Traveling between destinations in Costa Rica will usually take longer than you would think due to poor road conditions and the mountainous windy terrain. The majority of roads are only two lanes and few have shoulders. It is common to get stuck behind large, slow moving trucks for extended periods of time. These trucks can be difficult to pass due to the aforementioned road conditions. Therefore, definitively saying that it will take “X” amount of time to drive from one destination to another is rarely accurate or practical.
There are also destinations that are not fully accessible by road. Destinations such as Drake Bay and Tortuguero can only be accessed by a combination of driving and a boat or a domestic flight. The most common way to transfer between Arenal Volcano and Monteverde is a combination of driving and boat. In addition, the easiest way to access the southern Nicoya Peninsula from anywhere other than Guanacaste destinations is by taking the ferry from Puntarenas to Paquera.
Aside from the routes that require a boat or ferry, a good rule of thumb is to count on an average speed of 50 kilometers per hour. You can follow this link to our Costa Rica country map page which lists the distance between the most popular destinations.
This page lists the average drive times for some of the more common routes.
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