Here are some little bits you might need to know before arrival….
House phone number: (country code 011) + 506-2446-4516 – country code and area code are not necessary when calling locally, just the remaining 8 digits. Please only use this number to give to people who may want to reach you while your party stays at the house. It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway : Do not call the house if you are not staying there as you might disturb other guests who are relaxing!!
Getting to Atenas is Easy…
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 4 lanes to 2 several times with little warning. 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.
Have a great trip and we’ll see you in Atenas!
We are often asked by guests whether it is necessary to rent a car during their stay or is it possible to use taxis, hire a car or simply use the buses. Everything is possible, it really just depends on how you like to spend your vacation. Are you coming down to decompress, read a few books in a beautiful place, check out the wildlife and enjoy the sights and smells of a Central American country and maybe take in a sight here or there? Or is an action packed, adrenaline pumping vacation your idea of a great time? Or are you somewhere in the middle trying to manage to experience much of what you’ve read or heard about Costa Rica during your limited time here, but still managing to relax ? Renting a car or SUV would give you the most flexibility to customize your schedule (should you choose to be one). Save yourself a lot of headache and rent a GPS from the rental company as the road signage is still pretty lax in CR and getting lost is very easy. Renting a car vs an SUV is probably fine for most guests, particularly during the driest months (Jan-March) however, it really depends on how much you like to explore and if you plan to drive to another destination in CR before or after Atenas. If you want to take a trip through the cloud forests even during the dry season, it could have a completely different weather pattern than Atenas, and the roads could be a lot less traveled and therefore less maintained. That said, most taxi drivers do not have SUV’s and they manage just fine. We have had guests hire taxis for the day (and often use the same driver throughout the trip) to take them on all sorts of excursions. They have loved it because they often get to know and like their driver as most Tico’s are very gracious , and they get the added benefit of a Costa Rican’s view of their own country. Also, bear in mind that many tourists drive in Costa Rica and get by just fine, but some find the roads and local drivers a bit to much for them to drive. We had one guest who rented a car for the week and she ended up leaving the car in the driveway the entire week and just hiring a driver to take her and her daughter around. Finally the most frugal option, the bus, is also available and convenient especially since we are located about 1km from town. Atenas has a major bus station and you may take buses to quite a few places, but it will usually take longer to get places since the bus will often make many stops, may or may not have air conditioning, and will not drop you off at your front door. Again,we did have a guest choose this route and he was perfectly happy. The following year he came back and I believe he rented a car for that trip.
Car Rental Companies : The major rental companies are represented here including, but not limited to: Hertz, Avis, Budget, and Thrifty, just outside the modern, international airport (SJO). They all seem to have similar pricing, and you can rent a cell phone and GPS (about $8 per day) when you get your car.
Toyota rent a car www.toyotarent.com
Budget Car Rental www.budget.com
National car rental www.natcar.com
Dollar Rent a Car www.dollarcostarica.com
This should help you get started. You can usually get the best price if you call directly.
Taxis are available as you exit the baggage area of the airport.
Late Night Arrivals
Since we are not a hotel with staff on call all night do have a cut off check-in time of 9pm. If the flights available from your point of departure bring you in late at night, consider coming in a day early and staying overnight at a wonderful B&B called Pura Vida Hotel www.puravidahotel.com. It is located just 7 minutes from the airport, houses fabulous gardens and wonderful casitas and your hosts Berni and Nhi might make a wonderful dinner for you if you make reservations! Check out their very funny blog about travelling around Costa Rica: puravidahotel.blogspot.com
Hiking/walking shoes with socks, flips flops, shorts, long pans – especially the ones with zip off legs, swim suits, hat with a brim, SUNSCREEN, binoculars, bug spray (I don’t often need it at the house – but it always safe to have- you may need it by the beach.) a light wind jacket that is waterproof (or fleece). Costa Rica is near the equator, but it still gets chilly at higher elevations (Poas crater for instance) or out on a boat. It can also get chilly at night especially during the green season after the rains cool things off a bit. It’s lovely! We just want you to be prepared.