Your itinerary makes sense to us. A few things:
- Playa Hermosa to Nosara: Hiring a private driver is a good idea since there are 8 of you. Keep in mind though that Nosara is spread out so depending on where you’re staying, you may want a car to get around locally. There is a rental car company in Nosara.
- Staying overnight in San Jose on the way to Puerto Viejo: This makes sense since it’s a really long drive. Downtown San Jose is actually a really cool place to visit for a day or 2. There are lots of great restaurants, museums, and parks. We recommend Hotel Aranjuez for quiet stay in downtown that is still very close to attractions. There is a fantastic French restaurant right around the corner and many others close by too. We recently wrote a post that will give you some more good info: How to Spend 1 or 2 Days in San Jose.
- Puerto Viejo: You’ll like Blue Conga- it’s in a good location just outside town on the beach. And it’s close enough to Sloth Sanctuary. The only other town in the area with hotels is Cahuita, which is much smaller.
- Car for time in PV: You’ll want a car to get around in Puerto Viejo and to the Sloth Sanctuary which is set on it own. There are lots of rental car companies in San Jose. One you should look at is Adobe. We get a discount through them, and since you won’t need 4×4, the price should be pretty good. There’s more info here on our website: https://www.twoweeksincostarica.com/costa-rica-rental-car-discount/. Or just ask us to get you a quote.
Hope that makes you less overwhelmed. You’re definitely on the right track but try to get everything in place soon because the holidays are very busy here and things are booking up fast. Remember too, that if you need more help, we offer itinerary services.