde to the Pan American Highway takes arout two hours and from there it is perhaps four more to Manuel Antonio. Seepingly the people in Monteverde have chosen to keep their area pristine by not inproving the roads but, at the same time, it can be a lot of fun and very beautiful.

California
Level Contributor
1,128 posts
70 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: driving from monteverde to manuel antonio

zeuz, ha ha, I don't like some of the E-ticket rides at Disney either! Funny. Anyway the road up to Monteverde that we took WAS the worst road I've ever been on, but that just depends on your experience and perspective. It was so bad it was actually funny. We were unfortunately all laughing when my daughter hit her head on the window, but she said it really hurt. It reminded me of the Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland, you know how it doesn't go very fast but the car rocks all over the place from side to side, it seemed like our 4-wheel drive vehicle was jouncing us all around (and hubby is an experience off-road driver so it wasn't his fault!)

But I am planning to return to Monteverde some day, I loved the Monteverde cloud forest, and I wouldn't think of returning for fewer than 3 nights, that's just me. For me, it was the most pristine and primordial forest I have ever hiked through. Some of the trees looked like the Ents in Lord of the Rings.

California
Level Contributor
1,128 posts
70 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: driving from monteverde to manuel antonio

I should mention that the road to Monteverde isn't E-ticket all the way...there are just parts of it that are the worst parts!

Tampa, FL
Destination Expert
for San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
2,234 posts
1 review
Save Reply
7. Re: driving from monteverde to manuel antonio

The 2 hour estimate from Monteverde to the PanAm Hwy isn't too far off, though maybe a little less in that direction since you're going down hill. However, I think the 4 hour estimate from there to Quepos is way off. Its probably more like 2.5 to 3 hours tops, unless you speed like I do when the road is smooth and open like it is for most of the way from the Monteverde turnoff to Quepos. Interbus schedules the transit time at 4.5hours total and they don't speed.

BTW, there are basically 3 ways to get down the hill from Monteverde. Going by Juntas would be the way to go if you were heading to the Guanacaste beaches (and the road from Juntas to the PAH is paved). That way is definitely out if you're heading south to Jaco, Quepos or back to SJ. The middle way comes out just before the Lagarto river bridge, which is how you can tell where to turn if heading UP that way. I think this route MIGHT provide the smoothest drive. For what its worth it is the way the bus from SJ takes to get to Monteverde. The last way down the hill from Monteverde goes by way of Sardinal. This is definitely the most direct route if you're heading in the direction you are, but I can't vouch for the road. The last time I went this way was the roughest of the 3, but its been a while and road conditions do change. I'd ask about current road conditions before you take off. It could be the middle way would be quicker even though it is a little longer.

Tampa, FL
Destination Expert
for San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
2,234 posts
1 review
Save Reply
8. Re: driving from monteverde to manuel antonio

From re-reading Melissa's post it sounds like she took the Sardinal route which I agree is not well-marked off the PAH. That would also support what I said about it being the roughest. I think if she had taken the middle route she would have found it much better and that is probably the way to go.

Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
124 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: driving from monteverde to manuel antonio

Thank you so much! I'll be printing this off to take with me!

California
Level Contributor
1,128 posts
70 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: driving from monteverde to manuel antonio

"Sardinal" sounds familiar and that may have been the unmarked road we took to Monteverde from the highway. It is a good idea to have several detailed maps and to know some hotels and anything else on your route. This way if your destination isn't marked on a road sign, there may at least be a sign for a hotel you know is enroute or a village or a site of any type. (This is general driving advice for Costa Rica.)

Also, interesting problem, the average folks working at hotel desks don't seem able to read any maps except for the local map they provide you with! There are some exceptions, usually the managers could read maps. Therefore it was difficult to get good directions from the hotel desk! Come prepared.