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

    Costa Rica Border – San Jose

    DRIVING TIME: 5 hoursKILOMETERS: 289MILES: 179HWY: CA 1 Follow the signs toward Alajuela and San Jose. This road leads you away from San Mateo and up into the highlands. The road is well-marked, but the ascent is steep. When close to San Jose, you will pass the airport, about 15 minutes from town. Plan your drive into San Jose on a weekday and not during the rush hour. The traffic can be horrific. Like all Latin American capitals, driving in San Jose is not for the weak or impatient. The roads are congested and confusing. Expect to pull over several times to ask for directions. Attendants at gas stations are…

  • Costa Rica Border - Jaco & South
    Costa Rica

    Costa Rica Border – Jaco & South

    DRIVING TIME: 5 hoursKILOMETERS: 289MILES: 179HWY: CA 1 After finishing your entry requirements, follow the signs on CA 1 to Liberia. From Liberia, continue south 128k to Esparza. At Esparza, head for San Mateo. San Mateo is the junction point for San Jose or the Pacific coast. Beach or city?  Those traveling to the Pacific coast must turn right at the junction point of San Mateo and head for Jaco. The three main travel destinations on this route are Jaco, Quepos, and Dominical. All three locations are worth a visit. You can also drive to the Panamanian border via this route, but the roads worsen the further south you travel.…

  • Costa Rica Border - Tamarindo
    Costa Rica

    Costa Rica Border – Tamarindo

    DRIVING TIME: 4 hoursKILOMETERS: 162MILES: 100HWY: CA 1—CA 151—CA 21—CA 152 As mentioned above, you will come across several checkpoints traveling away from the Nicaraguan border. Show the officials the necessary paperwork, and you should have no problems. From Penas Blancas follow the signs to Liberia. In Liberia, you can fill your gas tank and stomach before continuing to Tamarindo. In the center of town, turn right at the major intersection and follow the signs to Tamarindo. This same route will take you to Coco Beach, Playa Junquillal, Samara, Nicoya, or any other location on the Nicoya Peninsula. There are so many great places to explore on the Nicoya Peninsula.…