Hello Jenn and Matt:
Greetings from snowy Boston. Thanks for the great content and help here with your website, books and blog.
I will be visiting Costa Rica in the middle of May for a business trip to San Jose area. I have decided to add two days to the front side of that trip to explore a little bit of the country. I’ve chosen to visit the Quepos area and see both Manuel Antonio and Rainmaker, which I read are both really spectacular.
My questions are thus logistical:
First, does it make sense to rent a car at SJO airport and drive to Quepos and then have wheels to visit Rainmaker and other places along the way? The alternative was taking a bus from SJO to Quepos, and then renting a car locally to reach Rainmaker. But some local guidance on this would be helpful.
Next, do you know if Adobe Car Rental has a location at SJO? I followed the links from your page but the resulting website for booking didn’t stipulate the location other than San Jose. I could easily call them but figured you may know this off hand.
Thanks again for your help.
Either way would work, you could rent the car from the SJO Airport location (yes they do have one, see our Car Rental Discount Page for info about the pickup process) and drive or wait until you get to Quepos/Manuel Antonio (they have an office in Quepos). Some people like to avoid the longer drives and rent locally. It would definitely be nice to have a rental for Rainmaker since it if pretty far away from town and you’d be able to go at your own pace once you get there. Have an excellent trip!
Hi Jenn and Matt,
Thanks for the recommendations about Adobe and driving to Quepos from SJO. First, Adobe was flawless. The car was new and clean. I recommend to all readers they consider purchasing the fuel option ($45), which eliminates the stress of finding gas when returning the car. Unlike the USA where the fuel option is highway robbery, this was reasonably priced considering the convenience. Also, the staff at the Alajuela office (SJO Airport) were awesome! Helped me get a taxi to my next destination when I returned the car.
Reader Tip: When you leave customs at the SJO airport walk past all the people asking if you want a taxi and continue along the sidewalk until you see an Adobe representative in a blue shirt holding an Adobe signboard. He/she will help get your stuff loaded into the van, or give you an update when the next van arrives.
For those driving route 27 to route 34 to Quepos (or Manuel Antonio), the roads were easy to follow with good surfaces. Beforehand I downloaded offline maps into Google Maps. But the cell connections were great the whole trip. Having Colones in hand was helpful given there are about three tolls in each direction. I recall the fees ranged from about 450 to 800 Colones per toll. And of course you’re right they didn’t care about receiving USD – and giving change back in Colones!
Most guidebooks advise to avoid driving at night. I think that makes sense given there seem to be lot of pedestrians on the side of the roads as well as bikers, especially on RT 34, which is the only road in those areas between towns. There are really no shoulders on the roads and instead deep drainage ditches, which are good things to avoid entering. Readers should also note that Costa Rica is basically due South of Florida and would otherwise be in the Eastern Time zone. But, it’s in the equivalent of the Mountain Time zone. This means it gets dark early – like about 6:15 PM. Also, being closer to the equator means less twilight. Just plan.
Quepos was a good launch point to the regional attractions. And Rainmaker was amazing!