Costa Rica road trip

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What to do in Costa Rica?

Welcome to our tours page of Costa Rica. You are about to set foot in one of the world’s most beautiful ecological gems. The land which Christopher Columbus named the “rich coast” is now seen as one of the safest and most progressive countries in South America. The only thing to be found in Costa Rica is the Pura Vida (literally “pure life”), an optimistic zest for life in all circumstances… The Costa Ricans (or Ticos for insiders) are constantly cheerful and welcoming to visitors! Costa Rica was also the first nation in the world to dissolve its army, a testament to their commitment to peace and prosperity above all else. It is regularly classed as one of the top countries for standards of living, and has a remarkable development model that prioritizes education, health care and protection of the environment. If you are a nature lover, you will find yourself in heaven… Costa Rica is a pioneering country in the field of ecotourism, and has an extremely rich biodiversity. Several unique species can be found in some of the country’s 33 national parks and reserves: no less than 25% of the Costa Rican territory is protected! To visit Costa Rica is to discover a wild paradise in which people are truly happy – what more could you want?

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When to go in Costa Rica?

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Start planning your road trip in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a dream destination for adventure lovers. Featuring 19,700 square miles of hills, forest, volcanoes, mountains, and plains, a road trip in Costa Rica is a great way to get to know the country.

What makes Costa Rica a great destination for a road trip?

A road trip in Costa Rica is a fantastic way to see the diverse offerings of this Central American country. Driving not only offers you the freedom to explore beaches, volcanoes, and national parks at your own pace, but it also makes for a more comfortable experience. What's more, it is easy to navigate the country thanks to its good road networks and signage, so a road trip can even be relaxing.

The best road trips in Costa Rica

Immerse yourself in buzzing cities, drive along the gorgeous coast, hike through verdant rainforests, and get inside a volcano crater. There are hundreds of things to do on a Costa Rica road trip, and these are the best routes to try. 

San Jose to La Fortuna

After sightseeing in the capital, San Jose, drive towards La Fortuna. The 80-mile journey will take you through small towns and along some scenic roads. Upon arriving, explore the majestic Arenal Volcano National Park, soak in hot springs, and visit the La Fortuna Waterfall.

San Jose to Irazu Volcano National Park

The 33-mile journey to this volcano passes through the towns of San Pedro, Tres Rios, Tierra Blanca, and Chicua. Navigate the winding roads, stopping at parks and scenic hiking trails before reaching the summit of Irazu.

La Fortuna to Monteverde

This 76-mile drive is an exciting combination of paved and dirt roads. You’ll pass verdant hills, lush jungles, coffee fields, farms, and waterfalls. In Monteverde itself, hike through the rainforest, go birdwatching, or walk along the forest canopy at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

San Jose to Tamarindo

This drive covers 161 miles of paved and occasional dirt roads, passing through the towns of Canas and Nicoya. It’s an enjoyable drive, but the highlight is at the end in Tamarindo, where you can enjoy surfing on the waves that lap its gorgeous sandy beaches, or go wildlife watching.

San Jose to Manuel Antonio National Park

A coastal route that spans 106 miles, driving from San Jose to this amazing national park takes you via Playa Herradura, Jaco, and Playa Hermosa before climbing up to the city of Quepos then down to Manuel Antonio. Relish the gorgeous white sandy beaches in the national park, as well as its thick rainforest and incredible views of the Pacific Ocean. There’s plenty of fascinating, colorful wildlife here too. 

Tips and advice for touring Costa Rica by car

Rental cars are available at airports and locations in the major cities. Some companies will also deliver a vehicle to your hotel. Both automatic and manual cars are available. A 4WD vehicle is recommended for most trips because dirt roads are common in more remote locations. You’ll need to drive on the right, and note that signs are usually in Spanish with distances marked in kilometers.

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