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Quepos Accommodations

Driving to Quepos

Driving has become easier over the past few years, as the road between Jacó (pronounced "hah-CO") and Quepos (pronounced "KAY-pos") has been paved. But the road is still subject to some potholes, animals, pedestrians, horses and bicycles, and has no line markings, no safety signs, and several bridges. We don't recommend driving at night. (The same applies anywhere in Costa Rica.) Fuel is available just past Jacó, and just before entering Quepos. Visa and Mastercard credit cards are accepted for gas purchases at most fuel stations. Fuel is more expensive than in the U.S. at about $2/gallon (though it's sold in Liters). Gas station attendants will pump the gas for you, and often wash the windows and check the oil (and they appreciate a tip for doing so).

"Traficos" or traffic police, use radar to enforce speed limits along many stretches of Costa Rican roads. Please obey posted speed limits. On straight, open sections of road where there are no posted speed limits, generally 80Km/H or 50 MPH applies. 60 Km/H or 35 MPH applies in urban and city areas, and even 40 Km/H or 25 MPH in downtown areas of Quepos, Parrita, and Jaco, and other cities. Traficos sometimes target rental cars knowing that tourists have money.

Always carry your home country driver's licence and either your passport, or a photocopy of the photo page from your passport, and a photocopy of the entry stamp from your passport, showing when you entered Costa Rica. These are routinely asked for by Traficos.

A good map is essential. We recommend the Costa Rica Travel Reference Map). But more importantly, don't be afraid to ask the locals, even if your Spanish is not very good. They are generally very friendly and usually eager to help.

Driving Directions from San Jose to Quepos

Quepos is less than 160 Kilometers (100 miles) from San José, on the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It's a beautiful drive that takes you through Atenas, Orotina, Tárcoles, Jacó, Parrita. Even though it is less than 100 miles on paved roads, it is best to plan about 3 to 4 hours (depending on weather and traffic) to drive it by car.

Head out of San José towards Juan Santamaría International Airport. At the airport follow the sign to San Ramon. About 10 Kilometers (6 miles) past the airport take the Atenas exit. At the stop sign turn left.

The road slowly winds its way through the mountains. Follow the main street through Atenas to San Mateo.

At San Mateo the road jogs right one block due to one-way traffic. After making the jog, the road takes you back onto the main drag.

As you approach Orotina a sign directs you right. That goes into the business district. Instead, continue straight ahead and soon there will be a sign pointing right, to Jacó. This is the road you want.

The highway is in good condition here. There are a couple of times you need to negotiate interchanges. They are marked well, directing you to Jacó or Quepos, but without much advance warning.

A long bridge crosses the Tárcoles River. Often crocodiles can be seen below the bridge, and many tourists stop to look for them. About two miles past the bridge on the left is the administration building for Carara Biological Reserve. This is a nice stop-off, with trails along the river. Wildlife and waterfowl are abundant; scarlet macaws are frequently seen.

Now the road parallels the coast. Watch for potholes and a few rough, torn-up areas.

Shortly the road climbs and veers toward the shore. Watch for a pull-off on the right with a small shelter, and a great view of Jacó Beach. About 2 Km (1.5 miles) further, on a ridge, is an area where you can look down on Playa Hermosa, a popular surfing destination, with powerful beach-break waves and dark sand.

The road travels through Rice fields and African Palm groves as it approaches Parrita.

The stretch from Parrita to Quepos is now also paved. However, please don't be lulled into going too fast. Although the way is wide and fairly smooth, there are no lines marked, and several bridges. The single lane bridges are marked by yellow 55-gallon drums and lines painted on the highway.

The road forks on the approach to Quepos. The right is paved and takes you into Quepos. The left is gravel and bypasses Quepos, connecting to the "Costanera Sur" towards Dominical (50 Km of dirt road!). There is some bridge construction work happening along this road (as at January 2004).

In About 2 Km (1.5 miles), you'll cross a small one-lane bridge, and enter Quepos. Veer to the left after the bridge, and turn left on the main street, by the Hotel Best Western Kamuk. You've arrived... Bienvenidos!

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