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Driving from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

Denver, Colorado
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Driving from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

My husband, me and two kids (18 and 12) are going to Costa Rica in March 2012. Although I've always heard driving there is a nightmare, I was shoked at the airfares ($1100 round trip for 4) v. car rental ($320 for a midsize SUV). Am I crazy to think of driving? I thought we could leave San Jose around 2-3 PM and stay somewhere part way. Does anyone have any input? Thanks. Christy

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1. Re: Driving from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

You got a helluva deal on your airfare. I think renting a car and driving is still the best deal for four, unless you want to take the public bus.

Bethesda MD
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2. Re: Driving from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

I take it the $1100 airfare was for the round trip between San Jose and Puerto Jimenez.

Not crazy to drive, assuming scenic drives are something your famiily enjoys. We did it last summer and you can look up my trip report for more on the topic. Pretty much requires at least one overnight in between each way, as you seem to recognize. I'd suggest taking the mountain route through San Isidro one way, the all-coastal route the other. Given you'd be leaving SJ mid-afternoon, I'd take the all-coastal route outbound and stay somewhere between Jaco and Quepos that night, then be sure to get an early start the next day. On the return, if you can spare more than one night, stay in the mountains, and factor in both the timing of crossing the Cerro de la Muerte (morning is better to avoid mountain fog) and the airport check-in time in deciding where to stay. If the timing fits, San Gerardo de Dota makes a good mountain stop.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Driving from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

I think she's talking about RT flights San Jose/PJ versus driving. The cheapest flights I could find on Nature Air's website for March were $944 for 4 persons RT including tax. Still a lot more than driving but if you have a one week trip you're trading cost for 2 days of your vacation driving. The estimated driving time from San Jose to PJ is just under 7.5-8 hours. See directions at http://www.yourtravelmap.com/

You could stop at Jaco, roughly 1.5 hours from SJO or continue on to Manuel Antonio (3 hours) for the 1st nite before heading further south if you decide to drive. Just remember that the sun sets around 5:30 and it's dark by 6 PM.

Uvita, Costa Rica
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4. Re: Driving from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

Make sure the rent a car quote has mandatory insurance quated in the price which is between $12 to $20 per day. some rent a cars might not quoted without asking but definitivly will charge it.

Would be good to overnight each way maybe around Uvita area.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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5. Re: Driving from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

The Car rental is a lot cheaper than flying for the 4 of you however you are looking into a 7 + hour drive each way and loosing 2 days of your vacation by driving. If you decide to drive, on the way in you can stay at a Hotel in Manuel Antonio so that you do go drive at night to Puerto Jimenez. Have a great trip!

Bermuda
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6. Re: Driving from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

if you consider getting there to be part of the fun, then this is a good idea. like tfc said, it's a scenic drive and shouldn't be considered "lost vacation time" instead it's part of the experience, an adventure. if you drive the coastal highway i recommend an overnight in dominical, a cool low key surf town.

driving in costa rica isn't nearly as bad as some people make it out to be. i drove over 5000 miles with no problems at all. the road from sjo to osa peninsula is smooth, i don't know about highway #2 through the mountains though. once you turn off to osa, the road conditions deteriorate into a patchy potholed affair so you'll have to go slow, but the views are beautiful so slow isn't necessarily a bad thing. just before the drake bay turn off the road becomes smooth but i don't know for how long though. have fun planning.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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7. Re: Driving from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

Hi Chirsty.

Maybe I´m the wrong person to answer your question since I LOVE TO DRIVE!

I drive about once a month to check fences and other things around my farm in Drakes Bay...most of the times it take me to Rincon de Osa about 6 hours...and then what ever more to Drakes...but in your case from Rincon you will be about one hour or less to Puerto Jimenez...total about 7 hours...

In your case...maybe stay at Uvita...check Tikivillas lovely place...nice suites...great views...adn great prices...UVITA is about half way to Puerto Jimenez...

Maybe the worse advice any body can give you is to drive from Manuel Antonio to Puerto Jimenez AT NIGHT that is a very isolated road...mostly from Chacarita to Puerto Jimenez...you see I have had been driving in my country for well over 45 years...Tractor Trailers...Buses...Bykes...almost anything that have wheels and that is not the best section of our roads to drive at night!

Sorry but is not that a person that visited our country is giving you some kind of advice...is a regular at this forum..!!

The worse place to have a flat tired or any kind of problem at night is exactly in that section of the road...and at night is maybe the worse part so isolated !!

Sorry I was shocked about that advice!

Drive at daylight is a lovely ride...so much to see...the views of Golfo Dulce from there are just spectacular...

By Rincon is a old Helicopter that used to be own by OSA FORESTALES a very corrupted mutlinational company that was trying to cut all the trees from OSA PENINSULA..

We costaricans fought them and virtually kicked them out of our country...and that helicoper is like a monument to show our kids that YES even without an Army we can remove ugly transnational companies...the helicopter is by MINAET office is at the left hand side of the road...coming from Chacarita...

roadadvisor

Bermuda
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8. Re: Driving from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

I was wondering what the story was with that helicopter. Thanks luis.

Heredia, Costa Rica
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9. Re: Driving from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

Completely agree. Getting there is part of the adventure.

For anyone driving to either Puerto Jimenez, Matapalo, or Carate on the Osa Penenisula, I would recommend stopping at El Mirador Osa. Last July my girlfriend and I were on our way to Corcovado Nat'l Park and we stopped at this place for coffee and breakfast. It was a cute place with a great view of the Gulfo Dulce and the food was really good. They have lodging accommodations, the facilities are very clean, and the people were friendly. It definitely had character.

El Mirador Osa is located on the road to Pto Jimenz. If you are looking for a place to crash on the way to Cocovado/Matapalo, this place looks like a good spot. Definitely stop for food though. Great place to make a pit stop.

10. Re: Driving from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez

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