Hello, Matt and Jenn! Your information has been the most helpful by far as we plan our first trip to Costa Rica. We are a group of 10, arriving in July, and we have heard conflicting stories about driving from SJO to Dominical during rainy season. Some have put the fear of God into us, saying there may be washed out roads, etc; others have said, “no problem!”
Our three choices are: 1) renting two cars and driving to/from Dominical; 2) using a private shuttle for the drive from/to SJO and renting in Dominical for exploring; or 3) using private shuttle from SJO, renting in Dominical, and driving ourselves back to SJO once we are more familiar w/ the roads. What do you recommend?
And, if a private shuttle is part of your answer, how much more do 10-passenger shuttles cost over the 5-passenger shuttles, which you’ve mentioned are in the $250 range?
There are two routes that you can use to get to Dominical from the Central Valley (San Jose). One of them goes up and over the mountains and is probably the one that you have heard crazy stories about. That road (Route 2) can have landslides and washouts during the rainy months. The other way, and the one we recommend, is to take Route 1 to Route 27 to Route 34. This way goes along the coast and is much flatter and easier to travel. Still we don’t recommend driving at night because the markings on the road can be bad, there is very little lighting, and if it is raining, it can be very hard to see. But during the day, the coastal route is the way to go and pretty easy.
If you still don’t feel comfortable or get into the airport later, you could take a shuttle. For a group that size you would need a mini bus (so that you have room for all the luggage) so the price would be around $565. The problem with these buses is that they are not 4×4 and I suspect that with a group that size, you might be renting a house up a 4×4 only road. If that is true, you could have them drop you off at the rental car agency if the timing works. Otherwise renting the two cars from the airport location is probably the way to go. If you do that, make sure to check out our Rental Car Discount with Adobe. If you do need the shuttle, just contact us through our Shuttle Page and we will help you there. Hope this helps!