If people are interested in renting cars, there is only one car rental place in Puerto Viejo and we do not recomend them. Our customers have better experience with Adobe in Limon. They have no problem dropping off and picking up car at Banana Azul. Car rentals with Adobe can be arranged here. So, if there is a problem with the car, it is easy to change. You can also pick up or drop off a car at the airport or other locations. A car can even be waiting for you when you arrive at Banana Azul.
Your car rental company will give you a map and there are signs on how to get to downtown San Jose. Driving to Puerto Viejo is really easy. You will have to find the highway to Limon. It has easy access from downtown and once you are on that highway, it is almost impossible to get lost.
It is important that you know that you will encounter multiple radar speed traps. If you do not want to be pulled over, you need to watch all the speed limit signs. If you get pulled over, just agree to pay the fine. The rental car company will add it to your bill. It is common for police to try and scare you into telling you they will take the vehicle or plates. This is just to scare you into paying them money. Just stick to your guns and tell them to write you the ticket. If you are really good at it, you can many times talk your way out of it.
Please note: If you have not left San Jose by 2:00pm in afternoon, you will be driving part of the way at night. We do not recommend this for first time travelers in driving in Costa Rica. Some roads do not have lines. Rain can be bad and there are potholes and people walking/cycling that you can not see very well.
You will first go through the mountains and will be very high up. It is likely that you will encounter fog (clouds) and rain. Please drive with your lights on. Most of the local drivers do not.
The drive through the mountains is beautiful. You will see many vistas and real rain forest jungle. As you are about to exit mountains into flat land (just after a bunch of ugly billboards) there is a restaurant on your right (usually with many trucks out front). It is called El Yugo. It is okay for a roadside stop, but my absolute favorite is Roberto’s Rancho just a little further down on the left at the corner of Route 32 & #4. Sit down service, great Costa Rican Food & Very secure parking.It is also a good break after about 1.5 hours into the trip.
The road from there to Limon (approx 2 hrs) is practically straight with no hills. It is small towns and banana plantations. Please note there are many trucks as Limon is a port city and this is the truck route. Also note, you will see a sign or two for Puerto Viejo on the way to Limon. This is not the correct Puerto Viejo. You have to reach Limon and drive down coast. (also note on this stretch, there are many speed traps and local cops love foreigners as it can mean a free lunch at a better restaurant)
When you hit Limon, just before you enter city centre you will see a sign (at the Colono gas Station) where you turn right to go to Puerto Viejo. From that sign you just follow the coast all the way down (approx 1 hour). The drive is beautiful (but mind the pot holes).
After about 1 hour of driving, you will come to the little town of Hone Creek. At that point your about 5 kilometers from the turn off to Banana Azul .You will drive past a hardware store called San Francisco. A few hundred meters past the hardware store is a bus stop with a roof on it, (right across the street from corner store Pulperia Violetta). At the bus stop take a left and follow along beach. If you passed the Point Bar & Grill, you just missed the turn off.
And to get to Banana Azul you just proceed along beach until you come to La Perla Negra Hotel. Banana Azul is 200 meters past Perla Negra Hotel and has a wood gate with a sign.