Friends visit Costa Rica 2022
Casa Rowe1 of 3
Ticos’ House2 of 3
Casa Diaz3 of 3
Our home is located in Pandora, a neighboring town next to La Guaria. You will never see either name on any public transportation. Instead, you’ll look for Valle La Estrella, a name everyone recognizes. This panorama shows three structures from left to right. We will occupy Casa Diaz and Casa Rowe as seen in the phto above. The second is occupied by my last remaining uncle, Ticos.
In the area are two cousins that rent cabinas should you want to stay in Cahuita. I believe both can be found on Airbnb, but if not they are Cahuita Lodge, and Jardin Tropicales. The are approximately 20km away from the house but traffic is never an issue. Here’s a google map of what that distance is like. Sometimes I take that drive daily, but I do like my little town as well. It’s tiny, quaint, simple and not touristy. I only bike ride in my area towards the banana plantations and Indian villages. I do have an SUV, a motorcycle and a bicycle. So if you drive stick shift and want to drive about on a day I might be busy, you can use the auto. I do have two helmets so we can always use the motorcycle and with a car bike rack we can get you a loner and go bike riding in other areas, like Puerto Viejo, whick I’m sure you’ll love. I also have family there as well.
If you decide to wait for my arrival, skip the first column below on how to get to Limon. But if you rather “get on with it” I can get you an uber driver like Kim to get you to the correct bus terminal. That example is for Limon, but I’d get to a different bus terminal if you’re going straigt to Cahuita or Puerto Viejo. Uber is used in San Jose but it’s not officially sanctioned by the government. Nonetheless, your Uber app will work if you choose to use it.
I would exchange some money at the airport or use an ATM machine there. Everyone will accept local currency but your credit cards/ATM cards are also valid most everywhere, even really small mom and pop stores. The exchange rate at the airport is not great. I rarely exchange at the airport but it is convenient, and you will need some cash (say $40-$50) until we can get you to a proper bank. I normally withdraw in local currency at ATMs around the country, just not at the airport. If you’re a cash person, no worries, we can exchange at banks almost everywhere. Just expect the typical Latin American bank experience (think slow or 30 years ago). Check your bank services before you arrive as some US banks will charge you foreign transaction and/or currency exchange fees for using the ATM on top of an access fee.
Generally – How to get to Cahuita from LAX
Great choice! Cahuita, Costa Rica is a beautiful destination with plenty of things to see and do. Here are some steps to help you plan your trip:
Choose your travel dates: Consider the time of year you want to visit. The dry season in Cahuita is from December to April, while the rainy season is from May to November. Keep in mind that prices for accommodations and flights may vary depending on the season.
Book your flights: Fly into San Jose International Airport (SJO) and then take a connecting flight or a bus to Limon. From there, you can take a taxi or a bus to Cahuita.
Find accommodations: Cahuita offers a range of accommodations from hostels to luxurious hotels. You can use online booking sites such as Booking.com, Expedia or Airbnb to find the perfect place for your stay.
Plan your activities: Cahuita National Park is a must-visit destination in Cahuita. Here you can go hiking, swimming, snorkeling, and even see some wildlife such as monkeys, sloths, and tropical birds. You can also visit the nearby beach towns of Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo, and explore the local culture and cuisine.
Prepare for your trip: Make sure to pack comfortable clothes and shoes for outdoor activities, insect repellent, sunscreen, and other essentials. Consider getting travel insurance, and check if you need any vaccinations or visas before your trip.
Enjoy your trip to Cahuita, Costa Rica!
But how do I get to you in Pandora?
Exchange $40-50 inside the airport. The exchange rate has taken a dip for US dollars and now hovers near 550 colones to the collapsing dollar. But you should have plenty for an Uber, a snack and the bus fare. Exit terminal, pass the touts and go to the only outdoor restaurant called Restaurante Malinche. Wait for your Uber driver
Her name is Kimberly. Mobile: +506 7253 5472 She will be in a gray Toyota Yaris, License plate BNF-670 to take you to the Gran Terminal del Caribe. Please have her call me on my CR mobile 61 85 00 48 if you cannot communicate well with her or she can use My personal Whatsapp to get to me. Private car parking is not allowed in that area so you will have to go in an buy your own ticket.
Here is the written address but everyone knows the location.
800 meters north of Parque Central, Barrio Turnón, San José, Costa Rica. (Calle Central Alfredo Volio, in front of the Children’s Museum, San José) either one should work
The ticket is abut 3260 Colones when I last checked. – less than $7.)
More info on the bus ride can be found here.
Buses leave every hour as seen above. Looks like you will need to buy with cash (effectivo) and not via a credit card or ATM. The following services are included at the Gran Terminal del Caribe:
There are sodas (a term for little restaurants) on both floors of the terminal
Bank of Costa Rica ATM
Bathrooms (you will need little coins or about 200 colones)
OK – so you made it to San Jose
These are the options to get from San Jose to Cahuita:
By Car: You can rent a car in San Jose and drive to Cahuita. The journey takes approximately 4-5 hours depending on traffic and road conditions. The main route is through Route 32 and then onto Route 36.
By Bus: There are regular buses that run from San Jose to Cahuita. The journey takes approximately 4-5 hours and the buses depart from the San Carlos bus terminal in San Jose. The bus company that operates this route is called MEPE.
By Shuttle: There are shuttle services available from San Jose to Cahuita. This is a good option if you do not want to drive yourself. The shuttle service takes approximately 4-5 hours and there are various companies that offer this service.
By Private Transfer: You can also arrange for a private transfer from San Jose to Cahuita. This is a good option if you prefer a more comfortable and personalized service. The journey takes approximately 4-5 hours and there are various companies that offer this service.
Bus terminal information for Caribenos and MEPE)
Schedules for Caribeno buses:
Customer service hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. But buses take off from 5am and leave every hour on the hour to Limon so just ask for “Autobuses para LIMON”
Gran Terminal del Caribe Telephone number is 2222 0610
MEPE (the other Bus Line company) has buses straight to the house:
There is a MEPE bus which leaves at 3pm Monday – Friday to the house. Again, ask for Valle le Estrella. You’ll arrive after dark but no stress. And for about $10, it is certainly an option. See below for more information.
Can you fly to the Caribbean region?
Short answer: YES
Right outside the international terminal in San Jose is the domestic terminal with twice daily flights to Limon’s Airport. Sansa Air travel time is about 4o minutes and cost between $90 and $120 per person, one way. Times and reservations can be found here. Please verify luggage restrictions as these as smaller planes.
Current Entry Requirements
Costa Rica will no longer require any Covid 19 entry requirements as of April 1, 2022: No negative test, No QR Code, and No ‘Pase de Salud’.
In other words, tourists, non-resident and resident travelers will not need to fill out the health pass and will not need to be vaccinated to get into the country.
The Costa Rican government has also eliminated the requirement for non-vaccinated guests to purchase travel insurance. (Although this is still recommended for all guests visiting Costa Rica).
Tourists must also have a valid passport and proof of intent to exit Costa Rica within 90 days. (To prove intent to exit, U.S. citizens must possess a return ticket or a ticket as proof of when they intend to exit the country, commonly referred to as an outbound exit or onward ticket).
Typical Driving Hours
1 hour Liberia to Tamarindo
3 hours Alajuela-SJO to Manuel Antonio
3 hours Liberia to Arenal
3.5 hours Monteverde to Samara
4 hours Arenal to Tamarindo
4.5 hours Alajuela-SJO to Monteverde
5 hours Alajuela-SJO to Puerto Viejo, Limón
5-6 hours Alajuela-SJO to Mal País
MEPE bus schedules and fares (from Pandora)
Terminal Atlántico Norte, Contiguo A Plazoleta México • Valle La Estella (Limón)
SAN JOSÉ A VALLE LA ESTRELLA bus Schedule
SAN JOSÉ A VALLE LA ESTRELLA bus route operates on weekdays. Regular schedule hours: 3:00 PM
MEPE bus schedules and fares (from Puerto Viejo)
Puerto Viejo – San José
* 04:50 a.m.
* 07:30 a.m.
* 09:00 a.m.
* 11:00 a.m.
* 01:00 p.m.
* 04:00 p.m.
Click here for Official website
Valle la Estrella
Valle la Estrella