I’ve read that restroom facilities are hard to come by on the road. Bus and gas station toilets are sketchy, but hotels and restaurants may let you use the facilities (buy at least a drink or something). I have need of frequent restroom stops while riding in the car, especially in the mornings, the most likely time to drive from one location to the next. What can I expect between SJ and Cahuita, Cahuita to Braulio Carillo, from there to La Fortuna, driving around Lake Arenal to St. Elena, and then down to El Roble? Second part of this question: What can I expect in the national parcques and trails around Arenal and St. Elena? I am thinking I need to have a “creative plan” in place while traveling by vehicle and I am hoping I can go hiking without worrying too much about finding a place to ‘go’.
Yes, like anywhere the restrooms at bus and gas stations can be pretty nasty, but other times they are fine. We’d recommend bringing some travel sized tissue pouches in case there is no toilet paper. Restaurants are a good bet though and usually you can buy a water or something or just pay them ₡500 (about $1) to use their bathroom. This is very common. Another good option are larger supermarkets if you see them. Between those destinations, you should be able to find some restaurants along the road but there are some longer stretches. Examples after leaving the San Jose area there is a good stretch heading to the Caribbean side before you get to stores/restaurants near Guapiles. Then between Limon and Cahuita there isn’t much. Another area without a lot is the section between Tilaran and Santa Elena. This is a dirt road with not a lot on it so you might have to use the “creative plan” along side the road somewhere. There are bathrooms at the Viento Fresco Waterfalls office/restaurant about half way if that helps. Most National Parks only have facilities near the entrance. In Monteverde, the Curri Cancha reserve has a bathroom facility a ways up the trail also. Hope this helps.