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Getting to Liberia - Papagayo Gulf - Tamarindo - Flamingo- Hotel Riu in Guanacaste and more...



Driving Tips in Costa Rica

Although private transportation is the most expensive means of transport in Costa Rica they provide complete peace of mind. You don't have to worry about directions, road conditions or potentially expensive dents, scratches and break-ins if using a rental car.

So for those of you considering driving in Costa Rica. Is it a good idea or not? In our opinion if you are an experienced driver and maintain some caution on the roads you should manage to avoid trouble. If you are a bit of a nervous driver you may be better off hiring transfers if only to save yourself the stress and allow yourself to fully enjoy your vacation and some of the best fishing tour in Guanacaste. Take in account the following driving tips:

  • If renting a car we highly recommend to get a GPS with it (it will make driving easier for you)
  • Drive Slower
    Drive slower than usual as the roads will be unfamiliar to you.
  • Don't drive at night
    Avoid driving at night as you will find that most roads, even the panamerican highway, are unlit as soon as you leave any built-up area.
    As well as this many roads have unmarked lanes.
    Reflectors warning of bends are non-existent.
    Yet another time to avoid driving at night is if you are are heading up into the hills, for example to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve where certain sections have perilous drop-offs unseen to the visitor's eye.
  • If you’re not comfortable don’t overtake
    The highway is only 2 lanes in most places which means that if you didn’t know how to overtake before you arrived in Costa Rica you will have to learn pretty quick.
    You can frequently get stuck behind 5 or 6 trucks on a not so straight road resulting in much ‘backseat driving’ from your co-travelers. ‘You totally could have gone then!’ and such like mutterings coming from the comfort of the passenger seat.
    At night it's almost impossible if you don’t know the road.
  • Road Potholes
    Road potholing may become a new Costa Rican sport before too long if they get much deeper! O.K. possibly a slight exaggeration, still, don’t take your eye of the road unless you want to do some serious damage to your car.
    Additionally, a car up ahead, swerving to avoid a pothole does not always accompany this with a check on whether anyone is coming up on the inside. In fact using mirrors at all, seems to be viewed with a somewhat ‘take it or leave it’ attitude, so be careful.
  • 4x4 or not?
    You can get away with a standard car if you want to. There are a few roads which can only be traversed in a 4x4 but these are very localized. However, if you don’t want to travel at a snail’s pace on certain roads or to have your internal organs rearranged we would suggest a 4x4 as being a more comfortable mode of travel.
  • Speed Limits and the Costa Rican Traffic Police
    Take note of the speed limit wherever you are as the traffic police are usually out in force with their radar.
    If cars are flashing you from the opposite direction it is usually a warning that the traffic police are up ahead. If you are stopped accept the ticket that the policeman gives you. If he tries to charge you on the spot this is illegal, as he well knows that you are supposed to pay the fine at a State Bank such as Banco Nacional or Banco de Costa Rica. Any money that you give him is going straight into his pocket and is consequently against the law. Frequently, if you continue to insist on being given the proper ticket he will wave you on to save himself the hassle of a bit of ticket writing.

Getting to Tamarindo, JJW Marriot and Hacienda Pinilla from Liberia

International visitors may fly into Daniel Oduber International Airport (1) in Liberia on major airlines such as Delta, Continental, American and others. From the Liberia Airport, turn right heading towards Belen. Once you arrive in Belen (2), turn right following the signs to Tamarindo and other beaches such as Flamingo. Keep going straight until you hit a T in the small town of Santa Ana (3). Turn left staying on the paved road (if you go right, you will be on a dirt road). Keep going straight. You will pass Gas Station Oasis and then go over some low hills with your first views of the Pacific. The next town is Huacas (4). Keep going straight until you see the signs to Tamarindo and turn left. Keep going straight until the next town of Villareal (5) where you will see signs to Tamarindo and turn right (there is a large Hacienda Pinilla sign and a bus stop). From here follow the signs to JJW Marriot and to Hacienda Pinilla.

Getting to Tamarindo from San Jose

International visitors may also fly in to Juan Santamaria International Airport (6) in San Jose. Juan Santamaria has daily flights from most major American airlines and also Copa and TACA as well as some European flights. From San Jose, take the Panamerican Highway North towards San Ramon (7). Keep going following the signs to Esparza. Pass through Esparza (8) and keep going straight following the signs to Limonal. In Limonal (9), turn left just past the Shell Gas Station following the signs to Nicoya, and the Puente Amistad Tempisque. Cross the bridge and keep going straight. There is one fork in the road that is poorly marked on the portion of road past the bridge. You want to go left at the fork. If you go right, there is a gas station but then the road dead ends in a small town. Keep going until you hit the T south of Nicoya. Turn right following the signs to Nicoya (10) and Santa Cruz (11). Pass through Nicoya and Santa Cruz and keep going to Belen then follow steps # 2-3-4 and 5.

Getting to Papagayo Golf from Liberia

Upon leaving the Liberia airport (Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport) you will make a right turn onto the main road.  About 3 miles down the road you will cross a small steel bridge. Just past the bridge you will see a large building on your right (Do-It-Center). There is a road on the right and you will make this right turn. Now, Do-It will be on your left. Go less than a Kilometer and there is a New Road on your left. Small sign Playa Panama. Turn left (if you keep going straight you will end up at the Four Seasons Hotel, Occidental Allegro Hotel and the Exclusive Resort). Road is about 4 miles through fruit farms and sugar cane. This road takes you to Hermosa and Panama beaches. At the end of the road you will come to a crossroad. You have reached the Golfo De Papagayo area.


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Getting to Riu Hotel from Liberia Airport

From LIR go toward the peninsula road...you will see signs to Coco Beach...and Hermosa at your right hand side...make a right...you will pass the Sardinal gas station...about 100 meters from there at your left make a left...all the way to a tiny village...Artola...your will see a blue RIU Hotel sign...the hotel is about 8 minutes from there at the end of the road...total driving time from LIR...around...35 minutes.

Getting to Paradisus Resort & Flamingo Beach from Liberia

nternational visitors may fly into Daniel Oduber International Airport (1) in Liberia on major airlines such as Delta, Continental, American and others. From the Liberia Airport, turn right heading towards Belen. Once you arrive in Belen (2), turn right following the signs to Tamarindo and other beaches such as Flamingo. Keep going straight until you hit a T in the small town of Santa Ana (3). Turn left staying on the paved road (if you go right, you will be on a dirt road). Keep going straight. You will pass Gas Station Oasis and then go over some low hills with your first views of the Pacific. The next town is Huacas (4). Keep going straight until you see a "T" intersection take a right and follow the signs to Brasilito, Flamingo or Reserva Conchal at this point Paradisus Resort is about 5 minutes drive ans Flamingo is about 10 minutes drive.