From the Airport: Exit the airport. Once you leave the airport road, you will want to be going in the opposite direction that you just traveled. In order to go in the direction of San Ramon, Jaco, Quepos, etc. go to the first rotunda and go all the way around so that you make a giant U-turn and begin following the signs to San Ramon. Traffic merges from all sides, so be very careful here.
Once on Route 1 - follow signs to San Ramon, and continue straight ahead for ten to fifteen minutes. After the second time the two lanes of traffic merges into one lane (at each of the bridge crossings), get in the right lane and take the very next exit for Jaco and Quepos / Manuel Antonio. There is also a sign here for Punta Leona and for Atenas (14km). Turn left at the stop sign (there is a brown park sign here for Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio), crossing back over Route 1. Reset your trip odometer here to follow our detailed directions.
The road from here on out is relatively good, but very curvy and steep in some of the mountain passes. Passing should be done with extreme caution, though there are several long straight sections. If there are no lines on the road, assume it is two ways all the time. About 2km or 10 min from where you exited the autopista is the Fiesta del Maiz restaurant serving good Costa Rican style food using corn and corn flours. They have a tall sign, with a triangular tip that rotates around when they are open. There is often a traffic jam here as Sundays are very popular at the Fiesta del Maiz.
The road gets curvy shortly after this and as you descend, the 1st bridge goes over Rio Grande. (It is one of the first and oldest bridges in Costa Rica.) Next up is Atenas — a small town with a gas station and other amenities.
In San Mateo, there is a well-marked left turn as you go around the central park, follow signs for Punta Leona.
Go straight through next town of Orotina. This is a good place to stop for fruits and snacks. There are several markets on the left near the railroad tracks and a gas station with clean restrooms.
After crossing the railroad tracks, take the next exit to the right to Route 27, the sign says Jaco, Quepos, Caldera
Then, take the next right exit to Route 34, follow signs for Jaco / Quepos. This exit has a rotunda and at the base, continue to bear right, following signs for rain forest aerial tram. There is a sign a little ways up for Jaco so you know you are going the correct way.
Next, you will cross over the Tarcoles River Bridge at km #54—Crocodiles! Park either before or after bridge along the road and get out and walk over the bridge to get a great view of many enormous crocodiles. (We are talking 18' long crocs here!) Carara National Park is 10 more minutes up the road on the left.
The first view of the ocean is at km #60 after exiting from Hwy 1. There is a gas station here, too. Pass Punta Leona. Jaco is only 10 more minutes away.
The first turn off for Jaco is well marked by the Maxi Bodega on the corner. Turn right. Take this straight until it hits Avenue Pastor Diaz, the main road of Jaco. Turn left. Your first right is Calle Anita. Turn right. Take your first left on Cabinas Rutan Road. You are here!
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