Driving Directions from Juan Santamaria Airport (SJO) via the traditional route (highway 3):
From the direction of San Jose and the airport take Highway 1 (the PanAmericana) – going north, in the direction of San Ramon and Puntarenas (follow signs for San Ramon right in front of the airport). Be careful on the Panamericana, as it suddenly switches from 2 lanes to 1 several times with little warning. Buses also stop on the highway and people walk along it at times, so just be alert. Take the exit off the Panamericana to the right marked Jaco, LaGarita, and Atenas (approximately 5 miles from the airport). You will see large white tanks on the left side of the highway and a “Vivero”,or garden center, on the right just before the exit. At the top of the exit ramp, turn left toward Jaco. This 2-lane road goes through the town of La Garita, winds around and crosses the Rio Grande (the bridge like most in Costa Rica is 1-lane and one direction yields to the other) and then climbs back up the mountain to Atenas. If you ask the car rental agent to direct you to the Panamericana in the direction of Atenas you should have no problem whatsoever. As you approach Atenas, you will see a gas station on the right. Just next to the gas station is a grocery store (which has closed now, but there is parking lot where you you can meet Leticia. It would be a good idea to call her cell phone once you leave the car rental place (if you don’t have a phone, they will likely allow you to use the phone at the car rental. That will make it easier for Leticia to estimate your arrival time accurately.