Costa Rica Road Trip Guide

Costa Rica is just the perfect country to take a road trip. After all, it is full of amazing landscapes with endless paths, surprises, sights to explore and see. For the wanderlust-driven traveler, a road trip in Costa Rica means enjoying the ultimate experience with the windows down and music tunes on in just anywhere and nowhere. With innumerable destination combinations to pick for road trips, Costa Rica should be on the bucket list of every road trip lover. All you need to do is browse the most popular Costa Rican villas to stay at and get ready for an adventure trip to this beautiful country.
Costa Rica Road Trip Guide

The Right Vehicle for Your Road Trip

 Costa Rica is the perfect getaway for outdoor enthusiasts as it is dotted with islands, mountains, beaches, rainforests, cloud forests, and meadows. However, you need to make the right choices when it comes to taking a long trip. Renting a car is the best way to travel in the country. Just get off the beaten path and take scenic detours as per your whims and fancies. A 4×4 vehicle is most suitable when exploring the varied and vast landscape of Costa Rica. However, a lot will rely on where you are going and how long is your road trip. Most of the touristic destinations have paved roads, and Santa Teresa, Osa Peninsula, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Toyota Fortuner make for an excellent choice. For small families or couples, Toyota Rav4, Suzuki Jimny, and Hyundai Tucson/Creta are some recommendations.

Design your own itinerary

Costa Rica offers plenty of road trips and destinations, and it means that one can steer in whatever direction they want. The good news is that Costa Rica is a relatively easy country to explore and navigate. Once you have explored the capital, San Jose, you can set off on your road trip to explore exceptional Costa Rica and its nature. Almost all road trips initiate from San Jose.
  • San Jose to Sarapiqui The 50 miles trip from San Jose to Sarapiqui can be finished in about 2 hours. You can stay at the Rainforest Lodge and the Costa Rican villas that make for comfortable accommodations. Explore the outdoors to get a unique taste of Costa Rica. Take the Chocolate Tour and walk across the suspension bridges to learn about the local cacao plants and the artisanal creations. Go for the evening bat tour to get up-close with the winged creatures. You can walk through the forests before heading for the next destination.
  • Monteverde to Playa Grande The road trip would take about 5 hours and can be a rough ride excuse of all those bumps and potholes. However, you are rewarded with a stunning view of the long stretch of Guanacaste’s Gold Coast. Enjoy swimming and, surfing and get the chance to spot some sea turtles Visit the Playa Grande, a protected sanctuary for the Leatherback Sea Turtles that are endangered. Learn about the journey of the baby turtles as they hatch from the eggs and make way to the seas. Take surfing lessons with the Tamarindo Surf School.
  • San José to La Fortuna The distance of about 135 kilometers can take about 3-4 hours. The drive from San José to La Fortuna is easy. However, there are points where the road can get a bit curvy. The road trip is a must for those who love nature and adventure. The trip will take you towards the Arenal Volcano National Park, which is made of primary forests filled with wildlife and exotic plants. Get ready to enjoy horseback riding, white-water rafting, walking on the hanging bridges, and waterfall repelling excursions. There are plenty of options for accommodations such as villas, boutique hotels, and resorts.
  • Sarapiqui to Arenal Volcano The 61 miles road trip will take about an hour or on. Once you reach your destination, you can stay at the Arenal National Park and enjoy some stunning views of the volcano. Head toward La Fortuna to reach the Arenal National Park. Take a look at the Arenal Volcano, which happens to be one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Appreciate the stunning displays of nature in the red-hot tumbling rocks of the volcano and the forest trails. Enjoy a cannoning adventure, rappelling in waterfalls in Fortuna. Get a relaxing spa-like experience as you soak yourself natural springs and pools created by the underground Tabacon River.
  • La Fortuna to Monteverde The trip is about 148 kilometers and will take about three to four hours. It is joy to reach Monteverde, a cloud-forest reserve that attracts scientists, bird watchers, and nature enthusiasts. After the long drive, it is indeed a mystical experience to spend the time in the mystical forests that looks like a fairy tale. You walk inside the clouds literally at times as you cross the dense virgin forests. Get a great view of the Caribbean and Pacific coast from an elevated viewpoint on a bright day. Enjoy the trek through the forest on suspension bridges as well as the zip line canopy tours. It is must to visit the famous cheese factory and the butterfly garden.
You can get someone to drive you around if you are not comfortable with the idea of driving a rented car in Costa Rica or do not want to take the stress of driving in a foreign country. The driving experience can be different for the first time visitors as Costa Rica carries a different driving culture. Roads can get crowded, and none seems to follow the signals and many places do not have correct road signs. Driving does give you freedom but you need to take extra responsibility too.

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