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San Jose to Arenal Transfer

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San Jose to Arenal Transfer

Hello,

I am arriving in San Jose at 11:30 AM and would like to immediately travel to Arenal Volcano. Is it possible to find a shuttle/transfer at the airport that could take us to the volcano? Or, would you recommend staying the day/night in San Jose and traveling to the volcano the next morning. Either way, we are planning to spend two nights in Arenal. From everything I have read there isn't much to do in/around San Jose so was thinking this is the best option.

Please advise if you have any suggestions of shuttles/transfers and if this sounds like a good idea.

Thanks!

K & B

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San Jose
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Arenal Volcano National Park
Arenal Volcano National...
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1. Re: San Jose to Arenal Transfer

OP, you will receive many suggestions here, including some from commercial members who promote themselves...some are good, some, not so. if you speak even basic Spanish, it will be a help for you, if not, many you will meet do speak some.

My suggestion (and again you will receive many) is to contact Darren at The Hotel Castillo in Barrio Amon, arrange for the first night there as there are many things to see downtown, from the National Theater, to a great pedestrian mall/walk, and Central market. Darren has a great guy who works from the hotel, Giovanni, an amiable and completely trustworthy Tico who has a comfortable van and he can transfer you to Arenal for a day or two. The advantage of someone from CR guiding you is that you can usually strike a better deal for a hotel stay, and avoid some of the really tacky places you will be dragged to by some as "they are on the way"..which again..isn't true. I have traveled with Giovanni and if I wasn't living here, I would use him to see the country. make sure you visit one of the hot springs/pools in the Arenal/La Fortuna areas,,,,great for relaxing and to make the folks back home a little jealous. Enjoy your stay. You can reach Darren through the website http://www.hotelcastillo.biz/..

but I recommend spending the nickel and calling direct Phone: 011 (506) 2221-5141.

Edited: 03 September 2011, 19:06
Uvita, Costa Rica
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2. Re: San Jose to Arenal Transfer

Hi, you have 3 options for transfer to Arenal.

1) Rent a Car on your arrival and drive to Arenal, as you arrive at 1130am you should be curbside by 1230. This will also give you freedom around Arenal to explore the area and various atractions, hot springs, etc.

2) Use a shared shuttle like www.easyridecr.com , www.interbusonline.com or www.graylinecostarica.com. Look at the schedulles and see which one works best.

3) Hire a private driver to meet and greet you at the airport and take you to your hotel in Arenal. There are various operators, the only one I have had a great experience is Toucan Limo Service - www.tucanlimoservices.com AKA Roadadvisor on this forum and highly recomended by many other members.

You have pleanty of time to get to Arenal and really no need to hang around San Jose, i would recomend you head straighnt out to arenal.

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3. Re: San Jose to Arenal Transfer

Thak you for a nice question...

Agree with Tikivillas and by the way thank you for recommending my transporation services.

Who ever you hire...be sure to verify that they are certified and aprove by ICT ( Costa Rica Tourism Buraeu) to transport people around our country...maybe some recoomendetions by great friends...but that does not mean they are legal to transport people...maybe to ride as friends ...

Most of the times hotels or people that work at hotels...are making commisiosn...

So be extra carefulll ,maybe nice people ...but they are looking for a commision!

Just deal direct with tour operators or transport companies...you do not need a middle person...

I do not think is necesary to hang around San Jose for the afternoon at the end you will be spending on a Hotel room..etc...

INTERBUS is a great shuttle company...and they have several departures a day.

roadadvisor

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4. Re: San Jose to Arenal Transfer

I rest my case. Have fun OP.

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5. Re: San Jose to Arenal Transfer

You arrive quite early during the day, so you may be able to get a shuttle in the afternoon. Try Interbus Costa Rica or Anywhere Costa Rica. There is also Grey Line Costa Rica shuttles, but they only have a shuttle at 8:45am going to Arenal (as far as I can see from the website). You could also take a local bus. Buses in Costa Rica are very good and it will take you about 4 hours to get to Arenal.

Not sure if you will be in San Jose or Alajuela, as the SJO airport is in Alajuela. Alajuela is 30Km from SJ. If you are in San Jose, you could go to the Gold Museum, walk around the city (during the day only) and visit the market. In the evening, depending where you are, you could take a taxi to Jazz Cafe and enjoy a night out / dinner / drinks.

If you are in Alajuela, you could visit the town centre, go to the Britt or Doka coffee tours or Zoo Ave.

Enjoy!!

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Costa Rica
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6. Re: San Jose to Arenal Transfer

I wouldn't count on the Gold Museum OP, it's been closed for renos. As to some very good suggestions above, I will remind the OP that using a scheduled transfer service means that you have a deadline to be picked up, and should you come across something on the way and wish to stop...the shuttles won't pull off. A personal driver will concentrate on what you want to do and see, and if it means pulling onto a road less traveled to see something...they comply. Try asking the Grey Line guys to pull over...won't happen.

The Jazz Cafe is a good suggestion, provided you have deep pockets for the night, perhaps Cafe Mundo, or even the Saturday night music at El Patio might work, if you arrive on the weekend. As to safety and security, I find downtown SJ a lively and unique city, and if you heed the advice of the hotel and use licensed taxis you shouldn't have any trouble.

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7. Re: San Jose to Arenal Transfer

I'm not saying you should not stay overnight in San Jose that day/night. I AM saying that you don't NEED to do it that way.

I've only dine it once, but I recall the ride from SJO to our hotel in La Fortuna took about 2.5 hours. Surely you'd be able to enjoy yourself if you get to the Arenal area in the middle of the afternoon. This is why I say you don't NEED to stay overnight in San Jose if your flight lands at 11:30 in the morning.

Our flight landed around 1:30 p.m. or so. After getting our luggage, clearing customs, and then waiting way too long for our pre-arranged and pre-paid private transfer, we arrived at our hotel around 5 p.m. or so, if memory serves.

I will strongly recommend AGAINST booking a ride with JJ Tours, as my travel agent booked for me. They were supposed to be there waiting for us and were not. I had a local phone number for their office buy there was no answer. When someone did finally show up with my name and hotel name on a sign, he walked us across the street towards the parking garage and then down the street away from it. He then calls someone on his cellphone and about 10 minutes layer a driver shows up and the man tells him where to go. As we get into the vehicle, the original man gets in my face and sharply demands a tip from me. I shrugged or something, and he angrily said, "I find you a ride and you no tip me?" I was intimidated by him, and rightly or wrongly I gave him a tip because, frankly, I was scared of him and the way he was acting. We weren't around crowd if people, we were up th road from the terminal, it was my first hour in a country I was unfamiliar with, and I didn't know what would happen next.

Needless to say, I will never recommend JJ Tours. The driver he subcontracted, however, was friendly and helpful and I wish I had noted HIS name and contact information so I could publically recommend him as a driver.

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8. Re: San Jose to Arenal Transfer

So sorry to heard about the problem with JJ Tours...I Have no idea who they may be...really nothing I can said...bad or good...just SORRY

Now you may know why I always suggest to hire companies that are certified by ICT the Costa Rica Tourism Bureau...at least you can send a complaint ...

Incredible how rude some people can be...once again SORRY!

roadadvisor

Edited: 05 September 2011, 00:48
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9. Re: San Jose to Arenal Transfer

Seconding Tikivilla's car rental suggestion. The drive from SJO to Arenal was fairly easy on well-paved roads. I believe we paid a nominal toll somewhere along this route---the equivalent of 35 cents, I think. Assuming that your plane lands on time, you should arrive in Arenal long before dark. We returned a rental car at SJO, so I don't know the pick-up procedure, but it seems that most of the rental car firms are located off the airport grounds so that they can save the renter from paying a tax or surcharge. Rental car shuttle drivers greeted us as soon as we walked out the door of the airport. (Granted, this was at LIR. SJO is a much larger airport so things may work differently. Also, have singles in hand for tipping.)

Rent from one of the large national name chains, book an SUV (not mandatory but easier going for the high clearance on some of the rutted dirt roads), reserve a GPS and check with your credit card companies before departing. Your charge card will probably cover the extra insurance, but the mandatory government insurance is not covered by credit cards and will run you approximately $10/day. The larger car rental companies may allow drop-off at your next destination, for a fee.

Having a car allowed us the flexibility to fit more in a day in the Arenal area. Of course, if you are a solo traveler, the economics of renting may be cost-prohibitive. The car made economic sense for my family of four. Happy travels!

Edited: 05 September 2011, 02:38
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10. Re: San Jose to Arenal Transfer

Re. spending an afternoon in San Jose or in La Fortuna, my vote goes to San Jose. Mostly in La Fortuna on an average afternoon there is rain and views of clouded volcano. If it rains in San Jose there are several museums as described in post no.6. Then again if in La Fortuna you may start day no.2 with activities rather then transportation.

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