Realistic travel times
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Nov 16, 2012 8:01 AM Last Post By: wiremu
Nov 14, 2012 8:46 AM
Realistic travel timesIf I arrive at SJO on a Thursday at 2:30, rent a car, can I realistically make it to La Fortuna a little after dark. Is driving this area after dark so bad?
Nov 14, 2012 9:42 AM
1I have exactly the same question - me and my GF are arriving to SJO 2:25 this Sunday, picking up a 4x4 car from Mapache Car rental, and plan to get to La Fortuna. I'm all for it, my GF is against. Heard bad things about driving at night in CR and it is supposed to get dark around 5:30.
Also, what is the ideal route to get to La Fortuna? I read here somewhere that you should go throu San Ramon, taking Rout 1 and then Route 702, but it seems to be closer and with more major roads going north on Route 4 and then Route 142.
Nov 14, 2012 9:44 AM
2figuring it will take about an hour to get out of the airport (unless you have only carryon) and about 1/2 hour to rent your car, that would put you on the road at 4 pm. sunset is around 5:30 pm almost all year round. it's about 3 hours from the airport to the arenal area, depending on where you are going. it would be typical to find some rain/fog around sunset or early evening in the mountainous areas. so for an hour or so, you would be driving in the dark.
can you do it? of course. is it recommended? it kind of depends.... if you are a confident driver and used to driving on narrow, two-lane roads in less than optimum conditions, you will be fine. just slow way the heck down and watch everything all the time. you will encounter pedestrians, bicycles, motorbikes, little trucks with no brake lights and the odd cow or horse in the road. just when you think you know what you are doing, you will encounter a guy in black clothes riding a bicycle with no reflectors and to pass him you must go in the other lane and coming towards you is a big truck going like a bat out of hell. that's what it's like.
Nov 14, 2012 10:01 AM
3wiremu's description is quite accurate. i did this drive last week, and though i'm pretty comfortable on narrow, twisty roads, if our departure from alajuela had been delayed until 2pm or later, we would have left it for the next day.
also, if it's overcast or misty, as it was for the duration of our drive, it'll be dark earlier than 5:30.
Nov 14, 2012 11:38 AM
4You have to allow for changing weather as you gain altitude. I've driven that route in low cloud with almost zero visibility and its not for the faint hearted. Heavy rain is common and treacherous manoeuvrings by other drivers you can take as guaranteed. If you are fatigued after your journey or simply not familiar with tough conditions then you should set off the next day. The pay back is that there is lovely scenery to enjoy on a relaxed daytime drive....
Nov 15, 2012 6:39 AM
5Sounds like a lot depends on customs, car rental delays, and then weather. I'm thinking foggy conditions would be my biggest concern driving at night. If I run into these conditions, will I be able to find any lodging along the way or does it stay pretty rural between San Ramon and La Fortuna?
Nov 15, 2012 6:52 AM
61. look at a good map
2. pick a couple of towns along the way and google them.
i know there is a place to stay in florencia - but not sure about much else. you will always find small "cabinas" in rural areas - but just where is another issue. imagine you are tired and frustrated and looking looking looking for someplace to stop. not my idea of an ideal start to a vacation.
you need to weigh these factors:
how tired you will be after coming off a long flight, how truly important it is for you be in arenal your first night, poor driving conditions which could be very stressful for a (hopefully) stress-free vacation
having an easy first night somewhere near the airport, getting to know costa rica a little bit by spending a little time in alajuela, driving to la fortuna when you are well-rested and it is daylight, being able to see and enjoy all the beautiful scenery between alajuela and la fortuna.
Edited by: wiremu
Nov 15, 2012 7:04 AM
Nov 15, 2012 9:05 AM
Nov 15, 2012 10:18 AM
Nov 15, 2012 10:52 AM
Nov 16, 2012 7:24 AM
11If I still have anyone's ear, I have another question. Since we're staying a night in Alajuela, is there a downtown area with shops and restaurants I should try staying near instead of near the airport?
Nov 16, 2012 7:45 AM
12We stayed at Hotel Los Volcanes for our one night in Alajuela. It's about three blocks from the Parque Central and close to a lot of places to eat and window shop, as well as a couple of banks and supermarkets. Maybe 5-10 minutes from the airport? Our rental agency shuttled us back there for free after we returned the car. It was $60 for a double, including breakfast, and the staff is VERY nice and helpful.
Edited by: bollygrl
Nov 16, 2012 8:01 AM
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