Costa Rica - Caribbean?

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Costa Rica - Caribbean?

Last Post This thread is marked as being about Costa Rica
1. Posted by pschwerdt (Budding Member 26 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hello, I am heading to Costa Rica in a few weeks, and I have been thinking about making a quick trip to the Caribbean. Our trip plan is on the Pacifc side of the country, but I have to head back to San Jose one day early because 2 people in our party have to catch a flight the next day. But the rest of us still have 1 night to kill, plus a rental car at our disposal.

So what I was thinking is after driving to San Jose in the morning and dropping off our departing friends, would it be worth it to drive over to the Caribbean and spend a night there before the last night we have near the airport? Is it too long to drive? Are there any places like Limon or Cahuita that are are worth the trip for just one night? Because if we don't do something like this, it'll be 2 nights in San Jose... no thanks.

Any ideas?

2. Posted by Code (Budding Member 23 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


The Caribean coast of CR is about 4 to 5 hours from San Jose. You can be able to reach that place -like Cahuita- it is a beautiful place. However, please drive defensively and always expect a cow, horse, oxcart, slow moving truck, a cyclist or a broken down vehicle around the bend. This highway should be considered dangerous because the fog, the curves and the terrain, so one more time, drive with caution :-)

Enjoy CR :)

3. Posted by fraluchi (Full Member 132 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I always recommend visitors of the Caribbean to return to San Jose one day before their departure. The Braulio Carillo highway is a risky piece of road, often blocked by landslides, and the deviation over Turrialba is a lengthy and painful experience.
Therefore, spend the last night somewhere nearer the airport (Alajuela, San Antonio de Belen, etc.) and make an excursion to the INBioParque in Santo Domingo de Heredia, the Heredia mountains, the butterfly farm (La Guacima de Alajuela), the Doka coffee farm (North of Alajuela) or the La Paz Waterrfall gardens (Vara Blanca, road to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui).
Have a pleasant stay !

4. Posted by rogerd (Budding Member 5 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


Limon is a port city that most don't enjoy. Cahuita and Puerto Viejo are surfer/backpacker hamlets with rum, reggae, and ganja freely flowing. Manzanillo, at the end of the road, is a fishing village with no nightlife but the prettiest, calmest beaches on the Caribbean side.

I agree with the other posters, one night is too short for the 4 hour (more or less..depends on how you drive) trip to Manzanillo/ Puerto Viejo area. This area has fantastic hiking trails and I especially like the Gondaca-Manzanillo Nature reserve. Beautiful but rustic part of the country.

As mentioned in the prior post I think you might enjoy the La Paz waterfall gardens and/or the Doka Coffee plantation and would make a better day trip if you have never been...

Have a fun vacation!


[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please... ]

5. Posted by pschwerdt (Budding Member 26 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Thanks everyone... I had a feeling it would be too much driving and not enough time. I think we will just spend our last 2 nights near the airport, and maybe spend our last day visiting the waterfalls and/or one of the nearby volcanos.

6. Posted by rogerd (Budding Member 5 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!


Be sure to arrive really early to see Irazu or Poas. The clouds generally roll in by 10:00am and obstruct the volcanic lake and crater. Makes for lousy viewing and pictures!

Have fun!


[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please... ]