A round trip from San Jose to Puerto Jiménez in Costa Rica and back costs $91.15 based on current gas prices, according to trip calculations on travelmath.com. Going on a road trip in Costa Rica is a great way to enjoy scenic views, from picturesque mountain towns to lush rainforests, wildlife, lakes, and stunning beaches. Besides, some of the most fascinating and less-explored destinations are accessible by car only. And for the adventurous tourist, nothing can substitute a road trip when it comes to freedom and creating lasting memories. However, to enjoy the thrill of road tripping, you must learn a few things to make traveling to Costa Rica easier and prepare in advance. To make your vacation memorable, check these tips for planning an unforgettable Costa Rican road trip from San Jose to Puerto Jiménez.
Pick the right car
Choosing a road trip car is an important step to take if you want to enjoy a stress-free journey. Therefore, take time to research to know more about dependable, fuel-efficient, and safe vehicles. Based on your needs and budget, you can decide to invest in a new or used car. If you opt for a second-hand automobile, be sure to check the vehicle’s history, mileage, and value. Also, get to know how long gas has been sitting in the car before making a purchase. Note that gasoline lasts for three to six months, while diesel has a shelf life of up to a year before it starts degrading. To identify bad fuel in cars, check if the ignition is working correctly. Vehicles with bad fuel will fail to start, and the ignition will be hesitant. The fuel will also appear darker and have a foul smell.
Choose a route
Driving to Puerto Jimenez from Costa Rica takes about eight hours if you drive non-stop, and there are two routes you can choose. The first option is to drive towards Cartago and take the Inter American Highway. From there, you’ll drive for four hours to San Isidro del General, then to Dominical, going south to Cortez. Once you’re in Cortez, drive to Palmar Norte and continue to a service station in Chacharita town. Continue driving 30 miles until you reach where the pavement ends at Rincon and drive along the dirt road to La Palma and continue to Puerto Jimenez.
Alternatively, drive to Cartago and then to the Inter American Highway to San Isidro del General. Instead of passing through Dominical, choose the Buenos Aires and Palmar Norte route and head to Chacharita. From here, drive to Rincon and follow the dirt road for another 20 miles to La Palma through to Puerto Jiménez. Remember, the route you choose when creating your Costa Rican road trip itinerary will depend on your interests and your time to travel.
Highlight must-see places
Before hitting the open road for a great adventure, list down must-see attractions in Costa Rica, especially along the route you’ll follow from San Jose to Puerto Jimenez. This trick helps you plan for multiple pit stops so you can explore famous sites and undiscovered places. For instance, you could take a detour and explore the Irazu volcano, Cachi dam, or Orosi valley in Cartago rather than driving directly to the Inter American Highway.
While there are no major tourist attractions in San Isidro del General, the busy market town is an ideal place to grab lunch, withdraw cash from an ATM, or fill your tank. You can also climb Cerro Chirripo, Central America’s tallest peak. There are also plenty of things to do in Palmar Norte, La Palma, and Puerto Jiménez, so make sure to research in advance.
Planning a road trip is key to enjoying beautiful sceneries from natural landscapes to wildlife, lush rainforests, and fascinating mountain towns in Costa Rica. With this in mind, choose a destination and map your route carefully. Also, write down must-see places, invest in the right car, and pack smart.