If your destination is Puntarenas, you’ll likely be arriving first in San Jose. Although you no longer have to take a donkey to get to Puntarenas, the obvious choice isn’t the best either.

Many people think they’ll just rent a car in San Jose and enjoy the beautiful countryside as they drive through the mountains to Puntarenas. You certainly can do this. There is a wide variety of car rental companies from which to rent in San Jose, and you can drive yourself into Puntarenas.

If do you do choose to drive, be careful of several things. First, there are potholes galore in the roads here. It’s estimated that only 25% of the roads in Costa Rica are paved, so you’ll likely be driving on an unpaved, gravelly road with many potholes to deal with. Although San Jose is only about 2 hours from Puntarenas, your travels in a rental car can take much longer.

Therefore, most visitors familiar with the landscape suggest not renting a car, unless nothing else will do for you. You can take a train from San Jose to Puntarenas, enjoy the beautiful view that way, have a snack, and even save a few dollars (the fare is only about $25US). There are buses that travel from San Jose to Puntarenas and that can take you anywhere from 2 hours to 4 hours depending on what route you choose.