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February 17, 2022

Driving from San Jose Airport to Dominical

There are several ways to get to your Costa Rican vacation villa in the Southern Pacific Zone. Our guests have the options to rent a 4×4, arrive in a helicopter, reserve a charter flight, book a private shuttle or brave a public bus. You could maybe even find a boat to bring you down the coast. That being said, the most popular route to get from the San Jose Airport to Dominical, Uvita, and the Osa is renting a 4×4 vehicle and driving down the scenic coast with your crew.

While the Costanera is paved and does not require a 4×4, we suggest renting a 4×4 as the majority of our rental villas do require 4×4 to access. A large number of sight-seeing locations, restaurants, viewpoints, tour takeoff points, and various natural wonders, sanctuaries, and parks will also require 4×4 to explore on your trip. Unless your vacation will be restricted to our beachfront villas and the beach towns, you will not be able to explore the area without a 4×4 vehicle.

After picking up your rental and heading away from the San Jose Airport, you’ll likely want to stop at least once during your three-to-four-hour drive. Here are the top stops on your way down the Coast from SJO Airport to your YouGetHere Vacation Villa.

“The Crocodile Bridge”

Crocodile Bridge at Tarcoles River

This is considered the best spot in Costa Rica for crocodile viewing. The river is literally overflowing with the massive reptiles. It’s also very easy to find and is directly en route, located on Highway 34. The Tarcoles River Bridge recently underwent a safety makeover, and now features railings and additional cement dividers that separate the pedestrian viewing walk-way from the Costanera traffic.

This bridge has long been a popular spot to stop for tourists, so you’ll find several souvenir shops, local fruit stands, quick food prep and coffee. We shouldn’t have to mention it, but this river is not safe for swimming in due to the massive number of hungry crocs waiting in it!

The Black Sands Beach

Playa Hermosa Hermosa Beach

Playa Hermosa Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, there is no shortage of epic beaches to explore. In fact, the sand comes in an array of colors. Playa Hermosa, just 5-10 minutes south of Jaco, features a beautiful and spacious black sand beach, just a minute’s drive off the Costanera. The stop is an easy one as well, and there are several beachfront restaurants if you plan to enjoy a meal on your drive down to the villa. The outdoor airy beach restaurants are the perfect way to break up a car ride. This beach is a favorite among surfers, and also considered one of the cleanest beaches in the country.

Wildlife of Manuel Antonio

 Manuel Antonio Beach

This beach town is one of the most popular destinations on the coast of Costa Rica. But… for that reason, the beach and town are much more crowded than what you’ll find further south in the Osa. The weekends at Manuel Antonio are particularly busy with water sports, surfing, sunbathers, plus monkeys putting on a show in the canopies overhead, and plenty of beautiful birds flying about. The beach is located right at the entrance to the National Park which is home to an array of wildlife.

Our guests often tell us that they see more wildlife at their vacation Villa in the Southern Pacific than they do in Manuel Antonio. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful beach to stretch your legs at and you’ll find plenty of dining options in town. This stop is the farthest from the Highway and will add about 20 minutes of drive time total. (10 minutes drive from the highway to the beach)

Did you discover the perfect spot to break up the scenic drive south? Let us know in the comments your favorite was to get from the San Jose Airport to Dominical. Which viewpoints, restaurants and activities did you check out on the drive from SJO to the Southern Pacific?

Drive safe, we’ll see you soon and Pura Vida!


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