Playa Hermosa - Puntarenas - Costa Rica
Driving DirectionsThe drive to Playa Hermosa from the San Jose International airport takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes and the road is fully paved except for the last 800 mts. Exchange some currency into Colones for the toll highway (about CRC 2500 - $5.00). Ask the rental car agent to send you off in the right direction, which should be west on Route 1 (The Pan American Hwy), past the airport. Drive defensively and be aware when two lanes become one, "CEDA EL PASO" means "GIVE WAY". Note: The first 8 Miles (13km) of our route use the "old" mountain route to Playa Hermosa. Some GPS devices might not be updated to include the new toll road, Route 27 and will likely still have the "old" route, so do not rely entirely on them to follow our complete, recommended route.
Once on Route 1 follow the signs to San Ramon, and continue straight ahead for about 6 miles (10 km). After the second bridge crossing, you will see some large white storage tanks on the left, get in the right lane and take the next exit ramp to Route 3 for Jaco / Quepos / Manuel Antonio. There is also a sign here for Punta Leona and Atenas. Turn left at the stop sign, crossing the bridge over Route 1 towards the village of La Garita.
Follow Route 3 for about 2 miles (3 km). Look for a large Christian church on the left and Supermarket La Garita on the right, then a soccer field on the left and make a left on the road immediately after it. You are now on the road to Turrucares. There are no signs and it's a secondary road, so don't think you've made a mistake. It's currently the best connection to the toll highway from the airport.
Drive for another 2 miles (3 km) along this somewhat winding road. Once you arrive at the Route 27 intersection, turn left BEFORE you go under the highway bridge. Again, there are no signs here yet. Be careful, as it's a narrow two-way gravel access road. After a ¼ mile (300 meters) you will arrive at a traffic circle. Make a sharp right following the highway signs to Orotina / Atenas up the ramp onto Route 27 the Autopista del Sol.
Drive on the 27 through two toll booths. Then, take the next right exit to Route 34; follow the signs for Jaco / Quepos. This exit forms a loop and then you under the hwy and round a traffic circle and continue straight to Jaco another 22 miles (36 km).
Follow Route 34 for a while and you will cross over the Tarcoles River Bridge – there are usually vendors here and a few cars parked before and after the bridge since it is a popular viewing point for the large Crocodiles lurking in and around the river. Shortly after this you will see the Pacific Ocean on your right hand side and reach Punta Leona, continue on and as you pass Herradura – you will see the AM Auto Mercado supermarket on the right hand side of the road.
Continue through Herradura to Jaco (10 Min) stay on the main highway (also called La Costanera) that runs at the back of Jaco, heading towards Playa Hermosa (5 Min), follow the signs for Pochotal.
Sign by the Backyard Bar
Bus stop at the turning for Calle Hermosa
When you arrive in Playa Hermosa (Pochotal) you will see several small hotels and restaurants on the right hand side of the road, and a soccer field. At the end of Playa Hermosa you will see the Back Yard Bar. There is also a sign here that indicates that you turn right for Playa Hermosa, this sign is to the beach. Ignore the sign and keep heading south on the Costanera, after passing the Back Yard bar continue another ¼ mile (300 meters) until you see a road to the left, turn left down this graded road. There is a bus stop on the corner, marked "Escuela Playa Hermosa" and "Opera Salvaje", there two big blue trash cans just by it, which you can use as a landmark. This road is Calle Hermosa. Go ½ mile (800 meters) down the road until you see the sign for Las Brisas Resort on your left, turn left and enter the parking area.
PURA VIDA! Your vacation begins...