Gringos Guide To Driving Mexico, Central America & Costa Rica
San Jose - Caribbean
Costa Rica

San Jose – Caribbean

DRIVING TIME: 4 hours
KILOMETERS: 134
MILES: 83 Hwy: CA 1—CA 2

San Jose - Caribbean

This is a beautiful drive through mountains (you actually go through a mountain), banana and mango plantations, and lush tropical forests. The major problem is finding your way through San Jose and to the Caribbean route. You want to follow any sign you see for Limon. Travel north, up Avenida Central, to the traffic circle in the center of town. At the traffic circle, follow the road around to the left. This road takes you to the junction point where the road for Limon is located. Be prepared to ask for directions.

Learned Lessons

Once you are in Limon—get out of Limon. This is not why you came to the Caribbean. There is a traffic signal, the third when you enter the town, with a fruit stand on the corner. You want to turn right at the corner and travel south toward Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. 

Cahuita National Park is located at the northern end of Cahuita. There is a trail that follows the coast for several kilometers and empties onto a deserted palm-lined beach. Along the trail, you may encounter monkeys, sloths, and giant mosquitoes—don’t forget your repellent. Cahuita is about one hour from Limon, and Puerto Viejo is another 45 minutes south of Cahuita. Puerto Viejo offers great surfing (Salsa Brava) and festive nightlife at low prices. Those going to Puerto Viejo from Cahuita must travel back to the main road and turn left at the junction. Be prepared for a bumpy ride.

Special Directions

Take precautions while traveling these roads. Watch your speed and make sure your vehicle papers are in order. The police always set up checkpoints in this region. You are close to Panama, and you will most likely be solicited by drug dealers in the coastal towns. Be cautious and don’t forget that you’re in a foreign country. Drug offenders are not treated nicely by authorities.

Next Section of Drive

San Jose - Panama Border

San Jose – Panama Border