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road conditions

altoona, pa
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55 posts
45 reviews
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road conditions

Hello everyone! My wife and I are planning a trip to Costa Rica in February and have a few questions about getting around. One of the flights we are considering arrives at SJO around 4:00 p.m. Would there be enough time to go through customs, immigration, pick up our rental car and make the trip to Poas lodge before dark? I can't imagine the difficulty driving in the dark in a place as unfamiliar as Costa Rica.

Also, the next day we are planning to view Poas volcano, visiting La Paz waterfalls and then drive to the Arenal area. I have heard that the road from La Paz to Fortuna was pretty much destroyed by an earthquake a few years back. Is this road safe to travel now or should I plan to travel to Arenal the long way around?

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Costa Rica
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Poas Volcano Lodge
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#1 of 5 Speciality lodging in Vara Blanca
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Alajuela
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for Alajuela
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1. Re: road conditions

OK flights arriving at 4 clear the airport by about 4:40pm . . . you will be upwards of an hour more dinking with car issues, credit cards, CDW decisions etc. It will be dark by 6pm about the time you start heading up to Poas.

That said - it is not advisable to drive in the dark here if you are unfamiliar with our peculiar driving habits, road drop offs etc BUT the road up to Poas is easy. With a GPS it would be like falling off a log, not perhaps the best analogy :-)).

Only you can make that call.

The road north from La Paz is all fixed if you are not nervous about narrow mountain roads - it is lovely.

Aw just do it!

Berni

Alajuela

p.s. be aware it is not advisable to leave stuff in your car - try to leave your stuff at your hotel

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Alajuela
Alajuela
Province of Alajuela, Costa Rica
San Jose, Costa Rica
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2. Re: road conditions

At arrival can be a little to close to be on the road while will be dark...or almost dark...from SJO TO POAS about 45 minutes...

The road by Vara Blanca to Sarapiqui as you mentioned was totally destry...now days the road is in ok condition....even that I drove the road lately ...I still nervous about it...please once you are here check the road condition...then maybe try it or go back to Alajuela and take the San Ramon or Zarcero road

Roadadvisor

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Juan Santamaria Intl Airport
Juan Santamaria Intl...
San Jose, Costa Rica
Alajuela
Alajuela
Province of Alajuela, Costa Rica
Slovenia
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for Costa Rica
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60 reviews
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3. Re: road conditions

I would not attempt to drive to Poas same day as your arrival, if in your shoes. Not only you driving start time might be delayed (flight delay, customs, immigration slow, rental car company slow or late), also it is very probable that it will rain in that area in the afternoon. That means even less daily light, and slippery narrow roads. Much better is to get a car, find a nearby hotel in Alajuela (plenty of them in 15 min drive circle) and then start your drive very early, like 7 am, after a nice sleep and a tasty Tico breakfast. It will be a beautiful sunny morning, and wow, what a views on your way (hey, you should start 30 min earlier, for having time to take all those photos of gorgeous countryside). Be at the gate to Poas Volcano at 8 am (when they opens) for having best chance of seeing the crater lake (later it is usually obscured by thick fog or clouds).

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Alajuela
Alajuela
Province of Alajuela, Costa Rica
Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano
3,113 Reviews
Poas Volcano National Park, Costa Rica
altoona, pa
Level Contributor
55 posts
45 reviews
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4. Re: road conditions

Thank you everyone! Very good information. I believe I will look at flights that arrive earlier in the day. It is good to know that the north road is now passable.

5. Re: road conditions

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