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Driving to San Jose Airport - mountains or coast?

New Jersey
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Driving to San Jose Airport - mountains or coast?

We will be leaving from the mountains of Dominical to return to the airport next Saturday. We arrived this past Tuesday and drove along the coast because we are currently staying in Uvita.

I'm told when we leave Dominical we could take a route through the mountains (which we would prefer for different scenery) or go back along the coast again. Based on where the house is located I'm told it will be the same time - about 3.5-4 hours.

So my question for anyone local or who has made this trip is whether or not either one has any advantages? What kind of traffic should we expect on a Saturday. When we were leaving the airport Tuesday around 3 PM traffic was terrible on the opposite side coming into San Jose. I'm very worried about a Saturday morning although I'm hoping, if anything, most locals would be headed OUT of San Jose and towards the beaches on the weekend.

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Dominical
Dominical
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Uvita
Uvita
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
11 replies to this topic
Slovenia
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1. Re: Driving to San Jose Airport - mountains or coast?

If you are not flying out the same day, then take the mountain road. It is more scenic one, but you will need to cross San Jose before arriving at the airport. If you are flying out the same day, then use the coastal road.

And for sure the mountain road is longer then the coastal one.

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San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Canada
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2. Re: Driving to San Jose Airport - mountains or coast?

The length of the trip over the mountains will depend on where you start from. Weekends are the best time to cross San Jose but you will still need a good navigation system and patience.

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San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
San Jose, Costa Rica
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3. Re: Driving to San Jose Airport - mountains or coast?

Love the two ways and I drive them very often…I do not like at all driving across Cartago and San Jose…terrible traffic even sundays…

IMO and I just did it from Uvita yesterday…take 34 and 27…easy and nice…

roadadvisor

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Cartago
Cartago
Province of Cartago, Costa Rica
San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Uvita
Uvita
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Chicago,IL
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4. Re: Driving to San Jose Airport - mountains or coast?

The traffic will make you cry! The 4 hour estimate is a joke! Driving that last 20 miles will take 2 hours. No joke. The mountains are beautiful though.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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5. Re: Driving to San Jose Airport - mountains or coast?

Well I drive there very very often…NO JOKE…but agree the time can be horrible…since Im local and I drive there often…I was giving you some idea about normal time driving times…I do not like to joke around…one think is to drive one time and another drive that road for the last 50 something years…now days the teffice between Cartago and San Jose can be BAD…and is a reality not a JOKE.

roadadvisor

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Cartago
Cartago
Province of Cartago, Costa Rica
San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Canada
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6. Re: Driving to San Jose Airport - mountains or coast?

Answer #1 by xelas is still the best answer. Yes San Jose traffic can be horrible but on weekends it is infinitely better. 3.5 to 4 hours is very reasonable. I have also done both routes many times and prefer the mountain route.

Edited: 08 December 2017, 01:49
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San Jose
San Jose
San Jose Metro, Costa Rica
Atlanta, Georgia
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7. Re: Driving to San Jose Airport - mountains or coast?

Based on what I've read above, can I assume the following to be true: If I have a flight out of SJO on a Wednesday at 1:00 pm, and need to get there from Dominical, would leaving at 6 am be safe (via coastal road)? That would allow for 4 hours driving, and we'd still get to the airport 2 hours before our flight. We would also need to return rental car. Does this seem reasonable? Would we need to arrive more than 2 hours before our flight? I hate feeling rushed and panicky. Thanks!!

Edit: Okay maybe we should leave at 5 am and allow THREE hours before our flight? (per another post in the forum). Egads.

Edited: 27 March 2018, 07:21
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Dominical
Dominical
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Brooklyn, New York
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8. Re: Driving to San Jose Airport - mountains or coast?

I'd leave at the latest 5:00 am in that scenario. Then again, I'd probably spend the last night somewhere closer--somewhere between Tarcoles and Jaco.

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Jaco
Jaco
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9. Re: Driving to San Jose Airport - mountains or coast?

Yep at least by 5am and even that leaves no allowance for a breakfast stop or a flat tire. The rental car returns are offsite and can take 30-45 minutes including shuttle. The airport itself recommends you arrive 3 hours before departure.

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10. Re: Driving to San Jose Airport - mountains or coast?

Hm thanks. Maybe it does make sense to head back toward Jaco for our last night even through we will have been in that area for the first part of our trip. If our arrival flight was getting in earlier, I’d just do Dominical on the front end then end with Jaco, but with a flight arriving at 1, by the time we got through customs and got our car, it’d be dark halfway to Dominical.

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Jaco
Jaco
Jaco District, Costa Rica
Dominical
Dominical
Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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